Friday, July 31, 2009

okay, PHOTOS!!

since i'm sitting at home pretty much
doing nothing anyway, i thought i should
put up some photos to let you see some
of the amazing things i've been talking about!

with Season, Mabita and Nikita,
girls from my youngest class and me in my
first kurta suruwal!! (:

here i am, having a balloon blowing competition
with some of the guys from the Prayer Tower
(it's also a home for handicapped people)

view of Phewa lake in Pokhara.
its amazing.

what i saw at 5.30am from the roof of the
house we were living in at Pokhara-
see the Himalayas and the eagle?!!

night i came to malaysia-
i suspect this is the culprit meal that
disabled me for 6 days, it was good though.
with my headmaster's family, he fosters these 4 girls.

and lastly, im ending this with a super heart
wrenching cute photo- eeeeeek (:
some of the boys from the nursery class,
where i spend all of my free periods/break time.



Thursday, July 30, 2009

phew i finally feel okay.

it's been six days of pain but on the upside,
i get to lie in and read harry potter all day (:

i really haven't been doing much,
but in typical sammie fashion,
i've been going to lots of shopping malls
(and haven't actually done any shopping at all!)
and it finally feels like its the summer holidays
cause im actually getting a break so yay!

went to my old high school today for the
parent teacher day and both the teachers
responsible for alyssa's class taught me
in form 2 and none of them recognised me!

it feels surreal that i've left CHS now
for 4 years already- i'm not sure if i like it.

apparently the clouds finally broke over nepal,
monsoon has truly arrived and it's water and mud
everywhere- im not sure if im looking fwd to that!
and theres been a week long strike called,
so all the exams the school is running is canceled anyway,
which is crap cause that means
even after i get back i dont have anything
to do and its too late for me to change my
flight plans now!! ):


gonna go meet cherru now,
my super awesome oldest friend- can't wait!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

oh i feel so bad.

i've been having the runs for 24 hours now,
having to run to the bathroom on instant notice
urgently really isn't fun at all!

but on the flip side, i'm at home home
so it's great!!

the flight was good, there were only 6 females
on the flight and i was the only malaysian on
the plane so that was quite something!

i was at the headmaster's house before as well,
and since he lives like 2km away from the airport
he took me over on the motorbike, with my luggage and everything,
i must've been a sight!

but anyway yes i got home safely and
as i stepped inside KLIA, maybe it's cause
i haven't seen anything like in in 6 weeks-
i was just blown away by how clean and gleaming
the airport was, how rich everything looked.

it took quite awhile getting used to the roads as well,
no honking and no buses!! (:
but it's just weird seeing just such abundance again.

but yeah- started getting the runs and having that
while watching 2 movies in a row really isn't much fun-
thank goodness for clean public toilets here!
(trust me- they're clean compared to Nepal!!)

being home is awesome.

i have so much to get used to again,
but im SO thankful for the free flow of oranges
and great times with the siblings :D

Friday, July 24, 2009

everything seems to be against me flying tonight.

one, i've said that i'm lactose intolerant
for the past year cause i just dont want
to explain that i abhor anything dairy
(except chocolate and yoghurt etc)
but yesterday when i gorged myself on
this beautiful piece of chocolate cheesecake
it's apparently too much lactose for my body
cause i do not feel great ):

two, there's a transport bandh today!!!

but even if im puking my heart out
and have to walk to the airport

Thursday, July 23, 2009

malaysians are everywhere!!

i found out today when i went knocking
on my neighbour's door that i live next to a
malaysian missionary here in kathmandu.
it was nice hearing all the 'la's' again,
but not as nice as tomorrow..

:D :D :D


also, i've seen quite amazing things in the past week.
first the Himalayas, and then yesterday was
the solar eclipse- which happens once in 78 years!
and i woke up, still lying on my bed
wondering why on earth it was so dark outside
and then two words came into my head-
solar eclipse!
i jumped up immediately and ran outside,
and i saw this perfect round thing blocking the sun,
which was pretty cool but it really wasn't
as amazing as i thought it would've been-
from the photos i've seen before i thought that
it would've been total darkness but no.

and me being the very smart person i am,
ignored all the warnings about looking at it
directly without any special equipment and
stared at the eclipse for 5 minutes
and paid the price for half an hour later
cause all i could see were black spots-
serves me right!

another thing- maybe cause i've lived here
for almost 6 weeks now, i've somehow changed
to look really Nepali or something cause
everyone is talking to me in Nepali!

it's really funny cause i was with this
English woman who speaks Nepali really well
and she was trying to tell the bus driver something
but he just ignored her and kept on asking me
what I wanted- poor woman!

but i am disgustingly tan- i love it!

okay, more news from me when i reach home

p/s pray for things to go well please,
i dont think i could take it if the airline
suddenly decides to cancel the flight!

Monday, July 20, 2009


i must be the sweatiest person ALIVE right now!!

just came back from the hottest place in the world
(okay, maybe i exaggerate too much!)- Pokhara
which is really beautiful, but it somehow feels like
it's 100 metres from the sun, cause yes-
it's THAT hot ):

but yeah it was great to breathe in clean air
and not hear any honks for a few days,
but it took 9 hours to get back cause there
were accidents along the way and everyone
is always so nosy about things like these!

and thank goodness, those 9 hours were
made enjoyable by the amazing sights around,
imagine lush green mountains everywhere and
you're driving down in the bus overlooking fields
and fields of emerald green- i was quite disappointed
that the bus didn't stop for any photo taking!

but the highlight of the trip was definitely
seeing the amazing peaks of the Himalayas.

seriously- WOW.

i got woken up at 5.30am on Saturday telling
me to look out my window and even without glasses,
my mouth just dropped!

Pokhara is surrounded by mountains already,
but cause it's quite cloudy at this time of the year
we didn't really know where to look and didn't
see anything amazing anyway, but in the morning
when the sky is all clear... wow.

honestly, behind the mountains surrounding us were
these large majestic snow-capped mountains
which were shrouded in wisps of clouds so it
looked quite mystical and surreal,
and then there were eagles just soaring around them,
honestly it was FLIPPIN amazing!

i took as many photos as possible,
but photos never do justice ):
and we toyed with the idea of paragliding over
the Himalayas as well, then decided that
it was too cloudy- so looks like I've to come back to
Nepal to do that!

i almost considered trekking but same to my senses!

and boy, during this weekend we met plenty of
weirdos- a guy who claimed to be one of the founding
fathers of Hare Krishna and was telling us all about it,
this Dutch fella who told us he was going down to
Pokhara to 'find some sistas' >.<

and everyone seems to like talking about religion,
which was quite hard for me cause i'm terrible
at talking about Christianity- and it was hard
to debate without sounding offensive but yet
stand my ground you know??

ok my head is spinning, i hvnt had food all day
+gotta go take a shower- more tomorrow!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

i'm taking a 7 hour journey bus ride tomorrow!

apparently the roads are crazy windy
and knowing the reckless bus drivers here,
it should make for an interesting trip!

i really don't think i'll ever complain
about Adam's driving again after this summer,
cause the all the bus drivers here seem to
have a secret passion for car racing or something,
because they are ridiculous at manoevering (sp?!)
their giant clunky buses- overtaking everyone
and always narrowly missing the poor
motorcyclists ):

but yes- i'm going to Pokhara,
which is where you can see all the mountains
(did you know that 8/10 of the highest peaks
in the world are in Nepal?!!)
so i'll be able to see the Annapurna range
if the weather's great but sadly not Everest!

can't wait to breathe clean air again yay!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

so i'm sitting here with mountains of work!

i have a stack of Science exercise books to mark,
one more Health exam paper to write up,
lesson plans for tomorrow to prepare,
and also i'll be doing assembly tomorrow!

teaching is real hard work!

but i'm glad to say that it's not a burden
or anything at all, because surprisingly-
i'm really enjoying teaching kids!

it's definitely a real lesson in patience
and the ability to be calm no matter what.
i was talking to the headmaster the other day
about how some kids will not stop talking
in my classes and he was telling me about
some of these kids' backgrounds and
it's really shocking ):

so i'm happy that the worst thing they're
doing is making too much noise in class,
which to be honest- was my problem when
i was a kid as well (which is probably still my problem now!)

but yeah- there's this boy in one of my classes
who's from a rough background and is
really brilliant but is always a bit spaced out
during class time and it was his birthday today
and the really cute thing was when i walked into
class today and he jumped up and pressed
a few sweets into my hand and gave me this
giant smile- apparently that's what they do on
their birthdays here! (:

and that small gesture just meant so much,
knowing what his family life is like ):

so i went home and bought him a Mars bar!

and these kids really have no idea what they're
talking about most of the time cause the stuff
in their books are just ridiculous!

today we were having a General Knowledge
class and it was filling in the blanks and my
13 year olds made me laugh so hard cause
they insisted that Marco Polo served the
famous Mongol Emperor, Victoria.

(okay, maybe you had to be there..)

let's hope teaching continues to go well
for the next month! (:

here's the photo i promised you!

here's some proof that I'm actually in Nepal!

this was taken on Sunday in front of the king's palace
(YES- it's salmon pink urrggh!)

with some of the guys from the Prayer Tower
and the white people you see are Interserve people
who I live with + Jeannette who coordinates us.


Monday, July 13, 2009


guess what?


to the bestest place in the world-
Malayyyyysia (:

it's gonna be awesome,
even though it's less than 2 weeks.

i'm gonna be home 25th July so

Saturday, July 11, 2009

i had the most awesomest day!

you see, kathmandu is really crazy-
it's busy, noisy and really polluted
but the rest of nepal is bathed in green
and is so peaceful and lovely (:

so today we went to this place called
the Prayer Tower, which is a 24/7 prayer room
and also a home for mentally/physically
handicapped people of all ages.

the house was built up up up the mountain
and the views were just breathtaking-
it was just vast fields of bright green everywhere
and in the horizon were unending mountains,
my words don't put justice to it.

and we attended their service and
hung out with them all day-
i brought balloons, which is always a
source of fun for people of all ages and
soon all the kids were jumping up and down
having so much fun playing (:

and what was amazing is that the guy who started
the place studied in Belfast Bible College!
seriously, NI is such a small place but
it seems like they are everywhere!

and instead of looking to funds/donations
like a lot of charities do here, they have planted
their own hydroponic herbs and vegetables
so that they are self-sufficient and it's just amazing
what's going on in that place (:

it's been a really tiring week,
i've just been really tired all the time
and teaching is getting a bit stressful but
i'm still enjoying it- i just need a short break!

and im 75% coming home.
just need to reconfirm and book my tickets
and HELLO MALAYSIA the best country in the world!
i am super super excited-
only thing is that mum+cas aren't going to be there
for 5 days while i'm home! ):
but hey, i'll take any time i get huh.

still setting exam papers and rereading all
the physics+chem textbooks,
i'm silently thankful that i've gone thru that
stage and never have to study them again.

and tomorrow i should be helping out
with bringing the Prayer Tower kids to
visit the King's Palace- sounds like an awesome day!

i hope you're doing well,
wherever you are!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

today, i was reminded of how Nepal
isn't the most peaceloving happy perfect place.

Now, there are bandhs (strikes) all the time
and they can be for anything, the people
seem to really like their protesting,
there are bandhs all over the country everyday.

so anyway, these are not peaceful protests,
all the schools/shops have to close because
there are people who will throw stones/burn
the place down if they know that it is open for business
and the really bad ones don't allow any vehicles
to operate at all- they have some people hired
at the side of the road armed with stones n stuff
so if they see a vehicle coming down the road,
that fella is pretty much dead ):

i've heard stories of them burning buses and all that,
it sounds really violent and incredibly unnecessary.

so today we were on a bus as usual to school
and suddenly the bus did a huge turnabout,
turns out a bandh was just called and we
all had to get off the bus and walk our remaining
journey, which thankfully wasn't too far from the school.

but as we got closer to the school there were
crowds everywhere and we could see a lot of
burning going on cause and lots of police
really geared up with their shields and guns.

and then suddenly, everyone started running
towards us and i got really panicked.
you know how action movies you always see those
shots when there's a giant monster coming or something
everyone just runs?

it was exactly like that so i was really
'oh crap, this is not good!!'
but we took the side roads and nothing
seemed to happen so i thought it was okay
and then again, people just started running
past me and i didn't know what was going on
so i started running for my life!

i was thinking the worst, maybe someone gunning
people down or worse- i don't know,
but for the first time in my life
i was running for dear life-
and to be honest,
i would've gotten gunned down if it
really happened cause i was crap!

so i ran and ran- not really sure from what
but then everything looked normal again
so i calmed down and everyone seemed to be okay
and i just hurried to the school just in case.

but phew that was a real moment of panic there
and thank goodness everything was okay!

so yes, Nepal is still a little crazy
but thankfully these bandhs don't happen
that seriously too often.

pray for peace!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

i LOVE my school!
honestly it's amazing (:

so today was Teacher's Day,
and it's basically a day dedicated to hardworking
selfless patient teachers everywhere
(and i'm technically a teacher for the summer,
so i got to reap all the benefits!)

but anyway the kida had been practising for ages
and they had this whole lineup for performances
and just their willingness to sing and dance is amazing!

i mean, the school only has about 140 kids
and there were so many performances that
each of them performed more than twice!
and i loved every minute of it.

even when out of the blue, they announced
'now is the time for Miss Samantha to
come and give us a speech!!!'

i really don't deal well with these things,
it was a terrible shock but i think i managed
to amuse the kids by speaking some
Nepali that i've learnt so far so everyone
laughed at how bad i was- which for me
is better than a boring speech anyday!

but yeah those kids love springing surprises
on their teachers, there were a lot of spontaneous
speeches today and all the teachers had to go up
and dance in front of the kids as well,
which they really loved.

and boy do these Nepali people love dancing!
once the teachers started they really got into it
and the kids started getting into it and at one point
the whole room was just chaos cause all the
kids starting dancing while the teachers
were in front doing the same!!

it was so much fun (:

and i'm really really loving this.

Monday, July 06, 2009

i've been a teacher for ten days,

and i've just been told i have to set
exam papers for all 5 of my classes!!!

that's 5 different years of science/chem/physics/general knowledge
papers to set, and most of the classes
i teach more than one subject!!

so that's going to be lots of fun.

but i guess there are perks too,
tomorrow's Teacher's Day- i dont think the
West celebrates this, it's the teacher's equivalent
to Father/Mother's Day (:

and finally, i'm not a student anymore
and get to be honoured as a 'real' teacher!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

what a crazy day!
like i've said before, Nepal is really
an adventure- it's always so surprising!

so woke up today to a text telling me that
this other guy from Queens- Steve,
(to those who know, it was steve barr)
who wanted to go to church so there
was a mad moment of arranging how to meet up
thru facebook and texting
(both UK numbers- i'm going to be broke!)
and when it finally happened,
it was really nice seeing a familiar face.

after church Jeannette brought Catherine
and I to my first venture outside of Kathmandu
into this Newari village called Bungamati
which is basically a farming village and
it was SOOO nice getting out of that crazy
honking dusty noisy place that is the city
and into the quiet real Nepal.

and because I didn't expect this,
i thought we'd be looking at museums or
temples or something like that i was
still wearing my church clothes-
a proper skirt and nice shoes and everything
and they decided to go tramping across the rice paddy field!

so off we went, both of them appropriately dressed
and walking without fear and me tagging behind,
jumping from stone to stone above the
mud in fear that i would fall into the
paddy plants- you know how incredibly clumsy i am!

there were huge fields of paddy plants
so we walked about and i saw a few
Newari farmer women sitting down to have their
lunch so i walked over to see whether i could get
a photograph of them, and to my surprise
they whipped out an extra plate and heaped it
with typical Newari food and made us
all sit down and have lunch together.

it was seriously amazing,
eating with these people smack bang
in the middle of the paddy fields looking
at the acres and acres of greenery around.

and you know what they drink?!!
this alcoholic beverage that is almost 100% alcohol.
they kept asking us to try some,
but it smelled so strong even from a few metres away
i had to refuse.

i have no idea how they work in the
fields properly with that much alco
in their system!

so yeah, then we walked all the way back in the rain.
took lots of photos but
typical samantha tan, brought the flipping
wrong cable all the way to nepal!!
you just have to rely on words for now.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

what a crazy day.

as usual in Nepal,
anything can and will happen very unexpectedly.

so today I found out that I live 2 minutes
away from Kathmandu Vineyard,
which is a sister church to the one I go to Belfast!
so yay it was a Nepali service but really nice.
a lot of the songs were actually the Vineyard
english songs that have been translated and
the worship team were made up of street kids that
were rescued and now live in a home run by the church.

so that was pretty cool and they were asking if
anyone had this particular illness or health problem
to come up to be prayed for- and pretty much the whole
church went up to the front and cause the prayer
ministry team was so overwhelmed they called
us by name to go up and be part of the prayer team!

it was weird praying for Nepali people who
prolly had no clue what I was saying!
but oh well, God understands and that's all that matters (:

so we went on to Pashapati after,
which is this group of temples and this is where
the Hindus cremate their dead family members and
wash their ashes into the Bagmati river,
which as a result is terribly horribly dirty.

we arrived right at the time where this family just
laid their dead grandfather by the river
and started the ritual so we sat down and watched
for an hour or so, it was really sad seeing the family
say their last goodbyes and torch the body.

I've never been to a funeral before so I've
never really experienced firsthand just that emotion
and atmosphere of grief ):

it actually felt like i was intruding but it was just this
big open space next to the river and there were
random people just sitting about while the
family were mourning and it seemed like such a private moment.

it must be so hard to see the face you're so familiar
with being consumed by flames.

so yeah, weird long hot day.
i'm visiting a Newari village tomorrow,
which is apparently going to be really Nepal-like
cause everyone says Kathmandu is too westernised.

i'm trying to upload photos, we'll see how that goes!

Friday, July 03, 2009

i am forever grateful to the amazing+
incredibly generous friend that is Adam Milne!



yes, he drove from Newry>> Belfast
to get dear old Nathan the clunky noisy unreliable computer
and gave it to Catherine who had to lug it all the way!

(catherine's from NI and will be working in the same school)

and then I had a fright cause it wouldn't work
with the wireless and had to bring it over
to the International school for the IT guys
to look over which took an hour and finally,
the glorious moment arrived where I could
finally finally get Internet in my room!!!

oh how I took things for granted.

on the sick front: it's hard getting better with the terrible
polluted air over here, so i've been getting
worse and worse actually-
it got so bad on tuesday, i woke up with
burning eyes and just lots of heat
emanating from my body so I left work
after 2 periods and came home to sleep
but I couldn't cause I was coughing too much.

it's been a pattern lately with the night coughing,
it's annoying but it's easier to deal with than
the swollen gums in Week 1 so i'm not going to complain.

anyway going to see some sights this week with Catherine here
so I won't look so touristy- going to some place
where they cremate dead bodies (which is apparently
some great big tourist attraction- WHY?!)
and some temply places, which is pretty much
all of Nepal cause temples/worshippy placesĀ 
seem to be everywhere- and they all have intricate
woodwork and stuff like that which really remind
me of my parents.

also, this week I finally got my kurtasuruwal made,
my beautiful Nepali outfit that is so loose
it's like wearing pajamas all day
(which is my ultimate dream) so I'm very happy
and hoping to buy a few more to wear everyday!

expect more updates now!