Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Letter to my Boys

A Pendant by the Qazi Brothers

Sherpa Coral
Dear Boys,

Last night I took a hot shower before I went to bed but I didn't get my hair wet. Then, I stuffed all of the next day clothes into the bed with me so that they would be warm in the morning. I found an extra wool blanket and covered my head to sleep. Still, I had a really hard time sleeping because I was shivering so much. Every time my feet slipped toward the end of the bed they were icy cold. It made turning over difficult. In the morning the windows were dripping with the condensation of my breath. I put on my clothes and decided only to wash my hair in the sink because it was too cold to take my clothes off.

I have been very productive already. I got about 13 kg of mixed Sherpa Coral at a decent price. It was from our old supplier the Shauji (shop keeper) with one veiled eye. He moved from KTM durbar square right next to our shipper's office making it very convenient for me. I haven't bought from him for a while only because he didn't have what I wanted. Unfortunately, I can't communicate with him well, so I think his feelings were hurt. Ah well... He has old glass necklaces and tantric drums also. Do we need any of these things? (I may end up buying even more Sherpa coral because I ordered some from another guy also. He doesn't know if he can get it though.)

Qazi's shop has very little in stock that I want. They are making some more large beads for us in turquoise and coral. I'm also thinking of asking them to make labyrinth pendants for us. Could you send me a picture from the labyrinth website?

I saw Karma Dolma and she is making cat pillows for us. The biggest problem is getting the synthetic stuffing. She is actually buying pillows and tearing them apart for the stuffing. I heard from some other people that getting synthetic stuffing is a problem. I'll see if Raju has a suggestion when he gets back from Chitwan.

Last night I met Pemba Sherpa who will arrange our trip to Lhasa and elsewhere in case I should take a tour group. He is wonderful. He was very organized and had a complete estimate drawn up and waiting for me. It's a little more expensive than I guessed, but he thought of everything, he even has high altitude decompression bags in case someone runs into an altitude problem. He's a real pro and has been doing this kind of thing for 18 years. We talked for about 4 hours. He has taken people above 7,000 meters before and has dealt with people from 4 to 70 years of age. I questioned him carefully about illness and accidents and it sounds as if he reacts quickly and competently to crisis. I feel confident that the trip will be smooth and highly entertaining. We're ready!

We spent a good hour talking about the Yeti, black and white ghosts and other spooky stuff. I have a feeling that everyone here has a few good spook stories. My friend is going to try to help me find some books written about ghosts in Nepal.

I love you all. Mommy will be home soon!

Many people have asked me to write about my trips. This is a very ordinary example of what I do. It is an excerpt from a letter written during a January buying trip in Kathmandu.


  1. It may very well be an ordinary example, but far from ordinary business trip! I found it interesting.

  2. You have such an interesting life, Butternut. Wow.

  3. hi butternut, how very cool to read your letter. it's a facet of the whole piece of living and working in a distant country that really intrigues me - how communication alters and adjusts to reflect the distance. i'm also intrigued to see the process of organizing the creation of a product whose insipiration comes from elsewhere - a labyrinth - and i'd love to know how that plays out in the practical sense as hands and eyes and minds perhaps unused to the form and significance try to connect it to their own experience. have a peaceful day. steven

  4. I think its a wonderful business trip and you came back with wonderful things. I also bought some corals from Tibet which I love to wear..

  5. Your writing takes us to almost another world, even though it is on the same planet. It is good to know we are not so special and unique in our lives. I treasure the little silver hand pendant. It gives me hope that I may travel far and meet others as you do. Best wishes in all the good you do.

  6. Thank you all for the encouragement. Today I am on another trip to Asheville, NC. Hopefully I will have a story for you when I return. I have something in mind.

    Steven, I will try to go into the details of the designs in another post. It is very interesting to look at the similarities and differences in designs between cultures.

  7. wonderful letter home - so gracious of you to share - can't wait to hear the stories of the ghosts! have a great day! jenean

    oh, but i'm still shivering from your frigid descriptions of bedtime and mornings!!! brrr....

  8. I am enjoying learning about all the different aspects of your business. How wonderfully exotic to have to source materials from Tibet. I should have planned better!!

  9. Thank you for sharing Jeri, It is an experiance that most may never know. I love the letter home, and the jewelry.

    someday, I'm coming. ☺

  10. Wish I could send warmth and more warmth to you!

    What a life you live, wow. Thanks for this glimpse into the extraordinary ordinary of how you pass your days.

  11. Your letter touched my heart.
    You are a true explorer, seeker and finder,
    besides many other things, like mother and writer.
    Thank you for letting us into your many-faceted world!