Movies, a new pet shop and Nicholas' birthday

Finally they showed family movies at the local cinema, so we saw them both last weekend.
Close to the cinema our landlord's son has opened his own pet shop.
I'm so happy that he is selling my vintage sari dog leash made by Nepalese women.
The next door vet has a nice information sign on his door. (Check the picture in the left corner).
The 13:th of December, also known for the Swedish festival Lucia, is Nicholas' birthday and we celebrated him with a nice dinner.
As you can see in the background they still have a long way to go repairing the stupa after the earthquakes.



Last week I passed through the earthquake camp near our house, on the way to pick up Leya from school.
A young boy, Dhiraj, he turned out to be 12, approached me and insisted that I should meet his mother.
He was really well behaved and spoke good English.
His friends asked for money, but he asked for school supplies and that made a big impression on me, so of course we got him some copies, pencils, pens, erasers, sharpeners and scales.
The only thing he asked for, other than the school supplies, was some food for his mother who has bad health, so we bought a few kilos of suntala, a small orange grown here in Nepal.
My mother is always saying that we have to eat C vitamins, so I hope it helps Dhiraj's mom to gain strength.
Here is the camp. At 6 pm it's pitch black since there is no electricity.
Dhiraj is cuddling with a camp puppy.
Dhiraj's mom is sitting in the middle, a little to the right, in a maroon sweater.
You can see everyone smiling and it's very characteristic for the Nepalse people. They keep on smiling even if their heart is crying.
Leya is buying the school supplies.
When we brought the supplies we were invited in to the family tent.
Apparently they rent a room somewhere, but it's not safe after the earthquakes so they don't stay there. They are also very afraid of new earthquakes.


An amazing story

One of our jewelry suppliers told me an amazing story.
A relative of hers died of a massive heart attach Saturday. He use to be a monk, but left the monastery when he got married and had kids.
They actually managed to put him in a meditation position after his death, see the photo of a monk who is very much alive, and he stayed warm for three days. Just long enough for his daughter to arrive from USA.
You read about these things, but this really happened and it shows that it's a lot more to life and death than we can ever imagine.


Christmas tree

A few days ago, the 1:st of Advent, we decorated our Christmas tree and our little neighbor Sherpa-girl Kuchan joined us.



Finally the world is reacting about India's blockade of the borders.
Washington DC
Two days ago I took a photo of this cooking gas line. It was hundreds of meters long.


Birthday week

The 16:th of November we celebrated Leya's 9:th birthday.
She is growing too fast!
The 16:th our dear friends Kathrine and Manish welcomed their son Aaron to the world.
Of course this is a very special date for us and I can't believe he choose to be born that day of all days.
He is adorable and I can't wait to meet him when the whole family moves to Delhi in March.
The 19:th, charming Kuchan downstairs celebrated her 2:nd birthday.
We are lucky to have this little sweetheart in the house.



Last week we celebrated Tihar, Diwali in India, the second largest holiday in Nepal.
First it was the crows' day, but we didn't see any. I guess they had gone to a party palace.
Then it was the dogs' day and we celebrated our own dogs and the neighborhood dogs, as usual.
Our sweethearts Lizzie and Angel.
Neighborhood dog friends.
The third day it was Laxmi's day. She is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Leya is performing a puja, ceremony.
The fourth day is the cows' day and then we should have searched for a cow to put this thread on the tail, but we totally forgot about it.
This yellow and orange thread we had put on by a Brahmin in a Hindu temple in August and when you put it on a cow's tail you go straight to heaven when you die.
Apparently you have to renew it every year. I guess this action will remove all your sins and it's almost impossible to not catch a sin here and there during a normal way of living.
The last day is the most important day. It's when the sisters celebrate their brothers and we were fortunate to participate in three different ceremonies.
Our friend Prem and his family are Buddhists, but since the kids were small they celebrate this day even though it's a Hindu festival.
I love this about Nepal. Why not enjoy each others festivals?
Here Prem gets his tikka, red color mixed with water and rice, and the 7 colors of the body's chakras, put on his forehead.
Here my mom gets one too.
Prem's mom is so old and sweet. I just want to hug her every time we visit.
Then we went to Mom Sweetie's house. She is in New York, but the traditions are still performed by the puja master, Munju, Mom Sweetie's oldest daughter and Eva's mom.
This family is Newari, a large folk group here in Nepal.
Nicholas is greeted as a brother and Leya celebrates Eva's brother Evans as her brother.
Last we went to my Nepalese little brother Suresh home where I was a part of the puja as a sister.
Suresh and his two brothers have four sisters and here is the oldest sister also in charge of the rituals.
This family is Brahmin, the highest caste.
Suresh, in the white t-shirt, is a happy fellow. Next to him is a customer from Greece, who experienced a dhai, brother, puja for the first time.
I think it was rather overwhelming for him with all the different steps in the ritual, but he is a cool guy.
Here Mahesh, the middle brother, gets his chakra tikka.
As every year Tihar is the most busy, fun and light festival of the year and this year it was exciting to see three different dhai pujas, but it's the same as we celebrate Christmas. Every household has it's own traditions, but there are some common elements.


A long update

Sorry for being absent for such a long time, but I've been in bed with a terrible flu and my computer crashed for the fourth time in less than a year, so I finally got a new one.
So what has happened during the last couple of weeks?
Our friends Christer and Karina came and stayed with us for a few days before they went trekking around Pokhara and had a pleasant visit at the national park in Chitwan riding an elephant, watching rhinos and got chased by mosquitoes.
Here they are planning the trek with our friend and trekking guide Prem.
Before they went back to Sweden Karina ordered a pair of handmade boots.
See the cool fabrics she has chosen for the boots at the front to the right in the picture.
We got donations from friends in Sweden and The Netherlands so we could help Prem and buy a computer for his lovely daughter Muna who is studying computer science in collage.
I'm so grateful to have friends all over the world who have the heart and resources to help us help friends here in
A week ago my mom came to visit us for a month.
It was so great so see her again!
On Tuesday mom will go to Chitwan for the whole safari adventure. She got inspired by Christer and Karina!

The Indians are still blocking the borders so petrol, cooking gas, medicines and other products can't come to Nepal.
It's an horrible situation for many people. For example has Maya been forced to walk the streets again selling pouches to tourists even though she has her own shop. There are simply no products she can purchase and sell.
The blockade isn't sanctioned, but no one seem to care.
This situation is just horrible and a big set back for Nepal after the earthquakes.
Where is UN when you need them?


Petrol crisis update

The petrol crisis is taking a huge toll on Nepal right now.
Our neighbor, the taxi driver Rajesh, drove us to Thamel two days ago and he had bought 4 liters on the black market for five times more than the usual price.
When we went home we had to pay three times more than usual and the driver told us that he and his brother had been standing in line for petrol for two days and two nights.
He drove like a car thief since he wanted to get as far as possible on the fumes he had left. We arrived home safely and I hope he did too.
Now the government has told Nepal Oil to bring petrol and karosene to Nepal at any means and rumor says they will fly it in from Bangladesh.
The Nepalese people are growing a hatred against India that has put us in this situation just because Nepal decided to write the constitution without asking big brother India for advice.
China is taking there chance to get more influence over Nepal and the 15:th of October they will reopen the road that was heavily damaged by a landslide in August last year.
This is all about power and money and, as always, it's the poor people who are suffering the most.
Queues to a petrol station here in Kathmandu.
If they don't solve this situation til next week when the festival Dashain starts and everyone in Kathmandu is supposed to travel back to their home villages, I don't know what will happen.
The buses are already overcrowded with people on the roof and hanging on to anything sticking out.


An auspicious Buddhist puja in our house

Yesterday we had a new loud experience in our house.
We have new neighbors downstairs and they are a Buddhist Sherpa family who we have met before, when they had a local restaurant.
We thought the puja was for them moving in, but apparently it was their annual auspicious puja.
We were kind of relived to hear that it was just for one day.
We were fortunate to arrive when the action started.
I have no clue what everything is for, but I use my imagination.
Watch a clip from the puja here.
When we had picked up Leya from school, still no petrol for the school van because of the blockage at the border, we had a cup of Nepali tea and got quite a show from their adorable little girl Kanchan.
Watch it here.
Everyone in this country stands in a cool pose when you take a photo of them, even a 2 year old girl. Haha!


Indo-Nepal border blockage

The demonstrations in the south part of Nepal have now increased to block the borders to India and it's a disaster for the whole country.
It's petrol shortage so vehicles are only allowed to drive every other day depending on the number on the license plate. If you have an even number you are only allowed to drive on even dates.
The cooking gas is also finished in Kathmandu. Maya came to our house today and she was desperate since she can't cook food for her family.
Of course we gave her money so she could buy an electric cooking plate, but there are power cuts several hours a day, so it's not the best solution even though it's the only solution at this time.
About 5000 vehicles were stopped at the customs yesterday and the queue was 30 km long. You can read more about it here.
A committee has been put together and people are waiting for the Indian prime minister Modi to come back from his visit in USA to solve the situation.



Congrats Nepal for finally getting the constitution everyone has been waiting for so long!
The constitution was presented the 20:th of September by president Ram Baran Yadav and we had two public holidays to celebrate. (Like there is not enough holidays this time of the year when we have a lot to do before Christmas).
And there was a big firework to give this happy event a little extra attention, even though fireworks are illegal here in Nepal.
Read more about the constitution here.
But there is still problems in the district Terai and the people of Madhesh. It's difficult for us to fully understand the problems, but about 40 people have been killed already and that is just horrible.
Since Terai is the most productive area in Nepal the prices of vegetables and other domestic products have increased a lot.
Yesterday there was a rumor that India was going to block the border so people went to the petrol stations in panic.
We are depended on so many things that are imported from India, so I really hope they will solve the situation fast, in a peaceful way.
Read more about it here and here.