iPhoneography Challenge: Portraits of Nature for Earth Day

The weather here as been amazingly inconsistent.  When I saw, Lens and Pens by Sally‘s iPhonegraphy Challenge, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to celebrate the very few spring-like days we have had in the DC area. (p.s. today was NOT one of them as I nearly froze on my bike-ride to school.)  I also really like the idea of supporting spreading the Earth Day message through random natural photography.  So the following photos are the lovely examples of nature I have accumulated over the past week riding to and from school.  I hope you enjoy my effort.

I loved Frames & Focus’s list of things she is doing to celebrate Earth Day 2013 and thought I would add a little of my own ideas.

Happy Earth Day!  Things I am doing (or at least attempting to do) to celebrate Earth Day 2013:

  1. Continue to ride my bike to/from school. (even on bad weather days.. at least on nice days)
  2. Buy products that are natural or at least are packaged in recyclable containers.
  3. Learn to better understand what CAN and CANNOT be recycled.
  4. Donate some of my unused items to a Salvation Army or other entity in need.
  5. Contribute to a cause relating to some part of nature I love.
  6. Visit a farmer’s market after going on a nature walk.

शुक्रबार – म नेपालि सिक्दै छु ।

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up – My interpretation of this weeks challenge is a bit off and a bit different (अलि अलि फरक) and I would like you to first excuse my very terribly limited Nepali..I have only 7.5 weeks (७.५ हप्ता) of language (भाषा) under my belt and as you can see (हर्नुहुन्छ) I do not quite have the vocabulary to say (मेरो शब्दहरु छैन) everything I want to say in the tense I want to say it.

Well, as says the title of this blog, it is Friday and I am learning Nepali (म नेपाली ससदै छु).  I am learning to speak (बोल्नुस), read (पढ्नुस) and write (देख्नुस्) Nepali.  I’m enjoying it (म नेपाली मनपर्छ), but it’s exhausting.  Class starts at 7:45 (कलसमा पाैने ८ सुरु छ) and in order for me to get in my Yoga (योग गर्छ), eat my breakfast ( मेरो खाना खाुछु), drink my coffee (मेरो काफ्ी पिउँन्छु) and bus or bike ride to the school, I must get up between 4:30 and 5:00 every day (प्रतिदिन म साढे ४ की ५ बजे उठ्छु).

Needless to say, I am very tired these days. (अाजभोलि , मलाई धेरै थकाइ लाग्यो।) So the best thing for me on a Friday afternoon (शुक्रबार दिउँसो), after 5 hours (पछ घण्टा) straight of class, is to catch a glimpse of something that is inspiring or funny (रमाइलो).

Here goes. We get a 10 minute break every hour.  We were on our last break of the day (हम्रो अन्तिम ब्रेक लिनछाै).  I went to get water and use the bathroom.  As I began to wash my hands I noticed that the soap dispensers were empty. However, someone brought in a soap container until the dispensers could be re-filled.  As you look at this picture, please remember that I am attending language training at an institution that teaches numerous languages…French, Russian, Chinese, Nepali, Romanian, Greek, etc.. The expectation is we will go to our respective countries and speak as fluently as possible in these countries while doing our respective jobs.  My 2 emotions upon reading this bottle were delight and concern.  Delight that this bottle was in the bathroom of a fairly prestigious language training facility which made me laugh and concern that maybe we should be focusing on brining our own English language training UP (माथि) a notch.  Enjoy.

At least it was made in the USA.

At least it was made in the USA.

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Change – Well.. what better way to express change than by voting.

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The above photos were taken in Georgetown near the Venezuelan Embassy.  I actually walked down this street on Sunday by accident as I was lost.  Definitely an interesting win for me on many levels.  I had just finished working in Venezuela for the past two years and seeing the Venezuelan flag on a car in DC was a bit of a surprise.  There were several dozen voters in line to vote and a voting stand was set up a little bit away from the Embassy.  The picture of the girl is my favorite.  She was so full of country pride that I stopped her and had to ask if I could take her photo.  I love people who have a pride of country and this girl seemed to have an abundance of it.

I have said this before and I want to say it one more time.  My life is good.  I have had amazing opportunities presented to me.  On a bit of a whim, I spent three years teaching English in Korea and both of my daughters had an opportunity to live over there with me during my 3 year stay.  During that time I was able to travel to China, Thailand and Cambodia. I was able to witness an insane and fun voting process in South Korea that involved street dancing and shouting out platforms to the beat of a live band.   Amazing time yes!

Vacationing in countries is so very different than spending extended times working in those same countries.  You can experience the culture and the people in a much more intimate way and you can find things (just like you can in your country of birth) that you really love and really hate.  More than all of that, you can grow as a person and understand that people in other countries are really no different than you are in your own.  Issues of poverty, governmental control, health and money all come to present themselves in ways that become very familiar and very personal.  You become drawn into the voting process and realize that even though this is not your country you have a stake in the results.

I just finished a two year assignment in Venezuela.  Venezuela is a country full of life and strife.  There is an abundance of natural resources and beautiful locations that would make it a tourist’s haven.  Sadly there is also an abundance of poverty and crime that make it nearly impossible to support a safe and healthy environment for tourism.

After two years of listening to many Venezuelans about their dreams and aspirations for their country, most everyone found the election results in October a bit devastating.  For the people of Venezuela and the country as a whole, a second chance for change was presented.  Yesterday came and went and sadly after this grand opportunity there have been accusations of fraud, misconduct and intimidation at the polling stations.  There are now demonstrators who are resorting to violence and at this time it’s very difficult to decide what is going to be the final outcome.  As of last night, people had taken to the streets in full Venezuelan color with their pots and pans and anything else that made sound to raise their voices and express their discontent.

My hope right now is that peace will be maintained and a final appropriate ending will fall into place and true change can take place in this amazing country.  I wish the people of Venezuela well.

iPhoneography Monday: Black & White

Over the weekend I attended the Nepali Festival in DC.  It was an interesting introduction to time management and organizational skills in Nepal.  I arrived early so I didn’t have to wait in any food lines.. so I was one of the lucky ones.  All in all I had a good time and was able to enjoy delicious momo’s, goat curry and a spicy potato salad.  I was also able to purchase a few gift t-shirts and a very beautiful knife which I will send to my son-in-law who loves collectors knives.

This particular knife is called a “खुकुरी” and is an example of the national knife of Nepal. they are also called Gurkha knives and are used by most Nepalese for cooking, cutting wood, decoration and safety.  They are very well-known for their cutting power.. and even this older knife I bought ($15) was so sharp I was afraid to take it out of it’s cover…which by the way was also very sharp.  The name Gurkha comes from the original use of the knife by Gurkha soldiers since 1814.  Beautiful piece.  There are some interesting stories around this knife that I won’t post here as they are pretty gruesome.  I hope you enjoy.


For more of the iPhoneography Monday posts, check out Sally’s Black & White edition at Lens & Pens by Sally; and Polly’s post onWatching Photo Reels. If you wish to join the fun, you can find the mechanics here.