November 01, 2008


I went to yoga class for the first time in five years this week.

My shoulders still ache.

I'll be back next week. Class was surprisingly easy - which made me grateful for the solid yoga base my one and only previous yoga teacher, Mansi, gave me when I was studying abroad in India. Not only did she help me develop a yoga routine that fit my personal needs, but she also ensured that I left the class understanding the fundamentals of yoga - what it can do (and what it can't do) and why anyone would want to stretch and contort their body in the first place.

We learned the history of yoga, the spiritual side of it (in a very approachable - not new age - sort of way) and how the main purpose of this ancient tradition is not increased flexibility but an increased connection between body and spirit.

Thus class was easy, even though I ached after wards and noticed I lacked flexibility. It was easy because I felt successful in my goal of reconnecting with my body - remembering to breathe and notice every muscle, ache, and pinch, as the instructor helps me move in ways that I wouldn't think of on my own.

Without Mansi I believe my expectations would be much different.

Continue reading "Yuj" »

July 24, 2004

How to have an enjoyable India excursion

Sorry, I am still not done talking about India (and there are no guarentees that I ever will be). Many friends and acquaintances have complained about the sub-continent and swear it is awful. I have heard that being there is like having a hundred monkeys pounding on the inside of your skull, one person described it as "organized chaos" (which I consider a compliment), other people comment on the massive amounts of injustice that goes on constantly towards women, poor people, white people, powerless people, children, and all other people who can possibly be taken advantage of in some way. I won't deny that this stuff happens or go on at length about how it happens everywhere; we are just used to ignoring it in our own countries. Instead I simply want to help other people understand or ignore these things in India, therefore helping them have as marvelous a time as I did. John and Paul, fellow Friends World bloggers wrote their ten and eleven highlights of the country, but here is a list helping fellow travelors create their own top ten (or more more) list

Continue reading "How to have an enjoyable India excursion" »

April 17, 2004

Winding Up

Too much to do and too little time, this is the story of my life lately. Sadly, very sadly, I am leaving this crazy land of amazement in a few short days, so I have been packing in the pleasure on my way out.

Well, it hasn't all been a bed of roses; I pulled a couple all-nighters (and really felt like a college student) and finally finished my senior thesis. Yup, it is done early. Now I just have to finish a few last minute design issues and pray to the typo gods before sending it to the printers.

I also have been enjoying Bangalore's club scene. Most people don't think of India as a place with a night life, but I assure you that if you are in the area it is well worth the stop. The music is diverse, they were even playing "Black Star" the other night. These are the only clubs where I actually enjoy the hip-hop music. However it isn't just the music that makes a place appealing but also the layout. So far all the places I have been to have a roof or veranda where you go to escape the heat and loud noises, and even carry on a good conversation at normal talking levels. One popular place, The Club (pronounced Dee Club) is actually a country club during the day, so the grounds are extensive containing a pool and a basketball court.

When we went out Thursday the crowd inside was unbearable and the mosquitoes outside weren't much better, so I proposed we play basketball. That I was wearing skirt and heels was no deterrent. In Dharamsala all the youth play and the last time I picked up the ball I was hit in the nose. I was determined to make up for this.

I did - despite the fact that I was the worst player there and the most disadvantaged, I made three baskets. I should add that these heels are the most comfortable ones I have ever owned and they are only an inch high. Sadly, right around the time I realized that the game was never-ending because no one was keeping score, the strap on my shoe gave out. I knew there was a reason girls don't usually play in those things. Luckily India is the land of miracles and I got my favorite shoes fixed for five rupees (a little over a dime). I will miss this place.

April 12, 2004

Views from Central India

April 10, 2004

Back in Beloved Beautiful Bangalore

It feels so nice to be back. I think that is always a good feeling no matter where one is returning too. I know I felt it in MacLeod Ganj as well. Traveling is marvelous, the sights, smells, sounds, and stories that one collects along the way are life long treasures, but half the fun is definitely returning home to friends and familiarity, looking at it all with the new perspective gained along the way.

That said, the train ride was every bit as wonderful as I hoped, and just as hot as I feared. I am thankful for my my Tennessee background; it has served me many times and this was one of them. During mid-day we all wilted and the children kept washing their faces to cool off. Luckily the humidity wasn't to high so water did act as a cooling agent.

I was fortunate enough to be traveling in the same car with a gaggle of children (they were all Tibetan too, but I am trying not to be predjudiced here) and I utilized my meager origame (paper folding) skills to the utmost. If there is one skill I recommend for traveling, that is it; simple, inexpensive and bording on magical for those of the right age group or mindset, origame is a sure way to make friends or at least break some ice. Of course, eventually the heat melted all the ice on the train anyway.

April 07, 2004

Down Hill

I survived what has got to be the worst nicest bus ride in the world. You see the bus was actually quite nice - cushy seats, not too crowded (but never enough room for my knees) but the ride down from McLeod Ganj was nauseating. I had to hold my stomach at times and pray fervently not to, as the Australians say, chunder (which they claim comes from a shortened version of, "Watch out down under!" a frequent enough call at sea to warrant slang).

It didn't help that this devilish decent was in the dark.

Finally we got down to the warm moist semi-level ground and I was confronted with more torture. Most of the time the road was tolerable and I did something slightly resembling sleep, however, just often enough to be really annoying we would hit a bad patch and suddenly be bumped all over the place. As if that wasn't bad enough the overhead compartments didn't latch shut completely and at least once I got beamed in the head by shifting luggage. After that I woke up whenever we hit a seriously bumpy spot and watched the overhead compartment vigilantly.

Oh isn't it marvelous to be traveling! Despite the horror of the twelve hour ride, I am in good spirits (a nap and shower do wonders). I believe the worst part is over - at least on the train I will be able to walk around and lay down in my bunk. I can also, miraculously, read on the train without getting sick. Then there are the hours of watching the fields fly by. I only hope it is half as good as I imagine.

April 05, 2004

Hello Good Bye

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March 31, 2004

An interesting life - NOT!

Wow! Nearly three days with out posting - you'd think I'd have a lot to report by now. Sadly I don't. I have to scratch my head thinking of where the time went.

Sunday was spent recovering from last week and spending time with the cutest little monkey, I mean girl, from the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV). Only four and a half, her mother left her at the boarding school and returned to Nepal to work (I am not sure what the deal with her father is). My friend promised to look out after her so she took her home for the day to give her a little extra attention.

The TCV is mostly for orphans, destitute children, and those who's families are still in Tibet but send their children to get an education not dictated by China. There are also day schools for children who's families live near by. The point of this education is to keep Tibetan culture alive while in exile. Today I interviewed a woman who said that she felt as long as children were learning Tibetan (and learning in Tibetan), using it every day, the rest of their culture would be around. For those who aren't so sure it all rests on the language, the TCV also has cooking, dancing, drama, singing, and all sorts of other clubs to help interested youth learn more about the traditional arts. Having been to a few TCV performance, I think they are doing a marvelous job. As well as Tibetan things, the children also learn English, Hindi, computers, and all the regular subjects.

Since it is tough being away from your family, sometimes for years, the school is organized into "homes" of 35-40 children (they would like it to be less but the children seem to arrive faster than they can build new homes). The children are aged between four and fourteen (after that they live in hostels) and live with two "home parents." The older children look out after the younger ones, the parents look out after every one and they all have chores that help keep dinner on the table and the home clean. It is a remarkable operation but my friend worries that Nautu, the four and half year old, doesn't get enough individual attention. So she visits often, brings presents, teaches her to count and the abc's. Sunday she managed to take her home for the whole day. They bought candy, played in the playground, played with cars and balls, ate chicken (apparently a real hit) and other things.

The rest of the week was spent, um, reading, yeah that's it... reading!

March 28, 2004


As if I hadn't been getting enough excercise lately, some friends and I decided to hike up to Triund for the day. I figured with all the hard work I needed a vacation - the sort you take when you are twenty-six because I think in a few years I will not consider a seven hour hike a vacation.

Oh but it was worth it - this is the view from half-way up. Sadly it was a bit hazy, but I could still see far enough to notice the curvature of the earth. Photographs never do these sights justice but at least it gives a vague idea. Today I am paying for my fun, a slight sunburn (I wore sunscreen and a hat!), and very very sore muscles. This too shall pass...


I have been busy! Thursday I finally visited Norbulingka. Named after the Dalai Lama's summer palace in Lhasa, Norbulingka in India is every bit as beautiful as the one in Lhasa (full of beautiful plants, fountains, and ponds) but created specifically for keeping Tibetan arts alive. People learn metal working, statue making, appliqué, wood working, carpentry, and tailoring. The man on the right is creating a thangka, a cloth religious painting. He has been working at Norbulingka for twelve years.

Friday I finally made it to the Library, a thirty minute walk down the mountain (which means a forty-five minute walk up the mountain to get back home) and as if that wasn't enough excercise my friends and I decided to walk another thirty minutes down to Lower Dharamsala to go shopping a bit.

The library was awesome but sadly I will not be here long enough to take advantage of its philosophy and language classes. There is simply too much to do and learn here. Though small it still had several magazines and books pertaining to my study of Tibetan culture so I shall have to go back a few times, getting lots and lots of excercise...

February 19, 2004

Another View

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February 16, 2004

Student Life!

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February 15, 2004

Picture Perfect

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January 14, 2004


Continue reading "marriage!" »