Saturday, August 24, 2013

the colours of pullahari

We decided to take a left instead of our usual right while birdwatching around Kapan one day, and came upon the beautiful golden gate of the Pullahari Gompa complex. Trees shaded the short winding road (I was so grateful for this little bit of darkness, as the sun felt like it was slapping my skin through my umbrella) which lead to another ornate gate, this one decorated in fading painted relief. Little monks played in pockets of shadow, while an old hippie from the West wafted around in white muslin, fingering some prayer beads.

After stopping at the monastery canteen for cold soda and a rest for our complaining feet, we wandered through the complex, where I was struck by wildly-coloured and complex murals of the shrine hall exterior.

Monday, August 19, 2013

sometimes the road becomes a dirt path

art class

If you've been following my blog for the past four years, then you are probably aware of the reason why I spend summer after summer in Nepal:

On the balcony of Shree Mangal Dvip School's lunchroom, under violet-grey and charcoal monsoon skies, I teach art to some extraordinary kids.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

for the eyes and nose

on the bus

I will admit that hopping on a local Nepali bus is a bit intimidating— you have no idea what the curly symbols on the window say, and can't decipher what on earth the fare boy is bellowing out the door. You are utterly foreign, and at the mercy of those around you. You hope that you won't get ripped off, and that someone might be able to let you know when your stop is up.

It's so often a tight squeeze, bumpy as hell and quite sweaty— but then again, bus rides tend to be everywhere. If you have the opportunity while in Nepal, give it a try!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

a thousand flickering lights

Under the full moon, faces glowed orange in the light of a thousand flickering flames, and the scent of butter and juniper thickened the air. Three ladies followed each other in a chain of prostrations, their bellies lying flat against the cool stone floor, while others continued to circumambulate the Stupa, careful not to disrupt their rhythm of rising and falling. 

Friday, August 9, 2013


forty-two days

I spent forty-two strange and wonderful, at times aggravating, days in Nepal. Typing on a computer again feels odd, and last night was the first night I slept the whole night through since I left Istanbul in June. Every night in Kathmandu was a new story in noise: from metallic sweatshop tapping to howling cats, to trumpeting and cymbal crashes from monasteries— the latter seems charming and exciting the first night, when you are still convinced you will be able to tune it out like the azan.

There were leeches, bedbugs, mosquitoes, and other blood-sucking horrors. At times my patience hung on such a thin tether— but then there were the kids. The wonderful kids at Shree Mangal Dvip, my dear art students, my reason for returning each year.

I didn't do much drawing this summer, but I did take around two thousand photos. Forty-two days go by really quickly, and it feels as though I just came out of a long dream. I'm foggy-headed and a little disoriented (I have phantom sensations of something crawling over my feet every now and then), and I have a massive pile of stinky clothes to wash.

Stay tuned.