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11 Nov

I’ve wanted to go to India for years and this is a dream come true.

Nepal and India were top on my list and I can say I’ve been to both.

For me, this is more than a trip – in some way I feel like I’m discovering my roots. I’m Pakistani, but India and Pakistan were once one and though the culture differs immensely its also very similar.

I feel so lucky, so blessed and so excited to be embarking on this trip. And having the chance to see India during divali, getting there for a mere $215 rather than nearly $2000 it would cost from Canada.

I’ve had some emotionally trying times as of late – just trying to figure myself out and who I can trust and rely on, who I love and who I really am. But this is one hell of a picker-upper.

In Delhi I’m going to meet a good friend of mine from Toronto who I worked at the body shop with. She is one awesome chick. Then, Tara and i are off to Agra and Jaipur.

En Route to India


Happy divali, or as they call it in Nepal, Tihar.

India, here we come!!!


Out With The Old…In With The New

6 Nov

The last week since Dashain has been a little difficult.

With vacation over, I had to adjust to being back at work, to my brother going back to the UK, to being single (which I’m still struggling with), to having no DSLR camera, having to redo all my work, etc.

The first thing my supervisor commented on when I arrived in the office last week was ‘wow, everything new!’

My new laptop is awesome and I can’t begin to explain how happy I am to have it, especially as I’m trying to cope with this whole heart break thing – without it there would be no Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, movies and Curb Your Enthusiasm and I’d be left in bed with my own thoughts every evening…what a depressing thought.

When ordering it on Amazon, I was so desperate to just buy one I forgot to look at the size and I bought an enormous one…17 or 18 inches. It doesn’t even fit in my laptop bag, so I got a new one (naturally dyed, fairly traded!!).

I dyed my hair red, as well. In Canada I would never, ever do this, however in Nepal it doesn’t matter much how ‘professional’ I look as people will stare at me for the western clothes I wear and the whiteness of my skin and the Canadianess of my accent no matter what. Plus, beauty here is quite affordable!

Retail has also been a huge form of therapy for me although not a healthy one, and I have done a hell of a lot of shopping in the last week. I bought two pairs of Steve Madden shoes this weekend, a bunch of bootleg DVDs including seasons 1-13 of South Park, fake Beats by Dre headphones as I have broken the other 10 pairs that I’ve purchased here, a wallet with the UK flag on it, two pairs of lovely earrings, a bunch of stuff from FTG partners including woolen socks, a vest and a backpack.

One of my new pairs of shoes

But the problem with retail therapy is that it provides a very short high.  Yesterday I had an especially difficult time coping with the lack of love I currently have, it comes in waves, and I treated myself to a nice massage at The Wellness Sanctuary. It made me think of how lucky I am to be in a country where I can afford to get a nice, long massage to take my mind off of things. A broken heart in Canada is much more expensive to heal.

I wake up every morning and try my hardest to not cry, not be sad, and especially not make a phone call I know I will regret. I often fail. However this morning I succeeded and I have yet to shed a single tear today. I know Zak and I broke up a long while ago, but it’s only really hitting and hurting me now. I was so distracted before – getting to know new people, friends, colleagues, the country. All I really needed was a little bit of space from our 3-4 conversations a day to feel like I was living in Nepal, not on Skype. But that turned into mistrust and fights and eventually a break up.

New beginnings can be a blessing – but boy are they tough. I keep trying to remind myself that this is for the best. It could be so much worse, I could be living in the same city as my ex, sharing friends, even a workplace. But regardless, being single, with no one calling to check up on you, no one to fill in on mundane day-to-day activities…it’s new for me.

The new me also wants to put up barriers and not open myself up to people even if I like them. I don’t want to crush on people so easily and don’t want to fall for people so easily. Trust is important but also has to be preserved and only given after a long time.

As a wise Mr. Marley once said:

Bob’s got a very valid point. But how do we find the ones that are worth it?

Nepal is all about a new beginning and a new life. I will not be the same person when I return to Toronto and frankly, I don’t even really want to return to Toronto yet. If nothing else, I’ve learned how vast this world is and how much more there is for me to see and experience. I will do this while guarding my heart, though. Being heart broken in every corner of the globe sounds interesting, but a little too painful.

This week our office moved to a new location about 15 minutes from my apartment. The move has taken a long time and yesterday we were told to work from home, so I spent the day at two cafes. Today we went to the office to find that there is still no electricity, phone or internet, so once again we are at Top of the World Cafe.

This Friday my ex-roomie from Mauritius, Hoda, who I have not seen since she left Mauritius on March 26, 2011, will be in Kathmandu for a vacation this weekend, and it will be lovely to see her, reminisce and hug her. Then, Tara and I are off to India for Divali (called Tihar in Nepal).

In with the NEW indeed…



Cabin Fever

27 Jul

Being cooped up in bed gets very boring very quick. I feel a bit better today but still running to the washroom, just much, much less often. Which is good.

I left a  Sons of Anarchy disc in Canada at my cousin’s place so I have been trying to load 3 episodes online. Extremely frustrating in the best of situations, in Nepal with a shared wifi connection, you can only imagine.

After eating crackers for 2 days straight finally today I decided I wanted a chicken burrito. Can’t be good for my belly but it’s worth the risk. I strapped on my newly cobbled Converse (mostly okay a little uneven) and walked over to Buzz restaurant a few blocks away as I know they sell them and got one. It hit the spot. It was quite Nepali style, but it did the job.

Chicken wrap

Buzz restaurant

I read my book in the sun then meandered back home on a full tummy. Now I sit here waiting still for my episode to load.

Apartment hunting

12 Jul

Today the agent will be coming to take us to the town of Patan or Lalitpur. I can’t figure it out. It is called both, and I don’t really get how that’s possible. It is in the Kathmandu valley, so it’s basically like the suburbs. We will be taken there but need to find our own way back to the passage house.

We are looking for a two bedroom, preferably two bathroom, clean, with internet, furnished and preferably with security apartment. We want something cheap. That’s about all we know. Especially learning about all the different handicrafts made around the country, we need lots of left over cash to spend on art we don’t need.

I’ll post updates.



Mixed feelings

11 Jul

Change takes time, and I know that. But for some reason I keep feeling unsure about being here. 

I mean, I am happy to be here, I am. I feel very lucky to have been selected for the program and know that this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I have wanted to come to Nepal for many, many years. 

But this place is so chaotic and it’s nothing new, really. I’ve seen it before, but I’ve been okay with it. But, for some reason, I’m finding the stress and chaos of this city quite stressful and have been noticing myself becoming anxious lately when I should be on top of the world (almost literally, with Everest nearby!). 

I just don’t know what’s wrong. Is it just the adjustment? Is it because I miss Zak so damn much and keep wondering how on earth we’re going to survive this time apart? I’ve been doing everything I can to keep my mind occupied so that I won’t cry but today after coming back from shopping, we had dinner plans with another volunteer I have yet to meet but I fell asleep, when Tara woke me to go for dinner I said to go without me. Maybe I’m just lonely but I am feeling so, so low. 

The organization with which I will be working seems really cool. And I’m afraid I’ll buy way too much as there is a shop next to the office selling the Fair Trade goods. But, that doesn’t start for two weeks and it is the developing world, things will be slower. Period. That’s okay, though. 

So I am definitely excited to be here, I’m just feeling so uneasy. I don’t know why. 




8 Jul

I’m at the airport right now, waiting to board to London. My bags weren’t quite as heavy as I thought, only the big one was overweight, the little one was fine, so I only had to spend $100 for overweight baggage. 

I didn’t end up taking any photos at Niagara but as predicted the motel was very seedy and much more expensive than I had expected. We had a nice time though, and today we wasted money at the casino, had lunch/dinner at The Keg and cried a lot. That’s what I am currently doing. I miss my boyfriend so much already. 

Anyway, other than the crying, I think his birthday went okay. 

I feel really bad for whoever ends up beside me on the plane to Heathrow tonight….they won’t get much sleep. 

Depending on internet access at Doha airport I may post, otherwise, talk to you from KATHMANDU! 



The day before

6 Jul

I woke up this morning to a call from London. It was my twin telling me he’s going to be at Heathrow Airport on Sunday, waiting for me, hoping that we’ll be able to meet for coffee.

Originally, I was supposed to have a layover for 10 hours at Heathrow which was amazing because I haven’t seen my twin since he was last visiting Toronto in October. I think this is the longest we have ever gone not seeing one another. They managed to find me an earlier flight to Nepal (via Doha) so I’ll only be in layover in London for 3 hours. During this time I need to switch terminals, go through customs, perhaps get my bags, perhaps not, and go through security once more. To be honest, I’m not sure how much time there will be to meet my twin, but we will be trying. Today we are working out logistics as to where to meet as Heathrow is enormous.

I hate layovers. Even when I am going on vacation for a week, when I am in layover I freak. I cry. I pace. I buy anything I can to keep myself occupied. I love to travel, but have never been able to get over layovers. I just can’t figure it out. I’m hoping meeting my bro will make the layover in Heathrow very awesome, fun and quick. I did however have a dream that I missed my flight and so I am slightly worried about it. But, life’s short!

Today is my last day at Job #2…since I’m leaving tomorrow. Yesterday as I was going to find someone to cover the phones at Job #2 because I had to pee, I was startled to find a circle of all the employees gathering around in the back. This never, ever happens. They bought me a Red Velvet decadent cake and a going away card. I was so surprised. I’ve only been at this job part-time for 6 months and most of the employees have been here for 15-30 years!! I felt so supported.

Today is my last day, but many of them won’t be around today, so we did the cake thing yesterday. How sweet.

In the evening I took my niece and nephew, who I live with, for frozen yogurt and candy and of course stuffed myself with both. What a mess.

Then, we went home and my niece painted my nails as we watched the new 90210 (ick!) while my nephew ignored us and played his computer game.


My nails painted by my talented niece. This is how we bond…

I’m gonna miss those lil monsters.

Tonight, Zak and I are going to Niagara Falls for the night. As it’s his birthday tomorrow, and it will be bitter-sweet as I am leaving, I thought at the very least we could have a nice night together at a seedy motel in Niagara. I’ll post pix.