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A practiced hand paints a thanka. Photo by Cara Starnbach, North India Program.

Don’t worry, this is only the first of many Yaks

By now I am sure all of our you all are feeling a bit betrayed and left in the dark. Surely you are all wondering what we have done, where we have gone, and how we have been. Hopefully this post will answer some of your questions, bring you up to speed, and provide an excuse for our lack of communication, whether it be a valid one or not.

We got to India at around 22:00 on the 29th after a relatively peaceful flight. Upon landing we met up with our instructors Hemant and Saurabh and finally Priya, who had already been in India visiting family for the past week. Feeling restless from the plane ride we all finally fell asleep at around 3:00, just barely missing the arrival of Joelle. The morning of the 30th we finally all got to meet Joelle but were still not a complete group. Unfortunately the last addition to our group, Nishal, had missed his flight to India due to poor weather. Knowing that it would take hime a few more days to arrive in India, it was decided that we would continue as planned that night with the exception of Saurabh, who decided to stay behind and wait for Nishal.

Our trip to Tso Pema was one packed with new experiences for everyone. we started by boarding a train around 23:30 in which we “slept” until around 8:00 the following morning where we left the train to begin a 4 hour van ride. Our journey on the van brought us deep into the foothills of the Himalayas and out of the sweltering heat/humidity of Delhi to the town of Tso Pema where we finally came to a stop at a Tibetan Buhdist monastary. It is at this monastary that we have been staying every day.

Since we have arrived in Tso Pema, we have been getting to know each other and have began the proccess of orientation. This has involved yoga, meditation, language lessons, henna and a ton of interesting games. On the 3rd we were finally united as a group with the long anticipated arrival of Nishal who has fit in with the group like a glove. In our free time many of us have been repeatedly walking around the lake our monastary is sitting on and visiting many Hindu and Buddist temples/shrines. Above all we have all been taking in the beauty of this mountain town.

I am writing this at around 11:35 and I along with everyone else will be going to lunch soon so I will leave you all with two pictures. Both are of the two spots that I have been writing this at. One being a local chai stand and the other a small cafe with an incredible view. These beautiful places are also my excuse for such poor grammer and spelling, after all the beauty is distracting me along with no access to spell check.

Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me take on this incredible spiritual journey and thank you to all the other families who sent your children. They are all truly a pleasure to be with.

Happy 4th!

-Alec Eyl