Category Archives: Uncategorized

The word matra.


This post is in response to a google search that brought someone looking for the word Matra. I believe this word means source lists matra as the word for “only”. Another use of the word is matrai, but I don’t fully understand the difference between the two. 


Collectivist vs. Individual? Guess I’m both.


This self-assessment estimates your level of individualism and collectivism. At one time, experts thought that these two cross-cross-cultural values were opposites. Now, we understand that they represent separate values that are generally unrelated to each other. Each scale has a potential score ranging from 8 to 40 points. Higher scores indicate that the person has a higher level of each cross-cultural value.

8 40

Your score was 31. The range of possible scores is from 8 to 40.

Individualism refers to the extent that you value independence and personal uniqueness. Highly individualist people value personal freedom, self-sufficiency, control over their own lives, and appreciation of their unique qualities that distinguish them from others. The following graph shows the range of individualism in general. However, keep in mind that the average level of individualism is higher in some cultures (such as Canada) than in others.

8 40

Your score was 35. The range of possible scores is from 8 to 40.

Collectivism refers to the extent that we value our duty to groups to which we belong, and to group harmony. Highly collectivist people define themselves by their group membership and value harmonious relationships within those groups. The following graph shows the range of collectivism in general. However, keep in mind that the average level of collectivism is lower in some cultures (such as Canada) than in others.


the test can be found here:

My New Baba


When I moved to my new and present home, I left my family behind. My daughter came with me and without her, I wouldn’t have moved. Shiva was already here and I moved in most part for him. However, my mother, father, step-parents, four siblings, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins all remained 3000 or so miles away. I was most worried about my daughter growing up without those family roles present in her life. 

But the Universe delivered us a new baba (grandmother in Bulgarian). Our nextdoor apartment neighbors are from Bulgaria and have a daughter very near in age to my daughter. Natural playmates, although there are some communication breakdowns. They have only been speaking Bulgarian in their home in order to ensure their daughter learns the language fluently. She hasn’t been to formal school yet and has only picked up English from leaving the home and be exposed through other friends. Her English is definitely a little broken. 

My daughter has no qualms with this as last year we lived with a woman from China and her four year old. Her four year old hadn’t ever spoken English before coming to the US and somehow my daughter and her’s figured out how to communicate while speaking two different languages. 

Today, I was able to experience one of those conversations. I was outside watering my plants on the balcony we share with our neighbors and Baba was outside.Baba was sweeping and pouring water all over the ground. I smiled and kept on watering and then she started talking to me. It was in Bulgarian but she gestured to the chalk art all over the balcony floor. She kept talking and throwing water down and sweeping up the chalk marks. I’m sure I understood something to the effect of “I clean this floor and these kids come over and over to mess it up again.” I’ll never know because it was all Bulgarian and I know maybe five words so far. I used the remainder of my watering can to pour over chalk as she was sweeping it off and I felt like she was thanking me for helping her. I went and go my broom and some more water and we set about cleaning the porch. She’d shout at me in Bulgarian (in the firm comforting way grandmothers do) and point to some spot and I’d clean it. And that was it. I went inside, she went in her apartment and I’m sure we both felt some satisfaction over cleaning the porch together. 

We’ve been bonding slowly over the past few weeks, although I’ve always felt that she was very sweet towards me. Its just hard to bond when you don’t share a language. And then there are the times, when you really don’t need to translate. 

Rang Seeksha: A Lesson in Color


ImageI’m writing to share some of the fun and joy of my new job. The lesson plan I did for Nepali was for colors. This is my display for the parents with examples of Nepali writing. I hope I didn’t make any mistakes. I explained to them how the words were pronounced and even made a video with the pronunciations that went on our school website. This is so exciting! So there you have it, Nepali for infants and toddlers! 😀

ImageI even wrote all the student’s names in Nepali and hung them on the wall to see if parents could pick them out with what they learned in the class. My parents were paying attention because many of them were able to figure out their child’s name on the first try. How awesome is that?!

Nepali Word for Paradise


I was struck today by a search term on Google that led a viewer to my blog. They Googled, “nepali word for paradise.” I don’t know if they were satisfied with what they found or if they discovered the answer themselves but I feel compelled to do my best to answer their search. Should they Google such things again, maybe this post will answer their question. 

I refer to as “Svorga”, which is pronounced Sworga, and is spelled in Devanagari as  स्वगर् स्वोर्ग. Confused on svorga yet? Okay, so that is actually the word for Heaven, which some could argue is a synonym for paradise, but not a direct translation.

Another word, although maybe more Sanskrit derived is Paramdham, but again this is better translated to Heaven and I think carries a certain connotation of death with it. 

One resource gave me वैकुण्ठ or Vaikuntha as a translation for paradise, but I think this is Hindi and not Nepali. 

Anyone want to weigh in? My personal belief is that Sworga is the best word to use when describing paradise in the sense of “what a paradise this place is!”. 

updated to reflect correct Devanagari script for Svorga 3/31/12

Your Name is the Sound My Soul Sings


The ocean is in me.
Its part of my soul.
The crashes of the waves are the nature of my whole.
I rise, I fall, I rise again.
Your heart is my shore, will you take me in?
I’m rough, unpredictable, unyielding like the sea.
You are the ground accepting me.
You aren’t afraid to stand up to me, my tempest, you don’t fear.
Its your name, sounding in the waves of my being that I’ll always hear.

Butterfly effect of a baby born in Kathmandu and 32 infants now learning Nepali.


Here’s the chain of events. 

Newari boy born to a set of parents in Kathmandu back in the 80’s, right around the same time a girl is born in a southern state of the US. 

Newari boy grows up to be a daring, America loving guy that graduates at the top of his boarding school class and jumps on a plane to the US for two more years of high school.

Same boy comes back for college and meets that American girl (me).

Boy charms girl and girl falls in love with boy and his Nepali/Newari heritage. 

Girl gets a cool job after college working with babies and is told by her boss to incorporate any languages she knows. 

Thanks to Newari boy, girl now has a little bit of Nepali knowledge and a tiny bit of Newari. Boss, says go for it, develop some lessons incorporating Nepali and Newari. 

So, almost thirty years after boy and girl are born, a set of babies and their parents are now learning Nepali children’s songs, lullabies, and words for body parts, colors, animals, and commands like “eat, drink, sleep”. 

Boy thinks he came to the US to learn at American schools. Now he’s inspired American kids to learn about Nepal, maybe in 20 years, just one of these American babies will find themselves in Nepal charming a Nepali youth the way the boy in this story charmed an American. I love the butterfly effect. 


Impoverished American’s Living Like World Citizens

Here, CNN sensationalizes a few (relative to national numbers) American families that are living like the rest of the world. According to his post about 1.5 million families are living in exceptional poverty on par with $2 a day per person. He does not define how many members per family or how many people total. He says the numbers include over 2.8 million children. The only concrete number we are given is that 46 million people are living below the Federal Poverty Line. 

According to The federal poverty line is $11,000 a year income for a family of 1 or about $23,000 a year for a family of four. My daughter and I slide in at just under 175% of the poverty level for our tiny family of two. And I find it tough to get by. I don’t live in a luxurious apartment and I have a used car that is more than ten years old. I don’t even have a dishwasher or my own washing machine.  We do eat primarily organic food, but we also eat mostly vegetarian. We use public transit and walk or bike more than we drive. And we love what little we have. But, we have a really really hard time getting by.

Our rent alone takes up 61% of my monthly income. Child care takes up 38% of my monthly income. Leaving 1% of my income for food, clothing, utilities, gas, car insurance, medical care, EVERYTHING ELSE! Yes, I could live in a cheaper place and that would mean living closer to burglaries, assaults, thefts, rapes, and murders. I could send my daughter to a cheaper school, but that would mean sending her to school with a demographic with a different set of priorities, such as teachers that are not properly trained, fellow students that do not care about being in school, in fact it probably wouldn’t even be a school, it would be a daycare. And in that daycare, the teachers may be fresh out of high school making minimum wage, too high on ratio with a 14 (3 year olds) to 1 (18 year old). And the other parents will likely not have the parenting philosophy that I have and so soon, I’ll be battling with my daughter over hitting and swearing and explaining why we don’t have cable and no she won’t be getting that new Disney princess toy because she doesn’t NEED it. I’ve worked in low cost child care settings and sorry to sound elitist, I believe that all kids (including mine) deserve better. So, I’ve been accused of milking the system to purchase organic food for my child while wearing the Nike’s that were a birthday gift 6 years ago and the Columbia jacket I bought at Goodwill while sporting the Vera Bradley bag, I got off ebay. But even without the organic food and the $22 I spent on my “look” over a two year period,  I wouldn’t be able to live off McDonald’s on my 1% left over. 

This $2 a day statistic is designed to strike a cord with the fact that some of the world’s poorest countries have this as a standard of living. According to, Zambia comes in at the highest  population (with about 92%) living on less than $2 a day. India is around 80%, Nepal slides in at 68% and our poor neighbor to the south, Mexico reigns in about 20% of the population, all earning less than $2 per person. Of course, one should consider that the cost of living in most of India, Nepal, and Mexico is much less than the cost of living in the United States. So for a person to be living on less than $2 in the US is going to be MUCH MUCH harder than a person living in countries like those found in the third world. 

I am more than a statistic. I do not live on $2 a day and I’m not under the national poverty line, but I am one of those single parent households. I’m not one of those mothers that some Republicans claim are abusing the system having child after child to get more from the government. No, I started my daughter’s life in two parent household. And then my partner believed that drugs, alcohol, and partying were more important so that when I stood up to him, I was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused. And I decided that the only way to break the cycle was to move out on my own, bite the bullet on accepting public assistance, and teaching my daughter than no one is worth suffering your self worth for. 

So, yes, Jack Cafferty I am one of those 1 in 6 Americans on a public assistance program. Yes, I am a single parent. I am female (one nearly 51% of US population).  I am white (1 of nearly 74% of US population). And, I will not apologize. What else am I? I am a college graduate (1 of nearly 28% of the US population). I am a teacher. I am a volunteer. I am a voter. I am an advocate for something better. I believe that nothing is more important than my child and the children of our country and I’m not alone. These statistics are misrepresented and unfortunately do little to help move our country forward. Why aren’t we discussing how this small percentage of the American population is experiencing how it is in the world? Instead of griping about how much public money goes to paying for these lives, think about what it would take to help them grow out of it. 

Lets analyze how many of those single women were victims of abuse last year? How about how many of the children were victims?  How many of the parents in extreme poverty began life in extreme poverty? How many had access to quality affordable education? When we look at their communities, look at the stress the community itself is under. What is the crime rate in those regions? What are the police demographics vs. public demographic. Before I moved, I lived in a city where over half the population was black, but only a handful of officers were black. Unfortunately, this disparity leads to racial segregation of resources. This is a fancy way to say, if you were black and needed help, guess what, the white guy in the wealthier part of town was more likely to get a response than you were. 

Lets look at the legislative bodies overseeing these communities? How many women are on the local city and county councils or boards? What about their state legislatures? How many of their representatives can identify with their plights? Lets look at the national stage were our congress is arguing over limited access to health options ONLY FOR WOMEN! And lets look at the fact that our children are growing up in a world where minimum wages and single parenthood is the norm for large communities.

And instead of saying, look at these few are suffering, look at the bigger picture of look at the true cost of living and look how few can really survive it. And then ask yourself, how could the picture be brighter? 

Synchronicity Strikes Again!


Recently I posted about chakra exercises and noticing that my root and sacral chakras were weak and needed some growth. Well, it took some time to get around to healing these because the cold was really wearing me down. I’ve finally found some relief from the cold and was able to get to the gym today for Zumba. 

I have never tried Zumba before, but I did some reading on healing root chakras and dancing was one of activities recommended for grounding. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe how easily I learned the steps. Normally, I think I’m pretty slow at picking up dance moves, but this just came to me. I really felt the music and my inner energy felt lighter after the hour of Zumba. 

Then, there happened to be a yoga class right after. Normally, there isn’t a yoga class on Wednesdays, but tonight it was posted that due to increased demand, they were adding it. So, I stuck around for some yoga and was surprised to learn that tonight’s focus was on the sacral chakra. Hooray, synchronicity strikes again! I go to the gym to get some chakra work done and end up with two activities to heal the very two chakras that need balancing. Nice! 

And as usual with the Universe, there is a test to be taken after proper preparation. Shiva came over unexpectedly tonight. The on again off again situation has been difficult to adjust to. When I started this blog, we weren’t talking and I thought we’d never talk again. Now, we bounce from happiness, to arguments, to not speaking, and the wide range in between.  The relationship may be some roller coaster that we both wish to depart from and yet never want to leave, but it is proving itself to be quite a growth opportunity. I digress, so he comes in, sits down, and immediately begins to pick a fight. Good thing for me that I had a lot of grounding and self esteem building earlier, because after entertaining the pointless argument for a few minutes, I ended up asking him to leave and he did. 

I’m not glad that he left, I wish he would have stayed and had an honest heart to heart like we shared last night. Sometimes, these arguments start rough and end with very enlightening conversations on things each of us could have done better and should consider in the future for any and all relationships we have. We have been able to really be honest with one another. Of course, brutal honesty isn’t easy to take and many times ends up in tears and frustration for both of us. Its painful when someone tells you something bad about yourself, like “I think you only tell partial truths, leave things out all the time, are too technical about the truth, I feel like I’m always talking to an attorney” or “you never opened up, you never told me anything, you always expected me to give up myself, to be honest, to be forthcoming, while you kept your secrets.” But, what catharsis!!!!

I feel like these interactions with Shiva are the best sort of therapy I’ve ever had. I can really break down so much of my inner harbored emotions that I never realized were so closely connected. Now, things seems more clear and I can really heal from some events as far back as elementary school. I can’t believe I’ve been carrying so much anger and frustration, sadness, and pain for so long. I thought, I’d just moved over it. Maybe, I never will, but at least I can know that about myself now. And he’s learning a lot about himself that he never knew. Its incredibly difficult to learn things about yourself that you’ve denied your whole life as a form of egoism. 

I can’t believe that I stood up for myself when I normally would react with a combination of insults and anger mixed with a dash of regret and co dependence. Well, my hips are sore, but my heart finally can feel some relief. 

Chakra Healing



Chakra balancing is an activity that keeps me going. Mediation is an art form that sometimes happens so effortlessly and other times seems an impossible adventure. This week has been an easier stream than usual. I think that it has something to do with the removal from lots of other influences. I have taken myself off Facebook for Lent, I’m sick with a rough cold, so I’ve stayed indoors, and my throat is sore so I haven’t even been talking on the phone. I figured that while I was confined to my bed, I’d practice some chakra healing. 

Normally, I focus on all chakra’s equally, but this time, I thought to see if I could sense an imbalance in any of the chakras. The ones that stood out are my root and naval chakras.  I felt a compensating pull on my heart chakra, as thought it is attempting to carry the weight of the others. Both imbalanced chakras feel weakened. I focused on images to heal these chakras. One image that kept flowing through me is an image I had of standing barefoot under a golden oak tree. I could feel the heat radiate through my feet when I held this image. I hear the words of Khalil Gibran, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” And I feel connected to my soul’s root. 

Then I focus on my Naval chakra. This chakra’s problem is not so easy to decipher. It feels physical, not emotional. I drew a picture of the heart chakra, but I color it red, I picture the naval chakra, but I color it red. I see that my weakness in my root is why my naval chakra is also weak. But I can not see the corrective image so clearly. I feel like I’m off balance that I have lost my center. My self-esteem is weakened and I have a feeling that I don’t belong. I have an image of erecting a wall around me to establish a boundary, but I feel weakened. I see myself drawing a line in the sand, but the ocean comes and washes it away. I feel myself holding my arms up and saying “Stop.” And nothing stops at all. I feel my heart pulling on one end and my sexual desires pulling me on the other. And my third eye opens to shine a dream on the suffering. And then I am floating away because my roots have been cut. Image

It seems so clear after a little visualization that my center needs clear boundaries, my feet need roots, and my imagination is covering for my sadness.