My thoughts and activities in Dharamsala

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Getting up out of this MC Gees piece!!!!

Well, I am down to one last full day in Mo la Ganji, and also at the same time there is a festival that is supposedly to happen today. On the main market road of Jogiwara, tons of Indians vendors have set up their roadside tiendas clogging the street to sell (as far as I have seen thus far) cheap plastic things to the public. This festival (mela) is to celebrate the coming end of the monsoon. Just as when I first arrived here about a year ago, this very same mela was in full swing. Thus, it is in this way that I know that I have made a full year circle in McLeod Ganj.

I definitely got to say that I am sad that I must depart, especially know that I have made concrete progress in the Tibetan Language. I am definitely going to miss the luxury of speaking and hearing Tibetan day in and day out, but more than this I will miss all the friends that I have made and the great family that I was lucky enough to live with. They all hold a very dear place in my heart. On top of that, my two rocking kick ass Tibetan tutors Thupwang la and Pema la, will definitely be missed, for correcting my all too common mistakes and for the lovely humor that they have supplied me with during our sessions.

In this pass week I have packed most of my belongings with is quite incredible considering the fact that with being here for a year that I have acquired a lot of things. I have recently given away a lot of things away. Today I donated most of my clothes to the Tibetan Refugee office in which where all the new refugees come when they first arrive in McLeod Ganj. My Tibetan tutor Thupwang was making fun of me. He said that I am so tall that done of my clothes will be able to fit any of the Tibetans, in which I told him that at least for the pants that they can cut them, or just wear them long and baggy. Their friends will think of them to be in the hip-hop fashion that many young Tibetans are now donning.

There are so many things to think and reflect upon about my stay in this of most interesting places. I know that I will need time to digest my experience. My advisor from BC has asked me to give a presentation about my year here about two weeks after I arrive in Berea. I think that that will give me enough time to reflect on this experience and where I want to go with. Thus far meaning for my hopeful return to India sometime next June to attend Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies.

Tomorrow I will head to Dehra Dun where I visited this pass winter to spend about three weeks there, engaged monks in Tibetan conversation practice and other matters. I had such a great time the last time that I was there, and I also hope to get an audience with His Holiness Sakya Trizin, in which I will be extremely happy if this happened. And of course to share some of my time with my old friend Dagmo Kusho La who lives there. I hope to while I am there to update my blog. After that I will head to Delhi and to hopefully meet three friends that I have just met who are living in Delhi. I met them through Jason who was just here not too long ago. These folks were coming to McLeod Ganj for the weekend and Jason suggested to them that they should contact me and hang out, which they did. We had a lot of fun this pass weekend. I hope that I served them as a good host.

This pass Sunday I had set up an appointment for dinner with a Russian woman named Julia who is a friend with Dagmo Kusho la and who she had asked Julia to carry some parcels for me. Julia speaks awesome Tibetan and knows some Amdo dialect too. So we went to eat a new restaurant called Carpe Diem that had a Jam session in which I had also brought my didgeridoo. The thing with Julia is that she knows English all right, but she struggles with my ghetto slang English (even when I severely simplify it), and so we have been conversing in Tibetan. When we had arrived at the restaurant it was not full. We were sitting in a table for four by ourselves, but as the place started filling up naturally people asked to share to table with us in which we kindly obliged.

The first couple that did this, left immediately, for we continued our conversation without paying them too much attention. The next couple, which like the first couple whom where from Israel sat down with us. We kept on talking and after awhile one of them asked us what language we were speaking. In which before I could say anything, Julia had told them that we were speaking in Russian. I, of course almost died laughing, and so after that had subsided I told them the truth and I explained why we were speaking in Tibetan.

Eventually, this couple left and another fellow had sat down next to me. It turned out that he was from Spain and I immediately started a Spanish conversation with him. He too asked us what language we were speaking in which again Julia replied Russian. He had thought that we were speaking an African language or something. Then two more Israelites joined us. One who was born in Latvia but moved to Israel when she was quite young. So she and Julia start speaking Russian together. I thought that it was all very amusing because with all of us combined at this one table we had five very different languages covered. One all of us minus two spoke three languages.

Later at the Jam session, after some monotonous hippy fried music, I was invited with my didgeridoo to play with an amazing tabla player. It was by far one of the most accomplished sessions that I had ever had. The table player and I lock into several complex rhythms that I was able to counter point on the didgeridoo perfectly. I know that us together had grabbed the attention of the stoned out audience. The rhythms that this man busted out with so many variations matched so well with what I was doing on the didgeridoo. We played for at least for six to seven minutes. It was definitely the biggest musical highlight for me in India. What was even greater was that because of that performance that the owners of the restaurant gave Julia’s meal and mine on the house to us. Sweet heh!!

Then again last night I again ate dinner with Julia at Nick’s Italian restaurant. As we ate our meal a Tibetan waiter kept on staring at us in an odd fashion. I could understand these looks. It is one thing for a foreigner to converse in Tibetan with a Tibetan, but it is quite an entirely odd thing to see a tall blond Russian women and a taller black man conversing in Tibetan. I think that we must have messed with these people brains a bit on that one. She thought me how to say some things in the Amdo dialect (which I have already forgotten), which is very different from the Lhasa based dialect that I am learning. To me it sounds goods. She has spent some time in Tibet including the town of Sakya and the Tibetan province of Amdo. She showed me some excellent pictures of Tibet. I still hope to go some day.

I have wrapped things up at TC MEC, my position as volunteer coordinator and office assistant will be taken over by paid Tibetan staff person, named Namgyal. I trained him in the procedures and now he is well equipped. I am sure that he will do a wonderful job.
I will miss my time here at the school, even though, over the time of my year here I have been an office assistant more than an English teacher but I feel that I have been able to help countless number of newly arrived Tibetan refugees with desire for a better education by mostly staying in touch with future volunteers and writing letters from TC MEC to sponsors who keep this place funded. One volunteer told me that he was extremely appreciative of me, for helping him with all his questions and concerns. And now I hear from the students on how great of a teacher he his. This has proved to me that what I have done here makes a difference in the students’ lives.



Anonymous said...

Nice story - 2 unusual looking westerners speaking tibetan to each other, wish I could've been in DMsala to see the jam too.

Anonymous said...

HIIII!!! it's moriah, i am so proud of you, you are living your dream. i am in Washington state, doors always open. keep kickin it bro, love love