Archive for May, 2013

Tawang Monastery Up Close

Tawang Monastery Up Close

I wanted to do a separate gallery post of some of the pictures I took on our fieldtrip. I warned you -- I like looking at the designs and textures of things, so these are mostly close ups and detail shots of the wall murals and other decoration at the monastery. Some beautifulness, no?
Just Finished Reading…

Just Finished Reading…

The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai Complete with the expected visual sound effects, this graphic-novel-esque story about the Dalai Lama's childhood and life was quick to read and really cool! Kai even liked reading parts of it with me. Did you know that his full name (given to him when he was 5 years old and officially acknowledged as the spiritual leader of Tibet) is Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso? It means "Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom." He's had quite a life, and the story of the…
Class Fieldtrip

Class Fieldtrip

We tagged along with the Class 5 and 6 fieldtrip to Tawang a couple weekends ago. (A couple of the kids talked about it here, on the JG blog.) Besides everyone getting brain damage and puking all over the place from riding in the closed-in back of a fumey truck for 2 hours each way (except me & Kai -- we claimed 1/2 a seat in the cab)...it was a lovely trip, and fun to go somewhere with the kids. We visited the old Tawang monastery, Urgelling Gonpa -- the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama, and Manjushree -- a…

Kabloooie!

I'm pretty sure when we look back, the year of being two will be all about rock-throwing. Boy loves rocks. It's hereditary. (And yep, those are his babies he's packin')
Jaybird

Jaybird

We love a good rainstorm. It makes big puddles. Which you have to play in. And then you lose your clothes. And even when your lips turn purple, you ARE NOT HAPPY that your mama says you have to stop throwing rocks because it's time for a nap.
Normal

Normal

Just in case you think our everyday is an adventure, here is something normal. This is what we spend most hours of most days doing right now: working on design projects in the office. If there is power. We just like to make the most of the rest of our time, and any opportunities for playin' that come along too. There you go. :)
Cool Bugs By Kai 2

Cool Bugs By Kai 2

A new handful of crawly friends. And we're just getting into the warm weather, so there's more to come... Enjoy!

The whole wilderness seems to be alive and familiar, full of humanity. The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly. No wonder when we consider that we all have the same Father and Mother.

– John Muir
Food Finders

Food Finders

If I ever have to survive in the wild Himalayan foothills, I want to bring one of these kids with me. They're tough and they know stuff. Even at their young age, they are equipped with all kinds of practical knowledge that is lost from the same generation of kids in my own country. Going on walks with them is hilarious. Kind of like walking with a pack of foraging goats. Even just along the road they are constantly darting into the bushes and brush, bursting out seconds later with various edibles: mrep (berries) and chomcha (plant with a sour…
Water Is Life
Khartheng

Khartheng

All that construction work last weekend earned everyone a day off, so another volunteer, Adam, organized a handful of us to hike down the nearby village of Khartheng for a visit. The trail we took to get there went pretty much straight down the mountainside from the ridge Jhamtse Gatsal is on. But it got us there in a quick 30 minutes! Khartheng seems like a bigger village to me, full of traditional stone houses, with alleys winding between them, and surrounded by fields of crops. It was fun to be with the kids, who enjoyed pointing things out and…

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

– Steve Jobs

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

– Leonardo da Vinci
Mmm Quinoa

Mmm Quinoa

I have been helping with an Experiential Education project here at Gatsal, experimenting with growing Quinoa (a nutritious grain). Quinoa originates in the Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, a region possibly similar to the Himalayan mountains. Our friend Amma -- here teaching science from Jamaica -- is in charge, and I do what I can to help her and help teach the Class 8 & 9 kids who are working on the project. We've been doing lots of research, writing, and hands-on time in the garden, which is definitely the fun part. You can read more about the…
This is How We…

This is How We…

Haircut! After two and a half months I decided it was time to cut my hair and beard. I was afraid it would  become a skullet (a mullet that is bald on the top). We borrowed some trimmers from Lobsang. My beard was also not the nicest sight. Unfortunately I do not have before pictures. :)

Wisdom by Kai

(going out, 5:30am)

I tell you I want my hat!
It’s chilly cold.
Chili is spicy…don’t eat.
Don’t eat sand. Blech!

Motorcycle

This is how he learned Sangpo's name. 'Cuz "Sangpo has a motorcycle!" I also now occasionally get "Mom, can I have a motorcycle?" :) Of course, Kai. Give it a decade or so, though. Ok?
Community Construction

Community Construction

We had the chance to help the community "pour" concrete. It took most of the day with about 50 people involved. In preparation the whole week before, the community masons had engineered an amazing network of concrete forms that would become a new porch roof for the school's new Admin Building. The whole thing consisted of 3-5 inch in diameter logs holding up the forms (made of planks), wood beams, sand, and a plastic membrane. The forms where then filled with an intricate lattice of metal rebar tightly tied together to create the skeleton. By my estimation it took 120…

Mother Nature is too often spoken of as in reality no mother at all. Yet how wisely, sternly, tenderly she loves and looks after her children in all sorts of weather and wildernesses.

– John Muir
This is How We…

This is How We…

Take a bath! Okay, kidding, only Kai is this lucky..... there are no giant buckets for the rest of us. ;) There's an audio clip if you really want to listen in on Kai pouring, splashing, jumping, chattering... but don't spend 20+ minutes doing only that. Press play while you get something else done, and think of it like one of those meditational ocean-sounds-in-the-background CDs. Lol.