Monday, September 23th, 2018
Today we hiked a few miles/kilometers up to Tar Valley, and you know I was mad nervous!! I was the ~La Doctor~, the person who carried the 4,000 lbs. medical bag and since we are in Ladakh we made a play on words. We played contact and I was took the cake for sweatiest trekker, but it was sups fun regardless. We arrived in the village where we arrived and met our homestay family. It’s beautiful here, and I think I better understand why Nick said, if possible returning to nature can inspire happiness and wellbeing. Upon arriving home, Caroline and I had possibly the most awkward tea time because genuinely what does one say… Also there is such a small margin of understanding. It got better as the evening went on, especially when Ama lay had us help make chutagi, a pasta type business. It is crazy to think that we’ve only been here ten days. It feels like forever. In that respect it makes me nervous and scared for what is basically an eternity, but at the same time I also really don’t want to be anywhere else or be doing anything else. Sorry Ma. That would feel so boring. For a moment I seriously considered going backpacking with Lance after this. Ooof! It is chilly in this hilly! My Ama lay and Aba lay are the sweetest and I am grateful they have taken me in with open arms.
Tuesday, September 24th, 2018
Okay, bear with me: Yak in the style of journal entries about my homestay. I think we made leaps and bounds today in terms of connecting. When I was talking with Sophie, Julia, and Caroline I said I wanted to get comfortable being slightly uncomfortable. All my needs and every care are being met, but still it’s just something that makes my mind fidget. I took some time by myself to take in where I was in an attempt to ground myself. Being that I am actually in a real live utopia, it worked #bless #up. I went back home for dinner and tried with more energy and confidence. This lead me to…milk a cow! Or rather I tried and then got scared! Ama lay is a boss lady and we collected some fresh as heck lactose. For dinner we made momo (veggie dumplings) and I introduced myself to Ama lay’s friend by my Ladakhi name, Tashi. Momos are hard work and the night came so quick I was tried and not that hungry before we even ate. Ama lay sat down at one point and I stuck my hands out to mean I’m ready to work. She patted it an asked “Khamzhang inna?”, which means “how are you?”. I felt like she really saw me as a loved one in that moment. There was a ketchup fiasco and then she let me and Caro wash dishes. Yay! Progress with helping! I miss our group time, which is a lol. I have nothing else to say. Oh, this is a new pen. Did you notice?
Wednesday, September 26th, 2018
Over breakfast I showed Ama lay some of the photos my mother SECRETLY STASHED IN MY BAG (really Mother.) Anywho, they came in handy so I guess you were right mother. She was excited to see my family and told me to write home and tell my mom that I was being sunned and watered like the little plant I am. I said yes of course. After the group meeting, me, Sam, Sophie, and Katie sat on one of the field level things and I saw Ama lay grazing our cow. I hollard hello at her and she waved back. Lunch was delicious, we had eggs and veggies and tagi (chapati). I spent some time with Ama lay in the field with the cow (balang) and sheep (look). Sheep are SO WEIRD looking. But now I feel like I have a greater appreciated for Strega Nona because I vaguely remember sheep in that book. Looking forward to the sun. Peace and blessings.
Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Crazy mountain dreams last night what the what!! I forget them now though, I should write them down as soon as I wake up. I washed my clothes in the faucet connected to the stream for easier water access. It’s rare to find water available constantly so I’m so glad that this faucet is right outside our house! I like spending time with Ama lay, I think we have reached a point of mutual understanding. My Ladakhi is sub-par at best and catastrophic at worst. Thank god I’m good at charades. Ama lay’s persistence with always giving me tea or biscuits is comforting and I think I can appreciate it now. Today her knees were bothering her and I alway- okay wait one minute she’s making me watch the news. Okay back. She is a strong woman, I think both by character and necessity. I understand more about her the more time I spend watching her both from up close and afar. Having a language barrier had forced us to have a connection unlike any other, and in some cases even more valid and genuine. I have absolutely no idea if in her mind these feelings are reciprocated or if I’m just another lil girl from America. I do believe though that in order to feel the way I do, she must too, to some extent.
P.S. Shouts out to my mains at college: Katie, Stella, Liney, Alex, Rhea, Julia, I look at our pictures every night before bed.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Last night Ama lay had a friend come over and help make chutagi. When we were eating Ama lay offered more to her friend and her friend was like no! no! and pushed away the full ladle. From where I was sitting on the floor she looked taller than her 5’3” and sort of looked like this: (see attached sketch)
She brandished that ladle like a sword! Love her.
Friday, September 28, 2018
The famous painter we had a lesson with today was nice and made me serve tea. Harder than I would like to admit. I am nervous for any and all types of hiking. Ama lay was giving Caro Indian Vapo Rub all day which was really sweet. She let me get her water today which I appreciated. Caroline and I had fun washing dishes today while Ama lay laughed at us. Peace and blessings Tar Village!
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Last night was such a hoot! We all got together post hike and had dinner, momos of course. We chopped veg and helped make the pockets. We danced and Ama lay was such a sweet lady about it. She is highkey more of an introvert than I would have thought. I felt so proud showing off my momo skills in front of Ama lay and the group. This Swiss woman showed up, which was random but Caro got to flex her German skills. When the night was over and we were walking back home we met up with two other Ama lays. The sky was the clearest I’ve ever seen and I didn’t even know that many starts existed. Thinking that nighttime means pitch dark is the lie I’ve been believing my whole life. The cutouts of the mountains against the navy sky was insane. I’m going to miss Ama lay. She is so sweet. Peace and blessingz.