Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Life is Stranger and More Beautiful" than you ever imagined

As I'm relaxing on my "luxurious" couch this morning while my almost 3-year old plays happily in the living room, classical music softly playing in the background, a candle burning, heat blasting, kitty snoozing and our new fish swimming lazily around his tank, I got to thinking... Wow, this beautiful, sweet natured child, who was unwanted/or unable to be kept by his Nepali mom, so much that she had to risk her life and abandon him in the night, leave him behind and run away, scared, sad, disgraced.... and her nightmare, her darkest moment, unbeknownst to her, becomes my brightest moment, my dream.  Because of her bravery and hardship, her agony and suffering, he is alive and loved.  He is thriving, smiling, laughing, playing, learning, growing, talking, and making not only me, but SO MANY people smile, and marvel at the strange and mysterious workings of the world, and begin to understand the beauty of adoption.

A Leavenworth tradition, Empty Bowls. Paint a bowl, and then it gets fired,  When you pick it up, you can fill it with soup donated by the community restaurants.  Big social event and all proceeds go to local charity. Pukar paints his first bowl!
The days have been flying by with social outings and quiet at home time.  We have skied a lot, almost every day, taken many hot-tubs, shared many meals and lots of peaceful nights.  He is very social and seems to love people and other children.  I am transitioning him to his pre-school and he loves it there too.  He will also stay with a friend and her little boy one day a week, while I work three.  I will most likely be selling my condo to get out of debt, and plan to put some money in his college fund and rent while I recover from all the financial obligations of adoption and 4 months without income while living abroad and fighting the US Gov't to prove he was an orphan.  I'm OK with all that.  It will all work always has worked out for me, one way or another.  I'm at peace.

The main thing is we are happy.  We are truly happy.  

The full quote used in the title of this post: 
Looking at the people, listening to the breathing, heaving, laughing, struggling music of the slum, all around me, I remembered one of Khaderbhai's favourite phrases. Every human heartbeat, he'd said many times, is a universe of possibilities. And it seemed to me that I finally understood exactly what he'd meant. He'd been trying to tell me that every human will has the power to transform its fate. I'd always thought that fate was something unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of the stars. But I suddenly realised that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that, no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love.
Shantaram: Gregory David Roberts 

 ...a single thought or a single act of love...  I have always LOVED this quote, but never has it been more powerful or more poignant.  Think about it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fresh Air, Clean Pani

Jenni, Pukar and Steve
Here we are skate skiing out my back door!  Pukar LOVES being in the sled and having mommy pull him.  He also loves downhill sledding, hot-tubbing, hot chocolate with fresh whip cream, warm banana bread, his great ski outfit, new home, soft bed, all the attention and all the toys!!!  He's a super social little boy, and is friendly with everyone.  He had had almost zero problems adjusting to being in America, and in fact it feels better than it ever has being his mommy.  We are having so much fun!  I wish that work didn't have to come into the picture as I am just loving being a stay-at-home mom and enjoying all this stress-free time with my little guy.  His English is getting better and better, and everyone is impressed with how much he already knows.  We have been pretty social because of his ease with people and the move, so I have spent many nights at friends houses having dinner and socializing with other kids.  We have visited his new pre-school, Mountain Sprouts, and he loved it, which I don't blame him it's so darn cool.  We also visited Lisi and her llama farm and he didn't want to leave.  We've had a great time with my boyfriend Steve and his kids Ellie and Lucas, and he talks about them every day, and we got a new fish, named Tiger who is bright red male betta.  He has so many Aunties who he loves, especially his Auntie Bird (who is a dear male friend of mine) and his Auntie Joy, who I'm sure he remembers from Nepal.  Life is good.  Really, really good. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Home Sweet Home

It's better than I thought it would be.  It really, truly is.  It's raining on snow and it's awesome.  Every breath, every moment of peace, every ounce of tap water is pure luxury. 

Here is something I wrote to some of my friends tonight who welcomed me home by not only filling my house with food, and baby clothes and gifts, but throwing me a lovely party:

It is really awesome to be home to say the least.  I am still in a weird place between disbelief and relief.  I still wake up wondering where I am.  Clay said something interesting to me in that 3 months (for him, 'us')  flew by, while he wondered how it felt for me.  It got me thinking that it feels like I have been gone for over a year, like some kind of soldier at war, who just went through this harrowing experience that is hard to convey to anyone who hasn't been there.  It feels like I have been in some kind of time warp dream.  The last 3 1/2 months was such a long, long, long time it's unreal.  Even your children all look a year older, with the exception of the babies! :-)  (Of course all of you look as young and glamorous as ever!!! :-)))  It wasn't that the days even dragged by because thankfully, they didn't.  But something about the experience makes it seem far longer than even the time that it took to get me home.  The stress is still in my body, though I know I am starting to unwind I can feel the adrenaline, or whatever it is that keeps one in fight of flight mode, still in my veins.  I'm ready.  But at the same time I'm relaxing into the luxuriousness called home.  

And there's also a part of me that is blocking it out somewhat.  I normally like to be very reminiscent about my trips, but this one is not like that.  I don't want to hold on to the memories, though I do want to hold on the perspective it has given me.  The gratitude for living here, and all the incredible luxuries we are afforded simply by being born into this country.  Even the food here looks and tastes luxurious.  And certainly the air and water are insane privileges.

And then there is the sweetness of being able to stay in Nepal with my son.  The bonding that took place. and how the time we had together there has paved the way for him to transition easily to here, to not be traumatized, and to feel safe.  And along with that comes the generosity I experienced... just the mere fact  that I was ABLE to live in Nepal for so long without financial concerns because this community held me up.  Unreal.  So in the end lies the beauty of this experience...which of course I see and understand. That will eventually outweigh all hard times and struggles of being in Nepal under such intense conditions. 

Gratitude always wins.   It's just really, really, really good to be home.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Close Enough to Call it hOMe

We landed today as planned at Sea-Tac International Airport!!!!  Immigration was only mildly annoying but there were no problems with any paperwork or getting Pukar in.  He is officially a US Citizen now, but I believe there is a few more paperwork loose ends to tie up.  The stress is finally over. 

Pukar was a little star on the entire flight, pretty much loved it, and is adjusting to his new surroundings remarkably well.  We are still in Seattle, there's a snowstorm tonight, and close family and friends that I need to see, then onward to L-town.   This is close enough to call home.  We made it.  Holy cow dung, we really made it.  Still dazed, but so, so, so happy to just be in a safe and sane place with my child.  There's an ease to being in 'America' (as they like to call it in Nepal), and I am in huge appreciation of My American Life. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Middle Earth

bye bye Kathmandu
I was writing an email to my girlfriends in Leavenworth and described my state as Middle Earth.  It seems very fitting.  Somewhere in between where I loath to be and where I long to be.  I am in S. Korea...all day.  We spent the night in the airport hotel and now are spending the day here, walking around the airport and looking at "PLANES"!!!  He LOVES planes.  Last night when we got off the plane he almost cried cause it was over.  Pretty cute.  Really cute.

I am the most exhausted I have ever felt in my entire life.   It is if every ounce of energy I had has been squeezed from me and I am using the last of my strength to get us home.  Strength and some sort of fierceness.  I guess that's all I've got.  It's very, very strange.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Wow.  Today finally arrived.  I walked out of the US Embassy at a little after 2pm Nepali time with a VISA in hand, and all my immigration documents.  What a happy, happy, happy, happy, happy moment.  It really does feel like some sort of surreal miracle.  We are going to celebrate at my favorite little coffee shop with a banana lassi for Pukar and something yummy for mommy.   I've dreamed of this moment for a long, long time.  Holy cow, Ganesha, the obstacles have finally been removed and the light is green.  I'M COMING HOME!  I'M REALLY COMING HOME!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lying Awake and Realizations

As I was lying awake at 2am last night, which seems to be my usual pattern as of late, I realized what a total leap of faith this whole experience has been, and what a beautiful outcome has blossomed from what seemed like a dark, deep, hole to who-knows-where.

I have long been a believer that if we make a decision from our heart, and keep our focus on'the highest possible outcome'  (not even knowing what that might look like) rather than the 'hows' (how is this possible, how am I going to do this, how will I survive, how how how), then the beauty can unfold, and the miracles that are possible can happen.  It's our own need to control everything, that keeps us from being able to plug into what I call in my yoga class, 'the flow'.  And when we miss 'the flow', we cut ourselves short of the most profound and magnificent life experiences.

Though I have put this theory to the test numerous times throughout my life, this has the be the highest leap off a proverbial cliff that I have ever taken.   From this leap, so many incredibly inspirational and unexpected things have come forth, and I will be ever in awe of this experience.

All that being said, it took HUGE strength on my part to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I had to show that I was putting forth intention and that I was committed to all of this.  The ball was in my court and I had to start it rolling.  That I did faithfully. 

Thank you to ALL of you.  It seems that it took a community to bring this child home, and I know that it was a collective effort that allowed me to do what I did.  I let your prayers, thoughts, and support carry me when I was down, your incredible donations take some of the stress off of the financial burden, and tried to keep my focus always in each day, and doing the best I could with what I had in front of me.  There were huge peaks and steep, treacharous valleys, but WE did it.  Yes, WE did it.

"Don't try to steer the river."
Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Secret to Not Losing Weight In a Developing Country


I've been wanting to post this for a while... it's all about sugar intake.  I was withering away and then I decided eating chocolate was a good idea... and man, it works!!  I think I plumped right back up!  And it hasn't been the diet I'm on here... I just don't eat enough... I can't!  The food just isn't that good.  So my friends, if you are wanting to lose a few pounds, just leave the sugar alone and I'm telling you, it'll melt off.  And if you are looking for a little extra flesh on your bones, sugar is your answer! haha!

Me?  I'll get off the chocolate when I land back on US soil with my kid safely in my arms.  Until then, bring on the chocolate!!!


I paid at window 11 for my Visa today.   Yeah, window 11!  All that worrying for not.  It was a formality.  I had to produce all the forms and documents and getting my taxes was no easy task... it took me no less that 6 tries at different places to find a internet cafe that would recognize my flashdrive, and had power, and had a printer...that was functioning.  I was muttering to myself how OVER Nepal I was.   But in the end, nice people behind the glass asked me questions that I answered politely.  I handed over all the right paperwork and the right sized pictures and the right amount of money, and lo and behold, they said, "Congratulations Miss Lund.  See you Friday to pick up your Visa."

Get's not over til it's over ... the final final word comes from US Immigration at the border.  They could literally turn us away if they wanted.   Though not common in adoptions.  Still.  The hoops seem to never end.  However, in my case, once he passes through immigration, he is legally a US Citizen.  Yep.  Pretty cool.

My Note from the Universe today:

Yeah, Jenni, I know it seems that your emotions arise from circumstances, even though it works the other way around. And this is kind of scary because sometimes they literally seem to overrun you.

But I also know that most of the time they don't, which is all the leverage you need.

Just feel good when you can; it'll always be enough.

Can you feel me, now?
    The Universe

The game is rigged in your favor, Jenni.

Looks like we DID IT!!!  YEAH!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Interview

Pukar's earliest photo
So the final BIG hoop I have to jump through is The Interview, which is tomorrow at 3:30 at the US Embassy in Kathmandu.  I hope I can sleep.  I've been nervous about it... it requires a lot of documents, and I don't know what else.  It requires my tax return which I didn't bring and had to bother my dear business partner Marion and her husband Zack for at the end of their day and they graciously went to the office and scanned 44 pages into the computer for me, so that I could stop stressing.  My accountant could of sent it but insisted that it was included in the 8 pages they sent me.  Not possible, so rather than argue I decided to just get er done.  My usual MO.  That's why I'm here... 3rd to go home in a line of 56... I hope.  There's still The Interview.  Let you know how it goes tomorrow!  I could walk away from The Interview with a visa in my pocket.  This is a possibility, and this possibility is VERY exciting!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another Seattle Times Article

Parents Caught in Adoption Dispute

Scenes from Chitwan

I couldn't stand the thought of leaving Nepal and not having visited the Chitwan Jungle Reserve.  I enjoyed it so much so many years ago with Diana and have fond memories of the hati's (elephants) bathing in the river alongside the hotel, and peaceful, lazy days in the warm sun of the Terai.  

It has changed quite a bit as you can imagine.  The river is no longer where it used to be as floods have created a new pathway taking it further away.  Though the hati's still walk down the street, the street is much busier, though relatively peaceful by comparison to Kathmandu.  It is still dirt and full of potholes...thankfully.  The hotel I stayed at so long ago with a beautiful river view is now full of trees and so far from the river is hard to imagine that it was once so open and so well situated.

Pukar enjoyed the whole experience more than I did.  In fact Pukar was thrilled most of the time, which was really fun and really cute.  For me, it's always hard to go back somewhere and have it feel more overrun and touristy in a way that isn't nearly as cool as it was 13 years ago. There was even a bridge built over the river that we used to have to drive through to even get to Sauraha, the town.  That in itself brings in much more traffic.

Nonetheless, riding elephants and seeing rhinos while strolling along the riverbank at sunset is thrilling.  Enjoy the photos.  

Chilling at the Jungle Lodge

Pukar and his new backpack

A real puppy to love...this was one of his favorite pastimes.

Pukar and the Hati

Sitting Pretty

Rhinos in the Jungle atop the Elephant.  I missed the photo op by the river at sunset when I was walking. Pretty wild looking.

Elephant Scenery

Just very picturesque

Mommy and Pukar atop our Hati!

Elephant safari

Pukar in his dugout canoe

Croc filled waters...though we didn't see any due to too many clouds that day

Elephant Breeding Camp

Baby Hati...probably 8 years old.  They live to be 60-80 +years I was told

Working Hati...the smoke you see is little piles they burn to keep the mosquitoes off the elephants

Elephant keepers downtime

Like momma like baby, trunks in unison

Little guy venturing off

Scenes from an outdoor kitchen and washroom
Dining room

The blur of the Tharu people as we pass by in the jeep