Archive for August, 2013

India Independence Day

India Independence Day

We celebrated Independence Day (August 15th) with the kids, and learned a few things about India from all their presentations, skits, and posters. Like: • That funny 3-headed lion creature that we find on some of our rupee coins is the national emblem. It is actually four lions standing back to back - symbolizing power, courage, pride, and confidence. The base they are standing on has an elephant, a horse, a bull, and another lion. • The national flower is the lotus - exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. • The national fruit is the mango, and there are over 100 varieties in…

Because of Puking

Hanging out in the room. We brought some momos from the kitchen. They are yummy. Too yummy. When you're two and you eat too many... and you're laying down on the bench at the table... and someone is making you laugh too much... Well, our dinner plans for tonight have changed. Good night, Grandma!
Puppies Gone Wrong

Puppies Gone Wrong

Even little furball puppies can be naughty when they get big enough to do some damage with those sharp little gotta-chew-on-everything teeth. Kai found that out one day when he was waaaaay across the playing field with no one close by to pull the little rascals off fast enough. But he was pretty proud of how many bandaids he got to sport on his arms afterwards. :)

Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom could be polished to a proud shine?

– Mitch Albom

Raindrops

Happy the showers that fall on so fair a wilderness,–scarce a single drop can fail to find a beautiful spot,–on the tops of the peaks, on the shining glacier pavements, on the great smooth domes, on forests and gardens and brushy moraines, plashing, glinting, pattering, laving. Some go to the high snowy fountains to swell their well-saved stores; some into the lakes, washing the mountain windows, patting their smooth glassy levels, making dimples and bubbles and spray; some into the waterfalls and cascades, as if eager to join in their dance and song and beat their foam yet finer; good luck and good work for the happy mountain raindrops, each one of them a high waterfall in itself, descending from the cliffs and hollows of the clouds to the cliffs and hollows of the rocks, out of the sky-thunder into the thunder of the falling rivers. Some, falling on meadows and bogs, creep silently out of sight to the grass roots, hiding softly as in a nest, slipping, oozing hither, thither, seeking and finding their appointed work. Some, descending through the spires of the woods, sift spray through the shining needles, whispering peace and good cheer to each one of them. Some drops with happy aim glint on the sides of crystals, –quartz, hornblende, garnet, zircon, tourmaline, feldspar,–patter on grains of gold and heavy way-worn nuggets; some, with blunt plap-plap and low bass drumming, fall on the broad leaves of veratrum, saxifrage, cypripedium. Some happy drops fall straight into the cups of flowers, kissing the lips of lilies. How far they have to go, how many cups to fill, great and small, cells too small to be seen, cups holding half a drop as well as lake basins between the hills, each replenished with equal care, every drop in all the blessed throng a silvery newborn star with lake and river, garden and grove, valley and mountain, all that the landscape holds reflected in its crystal depths, God’s messenger, angel of love sent on its way with majesty and pomp and display of power that make man’s greatest shows ridiculous.

Now the storm is over, the sky is clear, the last rolling thunder-wave is spent on the peaks, and where are the raindrops now–what has become of all the shining throng? In winged vapor rising some are already hastening back to the sky, some have gone into the plants, creeping through invisible doors into the round rooms of cells, some are locked in crystals of ice, some in rock crystals, some in porous moraines to keep their small springs flowing, some have gone journeying on in the rivers to join the larger raindrop of the ocean. From form to form, beauty to beauty, ever changing, never resting, all are speeding on with love’s enthusiasm, singing with the stars the eternal song of creation.

–John Muir, My First Summer In the Sierra

It’s Monsooning!

It’s Monsooning!

Monsoon is upon us. We do have some nice days, and the sun definitely shows up nice and intense occasionally -- but then the clouds roll in and it opens up. It will rain all day and even all night some days, and sometimes really hard. We learn to take advantage quick when the conditions are right for drying a little laundry. ;) But otherwise, it's not too bad. It's not too cold right now, and we don't have to worry about landslides on the roads, since we're not going anywhere. Love it, that rain. Here are some drippy plant…

Om Tar’e Tu Tar’e Monpa Dance

This is one of my favorites. :) It's a traditional Monpa dance called [something like] Om Tar'e Tu Tar'e, and performed by the students of classes 8 and 9 at Jhamtse Gatsal Children's Community. Side note: Monpa is not a written language, so the spelling of this dance is the Tibetan dance teacher's and Spence's combined best guess at a phonetic spelling.

Lekshey Norchung Tibetan Dance

We wanted to share some of the beautiful traditional dances that the kids do for special occasions. With so little bandwidth available for uploading stuff though, we've knocked the quality of these down quite small to save space..... :( And actually, that is going to be the case with any videos going forward while we are here. We promise to go back and replace them with their higher-quality versions as soon as we are back to somewhere with better internet, though. Enjoy. This is a Tibetan dance called Lekshey Norchung, and this is the kids of classes 7, 8 and…
Cinnamon Favorites!

Cinnamon Favorites!

This must be a family recipe, because I don't know anyone else who eats Cinnamon Favorites. But they are very similar to Snickerdoodles, so that's probably why. :) Thanks for sending, Mom! INGREDIENTS: Cookie Dough: ½ cup of butter 1 cup of sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon of vanilla 1¼ cups of sifted white flour 1 teaspoon of baking powder ¼ teaspoon of salt Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture: 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon 1 Tablespoon of sugar DIRECTIONS: Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. (We didn't have vanilla - oh well!) Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, And then…
Cookie Bakers

Cookie Bakers

I would definitely say I have a sweet-tooth. Especially for baked goods. Especially if there is cinnamon involved. So of course I said yes at the chance to share some baking fun with some of the kids recently. Most of the older students were busy with dance practice one afternoon, so my team consisted of four middle-sized girls who were quite happy to have something else to help with: Sonam Lhamu, Shanti Tamang, Mani Wangmu, and Tsering Chodron. (Read their play-by-play of it all over on the Gatsal blog, ya?) After some false starts, and a couple hours of letting…
A Haircut For Kai

A Haircut For Kai

If Spence thought he needed to worry about his hair gettin' awkward, it was nothing compared to Kai. Kai was starting to get mullet-head for real. The kids have had haircuts twice since we've been here, (a barber comes from Lumla and whips through everyone in a day....phew) but whenever I try to talk Kai into taking a turn on the chair, I get a big 'heck no way' in 2-year-old speak. I don't try too hard, though, because I figure he'd be too wiggly for those speedy scissors anyway. Anyway, it was time.  We borrowed some clippers. Kai was…