A Swedish visitor

Yesterday we finally met with Camilla, a Facebook friend who I know via another Facebook friend. (This is how life works today and I love it!)
Camilla (sounds like comilla) means ant in Nepalese, so of course she got a new nickname after meeting us, Myran, ant in Swedish.
So exciting to hear about her travelling in India, Bali, Thailand and Japan.
When she goes home in December-January she has been out in the big, big world for almost one year. Amazing!
Tonight we had a real Italian pizza. Of course we took her to the best pizza place in town, Fire and Ice, and she was in heaven with the rest of us.


A life story

I'd like to share a life story with you. One of our dear Nepalese friends is 24 years old and is the oldest son in a Brahmin family.
Brahmins are the highest cast according to Hindu traditions. His family lives in a village a few hours from Kathmandu and they are very conservative.
When he was 16 he moved to Kathmandu all by himself. For many years he'd been suffering from seizures and even though one of his aunts died from having a seizure and drowned in her own backyard, our friend's father refused to seek a doctor for his son. God would cure him.
When he moved to Kathmandu he went to the hospital and after a few years of medication he was fine.
He started at the bottom in a clothes shop and today he manages the shop and runs a successful cargo company. Our friend has always been very driven.
Now his both younger brothers have moved to Kathmandu and he takes care of them financially since his parents don't have that much money. Imagine what a difference from moving to a big city all by yourself when you are just a kid.
It's the current situation that I want to share with you.
Since he is the oldest son, his father has been calling every day telling him that he must get married. And why is it so urgent, you might wonder.
I'll tell you why. His parents are getting older, even though they still have the health, and the oldest son's wife is bound to live with them in the village to take care of them and all the housework.
Our friend is a modern guy. He drinks alcohol, which is a huge No No! when you come from a Brahmin family and he has had several girlfriends.
One of these girlfriends he broke up with the same day last year when we met him for the first time. He is a passionate man who needs love in his life, but the only girl he could consider that would be suitable for his parents was this girlfriend.
For the last six months the father has been calling every morning about the marriage and the same goes for this specific girlfriend, who he broke up with since he didn't love her anymore.
She is 20 years old, living in the next village and she also comes from a Brahmin family. Her parents started pressuring her that she had to get married. Every morning she called our friend, crying her heart out and begged him to marry her. She knew her family would pick a suitable stranger and marry her of in a couple of months unless he came to her rescue.
When they had a relationship no one knew. That's how it works here.
Our friend had this pressure over his shoulder day and night for months. On one hand this girl would be good for his parents on the other hand he didn't lover like he imagined he would love his future bride.
The pressure got even worse a month ago when his parents told him that they were going to the astrologer. They never talk directly about things, but our friend understood that they had found someone for him.
He went to an astrologer her in Kathmandu to check that he and this girl was a match according to the stars, (you can always pay a little extra to make them match), because one thing was for certain. He would never ever marry someone he hadn't chosen for himself.
For weeks he's been tormenting himself. It's been hard to see him suffer. I know he wants to travel and build a house on the land he just bought, but he must get married when next wedding season starts, in mid November.
He finally told his parents that he has chosen this girl and they wasn't too happy about it. Probably they'd already promised another family to take in their daughter, but now everything seems alright.
The girl cried for a whole day when he said he was going to marry her.
Even though he has decided to marry her, he isn't completely convinced that he is doing the righ thing for himself, but at this point he has no choice. He is forced to get married to her (or someone else).
This is the harsh reality in Nepal today.


Niklas International Cargo Ptv Ltd

According to the documents the lawyer drew up the first time we applied for a business visa, we have invested a grotesque sum of money in Nicholas cargo company.
Apparently we didn't invest in a desk. Or an office for that matter.



Great news! The 24 hour teleshop Asianet, that covers Kerala and Pune (population: 35 million people and many elephants), wants to promote (free air time for us) and buy our original Prana nail mat.
This means that we are making a promotion video in the next few weeks and then we hope for the best.
I know the Indians will love the nail mat as much as the Swedish people.
Read more about our Prana nail mat here.
We also sell nail mittens and here is Leya 3,5 years old showing them. Mommie's little cutie pie!


"Nepali speaker"

Today Leya came home from school and told me that the teacher had made a sign that said "Nepali speaker" attached to a necklace.
When a child happened to speak Nepali the kid got this sign around his or her neck.
Already the first day the kids started turning on each other, telling the teacher if someone was speaking Nepali.
The kid that had the sign was also humiliated and laughed at.
I rushed over to the principal and told him my mind. It's scary, but they really don't understand the impact this kind of punishment has on the individual student.
99 % of the parents demand that their kids must speak English at all times. It's the same in all schools here in Nepal.
The parents apperently believes that English is the answer to all problems.
For us this is just too much and we alwyas tell the principal that we think the kids should learn more Nepali, their mother tongue.
We now have a generation gap where the parents don't know English and their kids don't know Nepali.
Sometimes I wish we could homeschool Leya, but we want her to be a part of the society a school is.
The sad part is that her English is horribel, both in speach and writing.
If you don't have qualified teachers you can make as many stupid signs as you like. It woun't help!
At least the principal was clever enough to back off and stop this stupid punishment.

A bird in my skirt

Yesterday a little birdie got stuck in my skirt.
I wonder how long time he had been hanging there before a man said "You have a bird in your skirt!".
Well, when he got loose he needed some rest. As you can see he (or she) has alopecia, just like me.



Today we went shopping for beautiful, soft blankets for our customer Ulsans in Oskarshamn, Sweden.
The old buildnings are so beautiful and the sellers hang their blankets and shawls down the walls.
The Indra Jatra (I'm sure it's called something else after the first day), the thanks for the monsun rain, is ongoing.

The Mauler

This morning I just happened to follow The Mauler's ultimat fighting for the champion belt in Toronto, Canada.
I'm absolutely not for fighting, but we know his mother, who runs a B&B in an old royal mansion in Sweden and use to shop from us.
Find Eleonora's B&B here. It's in Swedish, but click on Kontakt if you want to contact her.
It was so exciting to follow the live report, but he lost on points to the current champion.
Read more about the Mauler here.


Home delivery

Today we bought our first proper dining furniture since we moved to India, 3,5 years ago.
I've been longing for this day. To be able to sit like a typical Swedish family around the kitchen table.
The delivery method here is a little different. In Sweden we take the car to IKEA and buy flat parcels we put together ourselves when we get home.
We planned to transport it on a taxi roof, but we got a manpowered carrier instead.
It was so heavy and he jogged with it on his head for half a mile, almost a km.
Here you can watch his last meters to the house.
Finally the furniture are in place. This is the before-photo. I have plans involving paint. An after-photo can be expected.

Fun Park

Today we took a few family hours at Fun Park.
Leya met Minnie Mouse or Mimmi Pigg as we say In Sweden.
She was so happy riding on one of the horses. It was a long time ago.
She took a ride on the train with her dear mom.
Then she took an aeroplane round trip.
She ended the day at Fun Park with a photo together with a boy who's parents wanted Leya in the picture.



I can honestly say that I'm happy with my life. Every day I thank universe that I'm living my dream life.
We live in a nice flat and our financial situation has finally stabilized.
I can even treat myself with a food massage if I like. (Hilarious misspelling!)
Thank you, Brahma!


Indra Jatra

Yesterday it was the big annual festival Indra Jatra, or more specific Kumari Jatra, at Durbar square.
Ready about the festival here.
It was completely crazy! People and police everywhere.
We even saw them carry the living goddess, Kumari. Poor little girl!
Read more about the Kumari here.
She is right below the arrow.
Leya and I were standing right next to the largest chariot of three, but when they brought a cute lamb to the scene, we left. I knew they were going to kill it and I can't watch killings.
Here is the chariot where I assume Kumari was going to sit.
Many prominent people came, one by one in the flashiest cars ever seen in Nepal.
Here is a high officer and in the background you can see the Mercedes he came with.



This is very strange!
Next to the road, on the way to our house, you can see this sign.
Boliden is a Swedish company. Who put this old sign there? And why?
One of life's unanswered mysteries.



Ran in to this little fish with money in his mouth, sitting on a nicely made throne.
I guess it was something religious. It always is.


Nicholas went to the barber today and when I came 20 minutes later he had a nice 70's moustache.
I laught so I had problems standing up, but both the two barbers, in the little street parlour, had exactly the same design under their noses so I don't think they understood what was so hilarious.


Sai Baba

Yesterday our landlords, their family and friends were singing to Sai Baba's honor.
Watch one song here.


When I die I want to end up close to a free buffet. I love food and desserts made with love are to die for.
Nicholas and Leya are enjoying the food.
I'm also eager to get started.
Is this heaven or what?
Swimming in the hotel pool was included in the buffet.
A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday brunch

Now we are off to have Sunday brunch at nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel.
This is luxury beyond belief, but sometimes you have to treat yourself.


Birthday party ... again

Last week we celebrated our landlord's 50:th birthday, but today is his real birthday according to the lunisolar calendar lived by here in Nepal.
Mixing our calendar with the Nepalese is very difficult for us since it starts in the middle of our months.
You would think this lunar calendar should fade away now in modern times, but oh no. Everyone uses this calendar.
I must admit I've been a little bit lazy and not integrated this calendar in our life.
Read more about it here.
At first I thought they were celebrating the late Sai Baba since the whole house was full of people, singing in front of a big Sai Baba picture.
Leya had a great time playing with her friends.

Tea and incense shop

My little brother, or bhai as we say in Nepali, is opening a tea and incense shop and to give good luck in business we went there and bought a packet of tea bags.


Surprise photo

This surprise photo of me celebrating Teej in a sari that, after a few hours, felt as it was hanging down my knees, appeared on Facebook.
Apparently it was a Facebook friend taking the photo. I had no idea. Normally Nepalese people are OK and not chasing us to take photos, like the Indians, but Teej was an exception.
I always let people take my photo. If it makes them happy, I'm happy.
I remember this photo moment. Eva was talking to her mother on the phone and Leya was angry about all people taking photos..


Yesterday Angel was in a huge fight with the neighbor dog.
He never use to be in the street, but yesterday they met face to face and this fight has been building up for weeks.
It took minutes, that felt like hours, water buckets, a water hose, a cricket bat, a big plank, at least 10 people involved in the action and at least 10 people looking, to separate them. Talk about hate.
Angel was in complete shock after and today her paw is double size after deep cuts.
Nicholas had to carry her out to pee and I have to call the vet for antibiotics.
This is life when you have a fighter in the family.

Business cards

Leya and I are having a great time block printing business cards.
Personal, cheap and fun!



Today we have petrol strike. That means no one is allowed to drive until tonight.
Leya is home from school even though we live so close. The problem is that the teachers come by bus, so they can't get here.
I understand why they strike for the petrol prices. The price is almost the same as in Europe and with this economy it's very expensive, but they will not accomplish anything by striking just for one day.
These strikes are the reason why the kids go to school for 6 days a week. I hope the political situation will get better, but before it gets better it will get worse.
In November it's suppose to be an election, so there will be lots of strikes the coming months.



It's a little bit tricky for Nicholas to buy jeans here. Since he is 192 cm (6,3) and the avarage lenght for men is about 170 cm (5,5).
But the good thing about living in a country like this is that it's easy and cheap to go to a tailor and have a pair, or two, made for you. Unless you are very lazy or forgetful like my dear husband.
Yesterday we just happened to pass a small clothes shop and Nicholas noticed that the jeans on the mannequin looked long enough for him.
He ended up with two pairs and that was about time.



This little cutie was having a snack right outside my "office"/our bedroom window in the neighbor's garden.
Read more about it.
By the way. We may not have a mountain view, but I love to sit at my little desk and work, looking out in to this beautiful garden.


Counter clips

A few weeks ago I got a message from Simon in UK who needed counter clips for their Buddhist retreat in France.
I'm so lucky to live close to Boudhanath where you can find all this things.
Since I've never heard about counter clips before, it was an adventure finding them. But as soon as I found one shop selling them I saw them everywhere. That's how life works, right?
Simon sent a link from the retreat.
Click here to read all about it.
You use the counter clip when you do the praying mantras with your mala, a beaded necklace with 108 beads.
We sell all kinds of malas, if you are interested.
Click here to see our selection.


Teej celebrations

Today was a long day, so I will leave all the photos for another day.
Instead I've recorded three short films, to show our celebrations at Pashupatinath.

Film No. 1:
We walked pass the long, long line of women and paid a visit to the officer in charge with whom I sat down and had a chat about how silly it was that Leya and I weren't allowed inside the temple.
Then we sat outside the temple and watched all the women coming out. We tried to call Eva's mother, but the mobile phone reception came and went from one minute to next.
When we sat there hoping to catch them in the crowd, Eva was so tired I think she was sleeping with open eyes.
See the film here.

Film No. 2:
First we saw two small bull calfs walking across the temple square and then we saw this one laying in the middle of the stream of women.
They touched him to get blessed and gave him snacks that he happily eat. After a few minutes he got fed up and left.
See the film here.

Film No. 3:
When we were going to leave I saw that a lot of people were gathered around something that looked like an old wel.
Curious as I am I just had to look down and there were two disabled guys selling blessings. I must say they were popular.
In the film you can see how they pour milk and water over a phallic symbol. That is a way of giving puja (a religious ritual) to Lord Shiva, who is the real reason why women celebrate this festival. Next to their husbands that is.
See the film here.


Teej festival

Tomorrow it's the women festival Teej. Read more about it here.
You can also read about Leya's and my last year's celebrations here.
Today I started thinking. The women dress up once a year in their wedding sari.
Imagine the variaty of dresses you would see in a Christian country if the women dressed up in their wedding gowns.
My mom, for example, would walk down the street in a light blue, polyester, thigh short dress. When she got married in -73 she was young and a little bit thinner.
My wedding dress wouldn't be that far off in this part of the world. It was a marron, shiny, two part dress, but it wouldn't fit nowadays. A sari is better over years since the size is flexible.
Imagine how many wedding gowns that are just hanging in wardrobs all over the world, longing to come out. Just for one day.
I will take photos and let you know how it was. Of course I will try to get in to the temple at Pashupatinath this year too, but I don't have any illusions that I will succeed.



Yesterday Nicholas gave up and said he would kill someone if he had to go back to the immigration office. He's not the killer type, but we all have a limit, right?
So yesterday I called the first lawyer since I realized a long time ago that he is the only one who could make this visa happen.
He met me today and for 2,5 hours we walked from office to office over three floors, but we got the visa and we could never have done it without him.
I don't know if you have the saying "crawl to the cross" in English, but in Sweden it means that you, for example, call someone who you think was wrong, but you have no other solution. That was what I did yesterday when I called the lawyer.
From the beginning he wanted a lot of money and that made Nicholas furious, so he refused to contact him even though I've tried to convince Nicholas for weeks that he and only he could help us.
He is the chairman of the tourism board, he is tall and always dressed in a suit. He has authority written all over him.
The first office employee said that we needed a label "something" approval, but the lawyer told him loud and clear that there was no such a document. We could never have told him that and never in that tone, then we could kiss our visa good bye forever.
Even the Nepalese have lots of problems with the immigration. Many children are born in other countries like USA and UK. Since it's not possible for a Nepalese to have double citizenship they of course chose to keep the foreign citizenship for their kids.
Just like when you go to the doctor everyone is in the same room listening to everyone else's problems.
At one time an employee and a father, arguing for his daughter's visa, had a loud discussion and soon our lawyer and the rest of the applicants were involved. I sat in a comfy chair so I could witness the madness, understanding about every 10:th word. The body language was crystal clear.
The employee showed with his eyes, head and hands that it was nothing more to discuss, but the father never gave up. For 20 minutes they kept on, but when they finished there were no hard feelings and even the employee smiled.
I could never ever see this scene happen in Sweden. You just don't raise your voice like this if you are working with people.
Now we are giving ourselves one month break before we get started for next visa. Now we know that nothing is easy, even though we should know this simple fact by now.


Deep breaths ...

Two days ago our last visa expired. Living in a country without a constitution, no laws and no rules is very frustrating.
You have to pay bribes to everyone and still there are documents missing. Going here and there, waiting for hours in different places not knowing what you are waiting for.
It's worse for Nicholas since he is the owner of the company. He's the one who has to go to all these different places.
The government workers are so arrogant in this country. They get the job because they know someone and they don't care about us for one second.
Three times we've been to the Nepalese immigration office and instead of looking through all our papers they stop when they see that one document is missing.
When we come back with that document they say something else is missing and so on. Back and forth like it's a full time job applying for a visa.
Well, the documents are registrated at the immigration office so one day we'll have a new visa.


Our moms are coming!

Finally we have booked tickets so our moms can come and visit us here in Nepal for the first time.
So exciting for all of us. Can't wait to show them around and introduce them to all our friends.
Mom and mom-in-law! You are super welcome!


Magic plant

My husband is so sweet. (Ironi)
I started with five plants and now only one is still alive, so according to Nicholas it has to be magic.