Monday, August 1, 2011

Somebody please...enlighten me...

Okay guys, I need your sound advice. I don't want to go back! I have no desire to swap my hawk watching, lush Himalayan mountains, and Mahinder filled days for Provo. So educate me please. How do I get my classroom motivation back?

Monday, July 25, 2011


When I first met my Ama-la (my host mom) she grabbed my hand, took one of my bags, and laughed while telling me that she was my new step-mom. I knew then that this woman and I were going to have a grand 'ol time, but I couldn't have guessed how much I would come to love my little Tibetan family. Now one of their old students has been staying for the past 2-3 weeks and the four of us (Ama-la, Pa-la, Emily, and I) have had some great conversations. Here's a small snapshot...    

When asked why Pa-la had come home late one night
Ama-la: "Oh Pa-la was out dancing with his new girlfriend."
Pa-la: "Yes, she's 75."

In response to the lights going out in the middle of your shower, or the water running dry
Ama-la: "This is India!"

In reference to Matt and Julia's two years of marriage vs Ama-la and Pa-la's 26 years of marriage
Ama-la: "Only two years, oh still peak season. Off season for me and Pa-la."

Pa-la talking about his decision to marry Ama-la
"I knew this is right choice for me"
"No tension. This is the life" (said while he's reclining on his bed with his hands relaxed behind his head)

Pa-la's advice to Emily and I after explaining that Ama-la and Pa-la had written letters to each other for 8 years before getting married
"To take time is good. To hurry is danger. My daughters no rush."

Yes, we have a good time with our former paratrooper parents. They just get cooler and funnier the longer you hang around.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Being Human"

In McLeod people often wear a t-shirt that says "Being Human". Initially I didn't have a clue what the shirt was talking about and finally attributed the phrase to some sketchy English skills. However after spending half the day with one of the Tibetan directors I feel as though this phrase is beginning to make sense.

It began when this director and I stood together for an hour waiting for the Dali Lama to drive by, while waiting he taught me about "being human". This man is educated with two masters and is currently working on his PHD, but he told me that every time he goes to one of the 13 schools under his jurisdiction that he goes in as a human being, not as the Director.

As I listened to his teaching and leadership styles I was impressed by how naturally he put himself on the same level as those he was teaching. Actually it wasn't that he was stepping down to their level, but helping them to get up to his. He taught me to think deeper - to see the human qualities belonging to all of us and gradually he helped me to understand on a higher level. I got the feeling that first and foremost, he was trying to be the best human he could be, and that is what made him a better husband, father, and director.

Later as I thought about the this conversation I was reminded of "being human". I think I might buy one of those shirts now, if only to remind me what it means to be human.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I have started and not finished two posts already. Why? Mostly because I love this city and there's no way to express what I see and feel here in words. If only that were an excuse to not blog again :)

There are fabulously elegant Indian women working construction sites while simultaneously watching their children, Tibetan amala's spinning prayer wheels while they burst with laughter, monks taking English, Korean nuns sprinting through the rain, Nepalese flute players with a knack for palm reading, Yoga instructors pushing your body past the pain threshold, world travelers looking for the next adventure and Kashmiri shopkeepers telling jokes. It all combines into a beautiful kaleidoscope.

How I wish you could bottle it up and store away the kaleidoscope for dull days in a classroom. Buddhists believe each action you do creates an imprint on your karma for good or bad which will effect your future. By the same token, I believe the people me meet imprint upon our lives and we may not know the full effect of that imprint until years down the road when we find ourselves remembering a flute player or yoga instructor that we met once upon a time.

PS - "Parachute" is the song I was listening to by Ingrid Michaelson while writing this post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The last day of class! It's been a good ride. We've had our lows (beginning the IRB) and our highs (finishing the IRB). I feel like we covered a lot this semester so here's a couple of things I learned in hind-sight:

#5: While learning journals may never become enjoyable...they can be tolerable...maybe even appreciated
#4: No matter how many IRB or proposal drafts you's never gonna feel "finished"
#3: This is a learner owned project, but it's not an independent project
#2: Flexibility = goodness
#1: India group is the best! And you other groups are pretty cool too :)

There have been other lessons learned...but these came to mind first. In my opinion, the best classes are the ones that answer the "so what?" question. They help you to find applications which connect outside of the classroom. And the very best classes, are the ones you carry with you because somehow they changed you or your perspective. I feel like I have a glimpse of the "so what" application for this class, but I imagine it will mean much more in the field. Cheers to FS prep.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On and on...

I did my project presentation yesterday...and I feel like I could have talked forever. At first I thought, "10-12 minutes is an eternity," but then I got talking and there was so much information to share and so little time to share it all. Heck, I was going on like a motormouth. It was fun though because I finally realized how much we've been learning this semester, and that is encouraging. Little by little we keep building these projects. Somehow I feel like it's foreshadowing our experiences in the field. Little by little we'll be trying to enter the field and building relationships...and then we'll have to go home. But I think we'll be talking about these projects for a long, long time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Culture Shock

While in class, Bonnie and I discovered the perfect remedy to culture shock. See here's the plan: we're going to stock up on bread, mango's, pack a joke book and then...we will weep together. All irritations will subsequently be swallowed up in the joy of corny one-liners and tears. It's fail proof!

We really have no idea what to do, but it sounded like a good idea. Sometimes I think "get me out of Provo and over to India pronto!". Then we talk about stuff like culture shock and I remember it's probably better this process goes a little slower. I'm actually glad we talked/read about cs, otherwise we may break into fits of uncontrollable sobs with no plausible explanation. At least we know what to look out for now. And who knows, maybe we can add some more things to that list by the time we go home.

Whatever happens in the field, I'm sure we'll learn a lot. There's always a silver lining, right?