succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, January 01, 2010

Shangri-la (aka, Pokhara)

On Friday afternoon we flew to Pokhara, the second most popular tourist city in Nepal. Above is the ridiculously beautiful resort hotel where we were not exactly slumming it - The Fulbari.

Pokhara is the opposite of Kathmandu - slower pace of life, fewer people, cleaner air, just beautiful and relaxing. We were pretty worn out from our packed schedule during the week, so after arriving we indulged in a long lunch overlooking Phewa Lake, then retired to spend happy hour in the Gurkha bar back at the hotel (Gurkhas were Nepali soldiers in the British army) and just generally lounged around our beautiful surroundings.

Good thing too, since the next morning we were up before dawn to watch the sun rise over the Himalayas from Sarangkot. At least there was milk tea.
And breathtaking views.

For our morning hike, we headed to the peak pictured here.
In the afternoon, we took a boat across the lake, then hiked up to the Peace Pagoda, then back down to the Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp. Despite the name, residents of the camp live better than many Nepali citizens - they have a successful craft business, monastery, school, and permanent structures (we're not talking about a tent camp here).The day was full of some serious hiking, and beautiful views. Good thing our first day and a half in Pokhara were so relaxing, because the next day, well, not so much.

Next: bandh!

A Resolution?

As I bask in a day spent in my pajamas, a day following nearly 12 hours of sleep (seriously, I didn't roll out of bed until almost 3pm!), a day, most importantly, with nothing on my To Do List (ok, so I have a reminder to write my rent check, but that hardly counts), an idea hits me. Perhaps this year I will attempt one To Do List Free (TDLF) day a month. I love my To Do List, and I'm not sure if I have the willpower to enact TDLF, but I think it would be good for me. One true vacation day a month. It wouldn't necessarily have to be a day of sloth, but there would be some rules. No alarm clock. No scheduled items. No chores or errands. What do we think?

The Aughts

Uff. I think every year in the past (too lazy to check archives) I've managed to avoid the drunken nostalgic post, on New Year's, if no other night, but tonight I feel compelled. The thing is, it's weird. I know I haven't yet been alive 3 decades, and yet somehow it seems weird to me that the beginning of this decade leap frogs an entire section of my life (grad school in atlanta). The beginning of the aughts is me living in clark tower on the north side of campus, then moving in with PC and AWB in my first 'big girl' apartment (I remember clearly thinking whoever thought we should be allowed to live with our friends was a genius!). More than one third of my life, to date, has been spent in college or grad school! Ridiculous! I know the 90s are supposed to be my decade, the decade when I became truly sentient, struggled through adolescence, etc. etc. But the aughts are when I figured out how to be grown-up. Ok, so probably, hopefully, I'll be figuring that out for the rest of my life, but I mean, the aughts are when I went through therapy and did two big geographic moves (mostly on my own) and became a doctor (eep!) and got a job (double eep!) and kind of started to think of myself as someone other than my parents' kid. Also, and this is important, if also egotistical, the aughts are when I finally figured out that I'm kind of awesome. What a nice place to start the teens.

Gender Identity and Sexual Preference

Had an interesting and enlightening conversation tonight with a somewhat butch lesbian. Who came out and reinforced something I've been thinking - it's challenging to be a straight butch. She said, I look at you, and the rather femme clothes you're wearing tonight (blue sleaveless dress, knee-high-high-heeled-boots, white cardigan) but I recognize that you don't carry yourself that way - you walk and take up space like a butch. And I don't know what someone like you, who doesn't like women, does.

You and me both, sister.

Because that's the thing, right? I like men. I'm quite comfortable in this statement. I want a family, children. Similarly comfortable. You know what other ideas make me comfortable? I want to be the breadwinner. I'm good at that. I'm going to continue to be good at that. I would make a good head of household. I'm not trying to reinforce stereotypes here, rather just say that I'm acting and living out a rather traditionally male stereotype. And, sadly, we haven't managed to advance enough as a society yet to generate a particularly large pool of men who are comfortable being and desire to be a primary parent and house-husband. A couple of my female friends are blessed with male partners who fit this description and they rock my world. But the pool from which to choose is pretty small. The pool of men who want these things, and also manage to see themselves as equally awesome (e.g., bringing something different, but equally important, to the relationship table) are diminishingly small. Bummer for me.

But such is life. And fan of compromise though I may be, this is one area where I'll be standing my ground.

Best of luck to you, and to me, in finding what you want, and what you deserve, in the decade to come. joyeux aneau. prospero ano nuevo. happy new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I lurve this video! (via Feministing)

Back Up Your Birth Control has a handy guide on how and where to obtain EC.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nepal - Days 3 and 4

Wedding Day!

(these little fish featured in numerous ceremonies throughout the week)

Wednesday morning was the Buddhist ceremony, followed in the afternoon by the reception, for which we all received saris (and, fortunately, help tying them).

(so pink!)

The next morning we headed out to Swayambhu (aka, the monkey temple)

(Buddha monkey is my favorite)
We spent the afternoon in Patan, where my sister-in-law grew up.
We had dinner Thursday night at my in-laws' place, in a more 'private' reception (this reception still featured somewhere between 50 and 100 (or more) friends and was difficult to guess the size of the crowd since we westerners were kept somewhat segregated...not for any particular reason, it was just clear that we had no idea what was going on, so we were shown to the living room and offered tea and food while others more actively mingled). Dinner started with the traditional milk tea, then the requisite round of 'rice wine' (aka moonshine), and then more food than any of us could possibly consume (rice, nuts, sour seeds that one sucked and then spit out, buffalo brain (!), more fried fish, fried egg, pumpkin curry, yogurt, aloo gobi, mutton, and probably a dozen other things I'm forgetting). After round one of eating (we didn't know at the time it was round one) we were invited up to the roof to sit around the fire and drink more wine and whiskey. When they brought up that the multi-course meal had just begun, we all apologized profusely about our complete inability to continue eating much more. Fortunately, I don't think the family was offended. I really hope not. But round two of food was particularly tricky - if you professed fondness for any particular dish, one of the female members of the family would magically appear with another spoonful for you!

Next: Pokhara

Best Christmas gift ever!

Mom has been working on turning a lot of my old gymnastics t-shirts into a quilt. I knew about this, but we both sort of figured it would be a multi-year project. Surprise!