Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Highlights

As 2011 winds down, we are taking some time to reflect on our whirlwind year. With its unique highs and lows, this is surely one we will not soon forget. We are thankful that the ups far outweigh the downs; so much so that it is impossible to pick just one or two to share. Instead, we are devoting our last post of 2011 to a monthly listing of our personal highlights.

The Kathmanduo: A Year in Review

January: Claudine Arrived in Nepal

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All eyes were on Claudine as she crossed the world on her own, trailblazing a new adventure.

February: Claudine Commenced Her Kiva Fellowship

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She learned tips for field work (bring your own water but don't count on bathroom breaks) and so, so much more from the clients and staff of BPW Patan.

March: Brian Arrived in Nepal

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The Kathmanduo was finally complete as Brian took the leap and joined Claudine. Monkey business ensued.

April: Visiting Tibetan Refugee Settlement Camps

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After working on behalf of a client seeking political asylum in the US, Brian got the opportunity to meet the family she left behind.

May: Reaching Thorung La Pass, Annapurna Circuit

Day 10: Climbing to the Thorung Pass

After days on the trail, we reached our literal highest point in Nepal (at that point): 17,769 feet (5,416 meters).

June: Finding a Home

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The Duo finally landed in its own flat after months of subletting. While the settling in process was not always intuitive or easy, by the end we learned that there's truly no place like home.

July: 40 Days of Yoga, Our Downward Dog Days of Summer

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The "fruit fast" aspect of this program was not such a hit, but at least it coincided with mango season. Otherwise, we loved our yoga challenge and considered it a huge success.

August: Nothing Good Happens in August

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We will not lie: August was a stressful month for us. On the bright side, we learned and grew a lot from the experience, improved our yoga practice as a coping mechanism, and -- when that failed -- relied on Claudine's tasty chickpea cookie dough balls to get us through.

September: USA!

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We traveled home for about two weeks and covered a lot of ground between Chicago, Boston, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. Family, friends, food. What more needs to be said?

October: Everest Base Camp Trek

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Hands down, the most stunning scenery we have ever encountered. These two weeks of trekking just may win for highlight of the year.

November: Thanksgiving Abroad

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We love Thanksgiving, so we were quite grateful to find that it follows you wherever you go, even half way around the world. You do not even need turkey to celebrate, as Claudine's vegan pilaf proved (though thanks to generous friends, we also had all the traditional fixings at our fingertips). All you need is a moment for humble reflection and some good company (wine doesn't hurt, either).

December: Pokhara Getaway

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Was it Lake Fewa's soothing waters, looming white Himalayan peaks, or the luxury of our resort hotel? Who cares how you did it -- Pokhara, we are smitten.

2011: not too shabby. Bring it, 2012 -- you have some pretty big shoes to fill.

Wishing you all the very best in the new year,
The Kathmanduo

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