Exploring colors through interactive children's picture books!

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Our Family’s Transition from Nepal to New Zealand

Transition is tough.  Our transition as a family of 5 moving from Nepal to New Zealand has been tough.  But it has also been refreshing.

Two months on the family farm out in the wop wops (some NZ lingo for the middle of nowhere!) was fantastic.  Reconnecting with Ben’s family– his mother celebrated her 81st birthday!, the kids rode ponies and motorbikes with their cousins–was full on family fun.  Three years is a long time to be away from family, but oh how we appreciate these days living ‘next door’!

We were emotionally struggling when we first came home.  The transition, the earthquake that devastated Nepal, re-adapting to NZ, etc.  We just need rest, a full stop.  And we received it in the beautiful rolling hills of the family sheep farm.

NZ Sheep Farm

Our Home on the Farm

We also went to a special week of debriefing.  It was incredible just to let the words bundled up in our hearts spill out.  It was safe, it was freeing, it was restoring. We were ready to move on from Nepal and establish ourselves in NZ.

About three weeks ago we moved to “town”.  Living with family was terrific, but we needed something to call our own, something to ground us here in NZ. A nest!  Finding the perfect house for the perfect price in the right neighborhood was  miracle–we feel loved!

The kids have started school.  It was harder for the homeschooling mom than them, I think! They are sick at home this week so I am catching up all the cuddles and quality time, while blowing noses and rubbing vicks on everyone.

And here we are, in New Zealand.

After three months, I finally feel settled.  Our nest is home.  We have a daily routine, we each have our roles and responsibilities and we are moving forward.  So the question is…

Is it time for the My Color Friends children’s book series to live again…?

I was shocked when my son’s preschool teacher asked me if I was still writing books.  I just stammered, “Maybe when we get settled…”

And then she added, “You should keep writing them, they are good.”

I blew off her comments then, ducked my head and ducked out of the class…but later it really did hit me.  Someone actually has read my books! Some one I didn’t know til just now.  Someone in NZ.  A professional in early childhood education and SHE values my early learning ebooks!  Wow.  Encouragement has filled my heart.

I just said I am settled, didn’t I?  So, maybe it’s time to start writing again.  I do have some ideas, I do have the time, I always have my family’s support.  Deep breath, I might be able to do it!  I am struggling with the idea of reinventing myself for a NZ audience or not…One step at a time.

Catch up with the blog, CHECK!

Update my author photo on a million sites, CHECK!

Update Graceful Grey for a Special New Zealand Edition and get it ready to print, CHECK!

It seems the My Color Friends book series is moving forward too!

Thanks for  journeying with me!

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Inevitable Change

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Change is coming, quite quickly in fact, and I want progress to follow.

On April 12, 2015 we will nation hop (as we do).  We will close the Nepal chapter and open another chapter in New Zealand.  We have been blessed to live in Nepal for almost 5 years.  It is the only home my children know.  But our work is done, for now.  This isn’t an easy change, but it is a welcome one.

Living in Nepal has been adventurous, challenging and inspirational.  It has been worth it, but change is inevitable and often necessary!

New Zealand’s green rolling hills are calling for us to come home and rest.  We need rest.  So we will return to my husband’s side of the family, our NZ heritage, for a year, or two and rest.  And grow.  And progress.

I do want to continue down this path of writing, exploring and creating.  I know NZ all be another place of life-giving  inspiration.  I am excited!

Living in NZ will also have it’s challenges, but together we will continue to walk forward.  Together we write more chapters in our life story.

Thanks for being a part of our story!

 

Insider Tips: Pokhara, Nepal

Last week we toured around Pokhara with my brother from the states.  With a few lucky finds, I finally felt we actually gave him the best of Pokhara.  2 years of scouting out restaurants, guest houses and entertainment have finally paid off!

Our family friendly tips for your visit to Pokhara, Nepal:

Tip #1: Accommodation

Look no further than The Butterfly Lodge, located near Helen chow, Lakeside.  We have stayed in too many dives down there looking for a deal…we were guided by a friend and found this luxury stay for a sweet deal–$10-15 per room!  Why we loved it:

1. Spacious–our room had a queen bed and a single bed, big enough for our family of 5 and there was a nook for the kids to play in.  The room also had a western style closet and a couch; outside we had a table and chairs for our family as well. Tip: The bottom floor rooms are the best deal.

2. The garden equipped with tables, chairs, lounge chairs, 2 metal swings and lots of room to run, we didn’t have to leave the hotel grounds to entertain our kids!

Butterfly Lodge Bathroom

3. Bathroom–Hot water on tap! Don’t expect hot water anywhere you go in Nepal, even if it is promised.  Most guesthouses that brag about hot water usually have a solar panel on their roof–which is great but it is first come first serve when it comes to hot water.

And this is the first place we have ever found that had a shower curtain between the open space for showering and the toilet.  Keeping the bathroom dry is another thing we in the west take completely for granted. It is my husband’s worst pet peeve about Asia–but The Butterfly Lodge’s shower curtain sold my husband at first glance!

4. Inexpensive and for a Good Cause. $10 for a luxury room can’t be found anywhere else.  And The Butterfly Lodge uses it’s proceeds to run a day care center in Lakeside called the Butterfly Foundation.  Beautiful kids and a lovely way to give back to the community. Tip: Take your kids to play on their super fun playground!  It’s only a small walk up the same street. Our kids visited the day care center every day to play!

Tip #2: Where to Eat in Lakeside:

1. Mike’s is the renowned breakfast favorite! Waffles! Breakfast burritos!  Do I need to say more?  Located by the Fish Hatchery on the waterfront, you can sit by the lake and enjoy your meal day or night.  Tip: Mike’s in open EARLY! This is real bonus considering most places in Nepal don’t open til 10 am, even in the tourist area of Lakeside.  They also have amazing wait staff that speak English.

2. MoonDance, across from the Palace, is our absolute family favorite.  2 items of the menu make our mouths water: the real chicken strips and the Greek salad!  Although you may pennies more per meal, it is worth the quality and care in preparation and flavor!  Tip: Lounge upstairs on their couches for more room for the kiddos!

3. We choose Everest Steak House for inexpensive for huge portions of meat!

4. Boomerang in the center of the strip, has a family friendly playground.  We loiter there often sipping on a coke and treating ourselves to ice cream while the kids play!

Tip #3: Family Fun

World Pagoda in Pokhara Nepal

1. World Peace Pagoda It has an amazing view of the mountains! Tip: Drive or walk up past the peace pagoda until you see a small wall and “parking”, from there you can easily walk over to the Peace Pagoda on the far side, sparing yourself from a thousand steps carrying your toddlers.

2. Devi Falls is great from above during the wet season, and great from below during the dry season.  You can walk down steps to the internal cave of the waterfall.  Tip: Skip the downstairs with the kids, it’s hot, humid and a looong walk, but enjoy the garden above!

3. Boating! Our family favorite is to hire a pontoon on Fewa Lake and happily cruise around in the peace and quiet. The big pontoons come with  sun shades and are big enough for the kids to safely move and not get bored.  You can also hire some one to pedal the boat for you.  Tip: If the crowd is being to bug you, the middle of the lake is the best place to be away from it all!

4. Our new family favorite BowlBowling at Bhat Bhateni!  We just discovered the kid friendly bowling place and arcade at the bottom floor of Bhat Bhateni, located on New Road in Mahindra Pol.  A taxi can easily take you to BB for about 300R. Filled with arcade fun, tokens cost 10R each, the kids will be able to play for hours (at least ours did!). Tip: BB is a western style grocery store, so do your shopping there too!

5. Cha Cha Wee a local fun place located behind the airport is also a great place to your kids! There is a large playground suited for ages 1-5 that only costs 30R! There is a wading pool for about 200R per person and a few carnival rides for bigger kids. There is also a restaurant. Tip: Go on a school day (Sun-Thurs) to avoid large groups of kids.

6. Last by not least is the educational and funky Mountain Museum. It is also a fun half day adventure for the whole family located behind the airport.  In Nepal, kids are welcome everywhere, they can even may noise! So don’t be put off because it is a museum, it is a welcome place for the young and old alike.  Entrance is 300R, kids are free. Tip: The restaurant on site is economical and has great snacks.  Eat, avoid sugar crashes and keep the kids happy : ).

We hope you find these tips and highlights helpful as you live, love and learn in Nepal!

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NEW Online Application for Nepal Visa Extensions and Renewals

NEW Online Application for Nepal Visa Extensions and Renewals

A friend and I just spent 48 hours in KTM renewing her tourist visa for another 6 weeks!  We vaguely new the Nepal Immigration office had moved, so as I was searching for the new location a very important notice popped up: Notice To Foreigners…all visa extensions are now online…as of February 1, 2014. We then applied online and waited to see what would happen next.  We promptly received an email and were told to go to the immigration office with cash    : ).

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With our confirmation number in hand, we went to the new streamlined immigration department.  Seamless. We quickly had a new stamp in her passport and were on our way.

As for the other 25 tourists that had not stumbled on is notice…flustered each had to find a way online (the department does have a machine, but it also had a long line) and start the whole process over.  A little bit of research goes a long way!  But I am also not sure how well it is publicized that Nepal has finally entered the 21 century and with their new online visa applications.  So here I am to spread the good news!  Come one and all, fill out your online application today and enjoy your stay!

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Reflecting on New Zealand

Reflecting on New Zealand

Gorgeous and wonderful New Zealand is the perfect backdrop for a psalm from a shepherd, Pslam 23.  The rolling hills from the family farm is the main inspiration, but NZ top to bottom is beautiful and inspiring.  Join us on a peaceful journey through NZ and the Psalm of a shepherd.

Psalm 23 in New Zealand and the Nations by S. L. poulton is now available on Amazon.com.

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Random Book Sales Makes My Heart Happy

Random Book Sales Makes My Heart Happy

In so many ways.

Recently on Amazon and CreateSpace, random sales on my book, On Safari in Etosha National Park, Namibia: My Color Friends: Book 5 had made me extremely happy!  This is my needle in a haystack that is actually being found. Random, I know.

Life’s too busy to promo, honestly, so all I have on my side is random google and Amazon searches.  I self-published wishing and praying that some one out there in the world wide web would stumble upon me and buy my book.  I think I was only half aware of the size of the haystack at the time, but nonetheless, I trusted in randomness.

Now, the creation of On Safari in Etosha National Park, Namibia…is divinely inspired.  It doesn’t fit the others in the series (whoops!), it is RANDOM.  But I felt I had to write it.  I was compelled and pushed to write and do it quickly…and as it turns out, it more sellable than the others.  I hoped and wished it would be, since it is based on 1 specific location, a quite famous location that actually attracts a bit of interest!  

Etosha National Park is an amazing place!  And we were so blessed to be able to go there when we were kid free  : ).  No crazy amounts of luggage or snacks, just us, the quiet, nature and our camera. (Sometimes I do miss those days, the quiet!). 

Anyway, I don’t stalk my sales, because I haven’t the time (and have mostly given up), but the other day when I popped onto CreateSpace, there was a dollar amount in my homepage.  Blown away I ran to my husband and said something along the lines “Someone from outside my family actually bought the book–more than 1!”  He had to see the proof, but when he did, two hearts were happy.

I hope the randomness continues : )

 

Chitwan Elephant Festival, Nepal

Happy New Year!

There are some perks living in Asia, and being close to elephants is definitely one of them! This was our third annual  visit to the Chitwan Elephant Festival in Chitwan, Nepal.  It was an amazing up close and personal fun time with elephants.

The Elephant Festival begins the day after Christmas every year. Click here for more details: Chitwan Elephant Festival

Day 1:

First, we were greeted by an elephant parade:

Then we went to the fair grounds and watched the elephant’s soccer match and races.  We had VIP seating in the middle of the action, all for $2 a seat, can’t beat that!

Day 2: How do you stop a charging elephant?

We awoke to the early morning mist, had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, then went to the Elephant Breeding Center! They have had 3 babies born this year alone and the place was full of all the two years (the same who were playing soccer). We were told that most of the adults were out in the jungle searching for poachers. Every elephant has it’s job.

Unfortunately no one told us just how naughty the baby elephants could be! There were two open areas in the fence and we were casually going in and out to pet the little beasts. The momma’s are chained to a post, so we felt safe.  But when one little cheeky elephant wanted to play with our toddler in his umbrella stroller, he fully came around the fence and charged our son–both my husband and I promptly stepped in between our son and the elephant, leaving us stuck in the middle.  Baby elephants are big and strong!  A Nepali guide came to our rescue and helped us pull our kids to safety while another trainer came over and shooed the elephant back behind the fence, the completely incompetent fence!

Just a little excitement to get our blood going first thing in the morning!

Then we decided to drive ourselves through the jungle–that was fun! We paid for a permit of course and headed out to 20,000 Lakes.  We saw:

We enjoyed our jaunt through the jungle at our own pace!  We kept driving to the next town, had lunch and did some exploring.  We came home in time to watch the sun set over the Rapiti River. Beautiful!

Day 3:

We had along sleep in, enjoyed our gorgeous BB, went shopping and let the kids run wild in KC Restaurant’s garden (our new favorite place to hang out!).

With hammock, swing and lots of room to run, KC’s Restaurant is the most kid friendly place we have found!  Check it out: KC’s

Then we picked up a friend and headed home, 1 hour and half to Hetuada. Since it was Saturday, there was barely any traffic so we just cruised.  Most of us fell asleep on the way home.

Another beautiful holiday in Chitwan National Park.  More pictures for future educational children’s books. 

A family fun holiday that I would encourage you to attend next time you’re in Nepal around Christmas! : )

Read all about the Elephant Festival and learn about Asian elephants in Graceful Grey, Asian Elephants at Work and Play by S. L. Poulton! Now available for Nook, iBooks and more! Click here for Graceful Grey on Kindle!

Graceful Grey Elephants at Work and Play in Chitwan Nepal ebook for Kids!

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