I'm sure my kids and close friends shuddered when they saw the reference to "My Five F's" in the title and thought "Jeez, what crazy thing is he going to say this time?" But it just so happens that the major factors that contribute to the quality of my life can be labeled with an F word:
- My families.
- My friends.
- My fun.
- My finances.
- My final days.
Dan's wife Suzanne is shown, top right, in the next photo. On the bottom step are Dan and Suzanne's children, Jamie and Ashley. The family lives in Trumansburg, New York, a "suburb" of Ithaca.
The two young men sitting side by side are the sons of Jeff and his wife Tammy. As you can see from this picture of Christopher and Matthew, not all twins look alike.
My Nepali Families
I first visited Nepal In March, 2001. I immediately fell in love with Nepal and its people. I've made at least a dozen trips to Nepal since then.
My Pokhara Family
I ended up "adopting" a Nepali couple who lived in Pokhara, the beautiful lakefront town that is the jumping-off point for treks in the Annapurna mountains.
I worked on getting a green card for the husband which finally came through in 2009. I also helped them build a house in Pokhara where I stayed for weeks at a time and became part of the family.
Here I am with the family on a visit to the Bahari Temple, located on a tiny island in Pokhara's Lake Fewa. The family consists of the parents, Laxmi and Ramesh Pariyar, and their son Rahil.
They now live in one of Washington's suburbs, and we get together often. When I saw them this past weekend, Rahil was almost as tall as me. He's catching up with me for two reasons -- he's getting taller and I'm shrinking.
When their son Nimesh came to the U.S. to attend Truman College in Missouri, he would often pass through Washington, DC on his school holiday travels and would stay at my house. He became a regular resident while getting his master's degree at American University, near my house.
I expected this cohabitation to end in 2012 when Nimesh returned from his Kathmandu marriage to Bhawana Khadka. I was sure the newlyweds would prefer a place of their own. But we quickly found that the three of us were very comfortable living together as a family. This sense of family has only grown stronger over the past three years.
I again expected we would part when I learned Bhawana was expecting their first child. Wrong again. The three of us have decided to continue living together. We've just finished turning the house's built-in garage into a bedroom in preparation for "our" daughter's arrival in March.
This photo was taken a year ago when we celebrated the Nepali Tihar Festival at home while Bhawana's parents were visiting. That's Nimesh, Bhawana, and Bhawana's mother.
Indications are that all the new arrivals will be girls. Looks like Camden is going to be my only great grandson.
If I host another family reunion, I'll have to build a bigger porch, or at least widen the porch steps.