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Posts Tagged ‘Nepal’

I’m excited. I’m excited because one of my good friends is doing something awesome and I’m a part of it. My friend Erin started an organization called Edge of Seven. Edge of Seven organizes volunteers for trips to Nepal to do amazing work. I wrote about her here, and I blogged about my own experience in Nepal here. They’ve built a school, a hostel of girls so they can attend school, and are in the process of doing so much more. You can read about their endeavors on their blog here.

I am part of a campaign to turn pocket change into futures for hundreds and hundreds of children in Nepal. Education is the key to lift the upcoming generations out of poverty, and these children can have that education with our pocket change. How cool is that?

I’m excited to be a part of this because I believe in the power of education, because I’ve seen the children’s faces, and because I have plenty of pocket change lying around and I won’t miss it a bit. Also, I believe in this organization. I know the actual people who will be designing the buildings, digging the foundations, carrying the stones. My name is already on a plaque on one school in Nepal, and I’m happy to have it on another.

For more information, check out this video. Come help me change the world with your pocket change. If you decide to donate, please let me know so I can lavish you with appropriate praise and attention. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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Kate from Kate Takes 5 has a weekly link up where she provides a topic for a top 5 list. I always mean to participate in her listography, but for some reason I don’t seem to make it in time. Last week’s topic was Decisions and I’ve been ruminating on the topic for days, and naturally missed my chance to link up to it before the new topic for this week was posted. But it got me thinking a lot about some of the decisions that have shaped my life.

Like everyone else, I’ve made good decisions and bad decisions, hard decisions and easy decisions. Here are a few of the most  influential decisions I’ve made, the good and the bad.

1. Leaving High School

I don’t actually like to admit this often, but I went to boarding school. It was the norm for kids from my middle school to go away to boarding school for high school. (Did that sentence have “school” in it a lot or what?) Anyway, it was not for me. I hated it vehemently. I hated the culture of my school where the hockey team ruled and even the teachers seemed to be divided into cliques. During my junior year we had a parents’ day and I was in a sour mood. My parents asked what was the matter and I rashly lashed out that I hated my school and was miserable. “So what are you going to do about it?” my dad asked me. Huh?

This was the first time I was handed the reigns of my life. I could do something about this? I decided to apply directly to college as a junior, and skip my 4th year of high school entirely. I did not have enough credits and did not take any kind of equivalency exam. I was like any other high school junior. Several of my top choice schools firmly let me know that I need not apply until I graduated like a normal person, but some were open to my application and I was accepted into a handful. Then I had a difficult choice to make: leave my friends and the comfort of the familiar? Separate myself from everyone else on the planet by not having a senior year of high school? I did it. That decision empowered me and at 17 I learned that I was in charge of myself and could drive my own life.

2. Giving Up

I found myself as a previously sheltered 17-year-old in the bigger than big world of Giant University. My dorm my freshman year had over 1600 students. Believing I was a uniquely talented and bright individual, like I had always been told, I applied to a competitive writing course. I submitted my short stories, full of teen angst and trite drama (this was waaaay before Twilight). I was not accepted. I received a letter explaining that I should work on my writing and reapply as an upperclassman.

Devastated, I concluded that I actually had no talent for writing whatsoever. Too humiliated to sign up for any other kind of writing course, I hung up my pen. I decided that my parents were right, writing is a hobby, and I should take a bunch of science courses so I could be employable some day instead. Easy decision to make. Giving it up was so easy. But what if I hadn’t? I could potentially have some fulfilling career instead of a history of random jobs, a Master’s degree I don’t care about, and no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

3. Studying Abroad

Most people consider taking one semester to study abroad or at another university, for a change of pace and fun opportunity. I did it 3 times. I knew that college provided me the unique chance to do this. That one day when I was a grown up saddled with a grown up life I would not be able to spend 3 months in exotic places like Nepal and Kenya, or living outside in snow caves in the Rocky Mountains. I was so fortunate to have these opportunities at my fingertips and I could not pass them up. Each of these experiences left indelible impressions on me and shaped me into the adult I would eventually become. The only hard thing about these decisions was where to go and what to do. Palau or Kenya? That was a tough one.

In my current life as a SAHM to two little kids, it refreshes me to remember my younger self roaming through the streets of Kathmandu; living with a family in a mud and thatch hut in rural Kenya and speaking Swahili expertly; or how strong and hard my exhausted muscles were after digging out another snow cave to spend the night in. These memories are a world apart from my current reality, but it was me, I did it. It reminds me that life is a series of events and stages, that this one is just another stage, and that one day I’ll be looking back on all of this. I had better try to appreciate all it has to offer.

4. Marrying T

This was maybe the easiest decision ever. I’ve suffered more indecision over shoe purchases than whether or not to marry T. From the moment I met him I felt connected to him. We actually almost got hitched after only knowing each other for several months. We faced some inconvenient visa laws and the fact that he’s an alien from far far away land. We had 3 choices: get married, move out of the US, or break up. We call that day “stress day 2000.” In the end we decided to both up and move to far far away land rather than get married for the wrong reasons. So we did. 3 years later, we were back in the US (legally!) and he proposed. Of course I would marry him! I never had cold feet.

5. Kids

Another easy decision to make despite how huge it was. Suddenly one day I felt ready to have a kid. T and I had been married a few years. Our life was fun. But I felt kind of done with it and ready for something new, the next phase. Luckily T was on board and soon we had our gigantic baby L. (He was 10 lbs 3 oz.)

Nothing in the universe was cuter than L when he was 1.5 years old. This was a lucky thing because he was not easy. At all. But he was a bouncing boy full of exuberance, energy and serious cuteness. So cute that I just had to have another. Again, an easy decision that T agreed with. The time was right and having L be an only child was never really in consideration. It amazes me how easy these huge, life changing decisions were to make.

It’s been a fun exercise to look back and think of the biggest decisions I made which brought me to where I am today – steadfastly ignoring my children while they wreck the house so I can selfishly reflect and blog about it.

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I like to think that if I didn’t have kids yet I’d have the same potential for brain related production as I had in my pre-kids days. Oh the things I could do! All the smarts and none of the aimlessness I had in my 20’s. Well, a number of my pre-kids friends are doing just that. They haven’t (yet!) been effectively lobotomized by child rearing and they have cool jobs, cool lives, and my envy.

Like my teacher friends in New Zealand who spend every summer traveling and have been everywhere. (Except to visit us, ahem!) Come to think of it, all of my envy for child-free people involve their world-travel and my stay-at-homeness. Like my friend, Erin, who after a trip to Nepal decided to start her own non-profit which organizes and leads volunteer trips to Nepal to do some amazing projects. They just spent a couple of months with several volunteers building a school in a remote Nepali village. And I stayed home and looked at the pictures.

She is now organizing a Women’s Empowerment Project to build a hostel for girls in the Mt. Everest region of Nepal. Backed by some pretty awesome statistics about how educating girls raises a whole nation, and knowing that most girls in Nepal drop out of school as the higher grades are usually located too far away for them to get to. So, how awesome is she?

She asked me to write a guest blog for her as I had been to Nepal in my former life and of course I said YES! Since writing it I’ve been feeling wistful for the old days. T and I used to travel, backpack, take spur of the moment weekend trips. Now a weekend trip involves strategic packing of so much stuff. These small people require a lot of stuff. Cups and bottles and formula and snacks and lovies and music boxes and blankies and toys and distractions. And still they aren’t happy. Yesterday we drove an hour and a half and had to stop to change a diaper, to pee, to eat. During the drive we had to constantly provide replacement pacifiers, snacks, drinks and entertainment. And still they weren’t happy. (And, incidentally, my car looks like those cars I used to be so grossed out by and I SWORE mine would never look like that.)

I know that my kids are great and my life is enriched by having them. (I’m rolling my eyes as I write that.) Sure, sure, that’s all true. But I do miss those days.

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