UNO. lots and lots of UNO.

having settled in to my new place rather quickly, i’ve spent the past few days at the orphanage. but full disclosure first: i’ll admit i was a bit uneasy upon my arrival a few days ago – the older boys were a bit standoffish, and the younger ones, while friendly, seemed more interested in their games than the new guy at the door. and because Rabindra came and got me rather quickly, i didn’t stay long; only a half hour or so that first day. so as i walked back to the volunteer house, i found myself wondering how my time here would go. i remember thinking how much things can change in just a few years.

thankfully, day two started out wonderfully, and i’m happy to say it’s been great since. still not fully adjusted to the eleven hour and forty-five minute time difference, i find myself waking up around 5:00 in the morning. after a bowl of cereal, i’ve been heading out on an hour run around 5:30, and by seven, i’m eating a second breakfast of white rice and a vegetable. i’d rather not have Goma go to the trouble of making this, but despite my repeated attempts of kindly reminding her she doesn’t need to, she continues to do so anyways. still too early to head over to the orphanage at this time, i usually make some black tea and spend some time reading on the front step. i picked up Gone Girl, a novel by Gillian Flynn while at the airport in Delhi, and i have to admit i bought it for the simple reason i remember seeing it on a best seller list back home a few weeks back. turns out it’s a missing persons novel, filled with undertones of relationship woes and personal struggles. not my first choice, preferring more feel good types of stories, but i’m finding it interesting none-the-less.

around 9:00 or so, after a short trip to town to use the internet at a swanky holiday resort called the Park Village, i head over to the orphanage. both days so far, the children have been playing soccer when i arrived, so i’ve been trying my hat at that. around 10:30, they eat breakfast, and by 11:00, we’re right back to playing games. UNO is VERY popular here, and playing it feels like the final round of the World Championship Poker Tournament in Vegas. it’s intense, the kids are all very animated while playing, they move at a rapid pace, and winning is celebrated with a dance by the lucky child. round after round it’s the same, yet for some reason it never gets old.

when outside, we play all types of games down on their soccer field. yesterday, we had a rock throwing contest, followed by a scavenger hunt which was a huge hit with the kids. later, sitting down at the edge of the property on a large stone wall, we played round after round of a memory game my family always played in the car on long trips down to visit family in the southern part of the state when i was younger. “I went to the store and bought an Apple”, followed by the next person repeating what the first person said, adding a new item following the letters of the alphabet. turn after turn, it’s gets progressively harder as the list of items grow. with the kids, it was ‘i went to Pokhara and bought…’ or ‘i went on vacation and went to…’ Shivaraj won every time, which was no surprise – he’s one of the brightest kids i’ve ever met, and he is so great with everyone here. being the oldest now, he’s taken on the role very well. i find myself wondering how different things would be for him growing up in the States, or a country where he could be involved in the arts or organized sport or school programs. i asked him what his plans are after he graduates in two years time. his reply? a shoulder shrug.

while i was hoping to share some photos of the children with you, i’m holding back a bit on taking a ton of them since i’m very new to a lot of the children here. while i’ve been here before, and most have warmed to me very quickly, this is still their home, and i’m still a guest here. the last thing i want to do is make anyone feel uncomfortable by having a new person taking a ton of pictures or making them feel like they are on display. i’m here for a while though, so i’ll make sure to grab a few before i go. until then, i thought i’d post up a few from my first week here. some are from Kathmandu, others are from the drive out. the rest are from around Budhanilkatha and the orphanage, all made with my trusty point and miss Canon Powershot. i’ll try to make some better ones with my nicer camera, but truth be told, that little thing is just way too easy and convenient to carry around. so while not the best quality pictures in the world, they still should give you an idea of what it’s like around here.IMG_0818

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