As of today I have been in Nepal for a week, and I realized yesterday that I had not thought about days of the week since I arrived. That is the best example of what time is like here. It comes and goes without me noticing. It feels like I've been here forever, and it feels like I haven't been here for long at all. Maybe eventually it will all start to feel more solid, but so far, I am just floating along, waking up when the sun rises around 6:30am and going to sleep a few hours after it sets around 10.
I wake up with the light of the sun beaming through my window and the sounds of the city starting its day. Roosters crowing, cows mooing, car horns beeping, motors revving, and people yelling. It's almost impossible to sleep in. Around 6:45, a gong is rung in the orphanage to wake the kids. They get up and do morning exercises then the gong is hit again around 7:30 to tell them that breakfast is ready. After they are done breakfast me and 3 other volunteers wash all 51 bowls and spoons (actually 52- the guy owner/manager and his wife have a 16 month old marshmellow of a little boy names Tensen who is the CUTEST) and wipe down the tables and sweep the floors. Then we have the rest of the morning to play with the kids or for free time until lunch at 11:30. Then the same routine as breakfast, and the same until dinner. The kids shovel dinner into their mouths, brush their teeth, and head straight to sleep. All with a hug goodnight and a "goodnight miss." They are so sweet. After that, the volunteers from all the orphanages hang out until around 10 so we get back before the gate is locked.
I enjoy my days here a lot. They will chance some after the Buddhist new year tomorrow when the kids go back to school, but it will just include walking them to and picking them up from school, doing homework, and exclude lunch. There are about 15 other volunteers in Pokhara that I have met and whom I spend my downtime with, which is really fun. But it is also great to grab my book and relax by the lakeside.
That had been my day to day. There are a ton of festivals happening in the next week weeks because of the Buddhist new year. We are closer to Tibet here than Kathmandu, so it is more Buddhist than Hindu it seems. Last night's festivities involved huge bonfires, heating up sugar cane, and smashing them on the ground as hard as possible so they pop and make a sound like a gunshot, then you peel away the outside layer and eat the sugar can on the inside. It is quite delicious.
Another part of my daily routine is the food. The cook makes huge vats of Daalbat, which is beans, lentils, rice, and sometime veggies, and they eat that for breakfast lunch and dinner for a few days. Sometimes it is noodle soup instead, and on special occasions, like the new year, they have special meals with pork and barley. I have been trying everything and it is all good, though I may get sick of it. Luckily there are a TON of restaurants a 10 minute walk away on the lakeside, so if I want to eat something else for lunch, I can. I have been feeling more adventurous about what food i am eating and decided to accept the consequences, but luckily there have been none so far. Which is good, because the chocolate covered dried strawberries from the organic produce store are KILLLER.
So yes, I am still having the time of my life. Learning the kids names and remembering to put sunscreen on have been a challenge the last few days, but otherwise, everything has been easy and wonderful.I love it here, and am excited for the groups of volunteers who will be flowing in an out during my months in Pohkara. Again, I am well and happy and grateful and in amazing company. I will post again after the new year with descriptions and pictures of the kids! Feel free to ask any questions that I haven't covered. Lovelovelove <3