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Me and Cecilia, we finally arrived to Nepal this Tuesday, the 17th of October. This is the first time I am returning to an Asian country after nearly 10 years now so I was very moved when I stepped out of the plane. I tried not to cry because I was surrounded by too many people. It is such a good feeling to be back in an Asian environment. We are staying at a guest house in a village of Lalitpur. The place is surrounded by rice fields and hills which reminds me a lot of my home village in Burma. When the sky is clear we can also see the Himalaya from our place. Kathmandu city is very crowded and very busy which to me is a mixed of Kualalumpur, (Malaysia) and Yangon (Burma).

We had the introduction at the office the day after we arrived and now we are free from work from today until Sunday. We have been greeted with such warmth welcome and kindness. Our friend from the office has been guiding us today to explore Kathmandu city. We went to visit two of the most famous tourist attractions; the Monkey temple and Garden of dreams. Tomorrow, we will go up to the Kathmandu Valley. I am very happy that we have been given this opportunity to explore Nepal before the seriousness begins. Here are some pictures from today;

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A calling is describe as; ”astrong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially whenaccompanied by conviction of divine influence.” [1]

For many years I have felt this strong feeling that I need to gosomewhere else in the world to give my time to serve and help people who livein underdeveloped countries. Every time I see videos or articles aboutchildren, young people, women or elders who suffers from poverty, injustice orinequity in anyway makes me cry inside. Sometimes, I cry out if I am alone. In away it’s like I can feel their pain and sufferings which makes me sad. It alsomakes me think how injustice life is as there are so many people in the world,working as hard as I do, never getting the same opportunities as me living inSweden. So I dreamt of making a change someday and to be a part of making achange in people’s lives. I never knew that it was a calling until the end oflast year when I felt more and more that I must to do this. I thought if Idon’t do this before I start my career I might not have time in the future so Idecided to fulfil this calling this year.

I am so grateful that my parents shared their belief with me ever sinceI was a child. Today, I know that it is very difficult to accept God especiallyin Sweden. My faith in God has helped me so much through everything in my life,both in difficulties and in joy. There is no other feeling like experiencingthe presence of God; you feel grateful, your heart is warm and crying out ofjoy. I wish everyone would experience that someday. To be a believer is aconstantly choice in my everyday life. In Sweden, I have experienced that manypeople are afraid to let their friends know they are Christians in fear thatthey would be judged. My faith in God plays a central role in my life and Inever want to feel ashamed of it.

One of the best thing to be a Christian is that I have brothers andsisters in Christ all over the world, in only three days I will meet many ofthem in Nepal and I am very excited. Every time, I shared about my belief withsomeone who also is a believer I always feel a close bond instantly, as if thatperson is my sister or brother. That is a wonderful feeling when you meet someonenew. This was one of the reason why I wanted to do this trip with a Christianbased organisation. I am a member of a Pentecostal church in Luleå and I amvery happy that my church, together with PMU is sending me to this mission tripto Nepal. PMU is a part of the Pentecostal movements in Sweden which focuses ondevelopment. They have partners in 35 countries all over the world, includingNepal and I am very happy that they are helping to fulfil my calling. I am surethat God has something to show me in Nepal that I cannot understand from Swedenand I am thrilled to find out what it is.

With love,

Julee

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Today, I want to share with you something special. For those of you who doesn't know, I got engaged this summer and we are planning to get married next summer. 😃 So last week, we did a pre wedding photoshoot as I love Autumn colors. I also wanted Chin tradition to be apart of our wedding so both me and my fiancé wore Chin traditional costume (laithil). It felt very special to know that my mother has made the top and the scarf that I wore, and that everything is hand woven. I remember that my mother made them when I was a little girl and I like to wear them only for special occasions.❤

I hope you enjoy this post, have a nice weekend!

//Julee


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It's finally October, which mean that it is about just two weeks until I am going to Nepal, so excited! :) Also, I think it is time for a new blog post. This time I want to share with you my thoughts on another subject which is very close to my heart and that is education. I have realized that education is one of the important key to personal freedom. Knowledge can give us the power to rule ourselves and to be able to understand how things work in a society which is very important. It is hard to play a game without knowing the rules of that game and I think that is what education is doing; teaching us the rules of life’s game. School has always been important to me but many times I couldn’t understand the meaning of learning some certain subjects or courses as they felt useless to me. Today, I can understand that education gives us so much more than knowledge. I believe it also gives us the power and the ability to rule our mind.

My pray and hope is that everyone (no matter where they live or how old they are) will have the opportunity and possibility to study. According to UNESCO, of all children in the world there are still 10 percent of children that are not enrolled in compulsory school. 780 million of adults in the world doesn’t have the ability to read nor write. [1] I truly believe that education is one of the long-term solution for development and I am very happy that the organizations that I will be working with, both in Sweden (PMU) and in Nepal (GCDN) are supporting education. My partner organization in Nepal are working with post literacy project which I think is awesome. Education is equally important for both adults and for children. If you want to learn more about other projects that these organizations are working with, please visit their respective webpage in the links below:

https://pmu.se/en/

http://gcdn.org.np/

I wish you a wonderful Autumn!

//Julee

[1] (http://www.unesco.se/utbildning/statistik-om-utbildning/)

📷 by Julee

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Today I want to tell you more about my internship programme and the reason behind why I decided to join the internship programme with PMU. Let me start by introducing a little bit about myself. I was born in Myanmar(Burma) and spent most of my childhood there(until I a was 12 years old) with my family. Since I live in Sweden today, Myanmar is mostly known as Burma which is why I will use Burma when referring to my home country here in my blog. I grew up in a small village with approximately 250 household in Chin state. In my village we had no electricity, no phone or TV at home. We lived a simple life by growing our own food and animals such as pigs and chickens. We had our own fruits at our garden that we could pick at any time. I had many good memories from my home country and I long for the day that I can go back to visit my relatives. Like I told my friends I would cry only by seeing my home country from the plane of joy.


Even though I had many good memories from my childhood, there are also many things from my culture that bothers me today. In Burma we had to pay school fee in order to attend school and I remember I always enjoyed going to school. During summer breaks I would to long for the school to start again. Because of the high school fee I knew many children couldn’t afford to go to school. Fortunately, that was never the case for me. In my village it was a norm in the society that female members should take care of household duties. It was shameful for women not to give birth to a son as a son is an heir to the family and the one who “carry on the family”. A women was seen as a property, meaning that she would no longer legally belong to the family once she got married, also many men treat their wives as their property. They think they should decide and control her life. She should be obedience to her husband and treat him nicely. She should not leave her husband unless he told him to leave because if she does her family must pay back her dowry, which in our tradition is given by the man's family to his wife’s family. Normally her family would not afford to pay the dowry back if she leave her husband.


Since I am a daughter I was always told not to trust men if they flirt with you because they could say anything without actually mean it. Once a girl believe in his sweet lies she could be pregnant without marriage, which was a nightmare for every parent/mother in Burma. I have seen girls who got pregnant during their school time and they had to quit school as they became a mother because they now have to take care of their children. If her man doesn’t marry her then it is seen as “shameful” and I have never seen any young mother who continued their study to finish their education. My mother use to tell me that no matter how good you do at school if you get pregnant before you finish your study than your life will basically be over as a women. Any of this would happen to a man, nobody would blame him as much as they blame a woman and he could still carry on with his life without risking all the chances in his life. The men in our society had so much more rights and power. There are so many unwritten rules on how a girl/woman should behave, how she should speak and what she cannot do. Even small little thing such as during a folk gathering only men would sit at a higher chair while even an old lady must sit at the floor. A women should not drink alcohol or smoke because if she do she wouldn't be seen as a proper fine woman. The list could go on and on. What I am pointing out here is about the norm we had in my home country, it doesn’t mean that this was the case for every single person.


Growing up with this type of society it was a complete shock for me when my family and I moved to Sweden when I was 14 years old. The first connection that I had with the Swedish society was at school where both male and female students would smoke openly, where both male and female drinks alcohol without any big deal. The longer I stayed in Sweden the more I understood about the Swedish society and about how gender equality differ from my home country. In Sweden, both men and women help each other with taking care of their children and with household duties, most importantly women are not treated as a property or with a lower value nor lower rights. Young mothers can still continue to go to school and doesn't have to give up their dreams in the same way. The more I saw of the Swedish society the more I realized how unjustified women were treated in my home country. When I lived there I thought it was normal the way things were.

At high school I started to think I must give back someday. There are so many people in the world who doesn’t afford to go to school and who can’t learn about their rights. As I would finish my study at university this summer of 2017 I thought I must go as a volunteer to make a change in a ny way that I can. I knew that PMU Sweden (https://pmu.se/en/) was sending young people between 20 to 30 years old to different countries to the many projects that they are working with. So I decided to apply for their internship programme which is for at least 4 months. Luckily I was accepted to attend the programme. In about less than one month I am going to Nepal to help the local organization with teaching about human rights. It has been a long process but I know it will be worth it.


This trip means so much to me in so many ways, it is not just about my willingness to help other to improve their lives situation. It is also about expressing my gratitude of my past, to remember the simple life that we lived and not to get blind in my new life as a Swedish citizen.I am so grateful to all the experiences and perspective that I have gained from my childhood. They made a strong impression in my life every day and taught me what is important in life. I am now looking forward to learn everything from Nepal and hopefully I will be able to make a difference in the lives of Nepali people.


This post has become very long now. I hope you enjoyed reading my story and please keep in mind that what I have written here is based on my own perspective and experiences. Thank you!


//Julee


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I am very excited and nervous to now have a blog of my own. It is scary in a way to open another door into my life, but I hope it will be worth it. I have been thinking to start a blog one day, but I never really felt the need to start it earlier. The reason why I decided to start a blog now is because I am joining an internship programme with PMU Sweden. During and after our internship programme, we are suppose to share our journey and experiences through different platforms, so I thought now is the perfect time to start a blog. :) Which mean that during this upcoming four months, I will be sharing my experiences and thoughts from this trip. However, my intention with this blog is to create a personal blog which mean that I will continue to use this blog even when I finished this intern programme. I also want to apologize in advance for my misspelling or incorrect grammar as English is not my native language. I believe the best way to learn is to face the challenge!


I will explain more about my internship in another post so stay tuned! :)


//Julee


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