With regards to the 7.8 Earthquake in Nepal

4-up on 2011-08-26 at 18.36

You should care because as a human, you are connected to every other human just by virtue of being human. You know what it’s like to find something funny or to be tired or to be upset by how unfair something feels. You also know what’s it’s like to focus on differences but I want to suggest we have similarities and a lot of them.

I know I’m biased. I found the most beautiful people when I was 18 who loved me and put up with my silliness and gave me countless chances to grow. I one time refused to wash my hair for two weeks since I was too cold and really just didn’t want to, and nobody said a word besides always offering me kettle of hot water if I ended up changing my mind. I was given the opportunity to teach math in a school and wasn’t a great teacher but discovered how much I loved math. I learned that joking about how excruciatingly warm it was outside when it was so cold you had to sit in your bed for 3 hours in order for it to be warm enough for sleeping actually helps and is pretty fun. I adventured and laughed and had lots of fun. I was, well am, pretty lucky.

For the last 4 days, I’ve prayed every time I opened facebook, gmail, and my phone that today would be the day I heard from my family.  It’s stupidly easy to see Deepika’s rosy sandals or to hear the sweet melody of Habia Una Vez Un Barco Chiquito from Pramila.

Two hours ago I finally received word that everyone is alive.  It hurts to tell you how little they have right now to survive on and how worried I am they’ll run out of something basic.  Right now, their camping in their garden and it’s the monsoon, which is cold and horrible. There are a lot of aftershocks, more than two hundred, and everyone is still pretty terrified.

With this in mind, I don’t want what I say or anything else you read to make you feel guilty.  In fact in Tibetan (Nepal’s sister country), there isn’t a word for “guilt”, which they retrospectively justify by citing how useless it is as an emotion.

But you can help.

What can you do to help?

1. Skip coffee/dessert/spend 5 dollars less on that graduation present and instead donate the money you would have spent.  In a place where lodging is usually 2 dollars a night and a full meal is 1 dollar, rest assured the marginal value of a dollar spent is high.  This is the link to my honest and hardworking friend’s farm:


2. If you have 15 minutes when you’re eating dinner tonight, stop by the the Vigil on Sproul from 7-8:30 pm.

3. I urge you to learn from Nepali and engage with other humans around you, ask people genuine questions, smile, and look for beauty.  Also give someone a hug, hugs are great.


Guesthouses in the Khumbu

I can’t actually remember how tired or perhaps relieved I felt once reaching a guest house after a long day: my memories only include the action of going up the steps, checking the room/toilet, and being assured it’s 200 ruppies or *wink* and “free if your friend come to”. Then, sitting on the flowery carpeted benches and buddled in retro fitted blankets, I gaze a the photographs of Buddist deities, notable peaks, and cursorily photoshopped parrot on a rabbit on a monkey on elephant complete with apricot balancing on tip of elephant’s trunk. The myriad of photographs and awarded certificates showcase children and grandchildren and great grandchildren of the owners. Looking closer, I notice everything is dated 2016 and onwards: I get the feeling that I’m stuck in a 60s scifi tv show.

Orginally written March 15, 2012

Ama Dablam

The mountain displayed in the first and last photo is Ama Dablam (“Mother’s necklace”), part of the Himalayan mountain range in eastern Nepal. Going from Gokyo to Everest Base Camp, the path follows closely to Ama Dablam, giving trekkers a glimpse of the high-altitude magnificence to come. The curvaceous, chiseled peak stands at 6,812 metres (22,349 ft). It’s my favorite mountain in the world: it was love at first sight for the two of us.