After a fair amount of wondering ‘what’s next?’, waffling around potential options and beginning to feel the first hints of restlessness, I’m happy that volunteering at a small orphanage here is going to work out and will start soon.  So far details are totally unconfirmed, but I’m sure I’ll have plenty to blog about there soon.

I haven’t taken a photo in five days.  It’s an incredible feeling to get to exist in this beautiful lakeside town at the base of the Annapurna range for enough time that I stopped feeling the pressure to document it.  It’s similar to hiking well-loved trails in the Columbia River Gorge or visiting Multnomah Falls, where I’ve already captured all of the expected photos and can instead wander around without subconsciously thinking of my iPhone.  

It’s freeing to wander this incredibly photogenic place and appreciate the unique beauty for it’s own sake, in that moment, rather than giving into my natural instinct which involves more Instagramming than I’m proud of.
The things I’m not photographing:
A few hours kayaking alone on glassy Fewa Lake while the sun set and the jagged Fish Tail peak above turned from white to fiery pink and faded back to white.  There were osprey-like birds diving for tiny fish around me, clusters of floating lily pads that hosted a miniature explosion of biodiversity and a flock of egrets flying in formation low enough over me that I could hear the wind in their feathers.  
Watching weavers magically turn thousands of colored threads into cashmere scarves while casually yawning and chatting with other women.
Spicy masala milk tea with a scoop of brown sugar that’s replaced my black coffee morning habit, and a new, colorful curry dish each day.  Deep fried yak cheese balls, muesli & curd, and an unhealthy number of banana lassis.  Discovering tongba- an awesome beer-esque beverage of fermented millet, served hot in metal containers, but realizing that the one thing I miss from home is a good, hoppy IPA.
Reading the latest National Geographic on the balcony on a warm, lazy afternoon and wondering which of the colorful paragliders above me is Max.  Having a fuzzy fellow around who makes this distant town feel like home and enjoys sharing an exciting scooter ride through the mountains or quietly listening to a RadioLab podcast together while it rains outside.
A photo wouldn’t do justice to “my” alley where I feel more like a local than I did in Portland- where shopkeepers turned friends invite me in for tea and curiosity and friendliness override language barriers.  
Getting to feel a tiny bit grateful for this minor knee injury for really forcing me to slow down for what feels like the first time in my life.  Having time to reflect and read and journal and enjoy conversations for their own sake.
I’m also not photographing the scene of sudden diarrhea at 2am, scrabbling around for the Immodium, praying I’ve got enough toilet paper to make it until the store opens and wondering which banana lassi I can blame. 
(Okay fine, I took this picture.)