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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012


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Do you remember when we first met

I sure do

It was in Kathmandu

In the airport.

We all got hugs and flowers

We learned Namaste

And then we went away

To Bhaktapur

After the first few days

We learned each other’s ways

And we already knew

We had a special group

We walked up Ama Yangri

Saw the Himalayas

We all wondered what

We’d got ourselves into

Well, we had great fun back then, but the craziest thing of all

Is that 3 months have gone by

And we still smile

How did that time

Pass us by?

Well I remember too

5 weeks in Kathmandu

New names, new families

Language and ISPs

And then in Chaukati

We lived our lives simply

Whiled away afternoons

To the sound of folk tunes

And in Kopan we discussed

Reincar-nation

We had our chance to chant

Om Mani Padme Hum

And there were times on trek

When we just had to check

If we were in a dream

What an unreal scene.

It seemed we arrived just yesterday

And now the end’s not far away

How can 3 months have gone by?

We’ll have to try

To save this time

For all our lives

Please do remember…

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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Semester Song

Claire Bennett,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

Do you remember when we first met I sure do It was in Kathmandu In the airport. We all got hugs and flowers We learned Namaste And then we went away To Bhaktapur After the first few days We learned each other’s ways And we already knew We had a special group We walked up […]

Posted On

05/10/12

Author

Claire Bennett

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...the students have left Kathmandu safely...the end has come to a very special semester...

"When you part from your friend you grieve not,

for that which you love most in them may be clearer

as the mountain to the climber

is clearer from the plain"

------ Kahlil Gibran

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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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The journey continues

Instructors,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

…the students have left Kathmandu safely…the end has come to a very special semester… "When you part from your friend you grieve not, for that which you love most in them may be clearer as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain" —— Kahlil Gibran

Posted On

05/9/12

Author

Instructors

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The end has come to a very special semester....

"When you part from your friend you grieve not,

for that which you love most in them may be clearer

as the mountain to the climber

is clearer from the plain"

------ Kahlil Gibran

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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Students have departed Kathmandu

Instructors,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

The end has come to a very special semester…. "When you part from your friend you grieve not, for that which you love most in them may be clearer as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain" —— Kahlil Gibran

Posted On

05/9/12

Author

Instructors

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It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure in the Himalayas. The students will be boarding a plane back home in the next few days and leaving the semester behind. Fortunately one of the beauties of traveling is that although you may be leaving a place behind, the memories and experiences will be with you for a lifetime.

Below is the return flight information for the eagerly awaiting families:

Returning Flight:

May 12th, 2012

Dragon Air #KA 761

Depart: Kunming (KMG) 3:20pm

Arrive: Hong Kong (HKG) 5:35pm

May 12th, 2012

Cathay Pacific #CX 880

Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 11:40pm

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 9:45pm [post_title] => Return Flight [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => return-flight [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-05-08 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=41581 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 314 [name] => Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012 [slug] => himalaya-studies-semester-spring-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 314 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 242 [count] => 94 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16.1 [cat_ID] => 314 [category_count] => 94 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012 [category_nicename] => himalaya-studies-semester-spring-2012 [category_parent] => 242 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2012/himalaya-studies-semester-spring-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012 )

Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Return Flight

Admin,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure in the Himalayas. The students will be boarding a plane back home in the next few days and leaving the semester behind. Fortunately one of the beauties of traveling is that although you may be leaving a place behind, […]

Posted On

05/8/12

Author

Admin

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Well, not ALL of us were trekking. In case you're wondering what you would do if you broke your foot while on your Nepal adventure or simply if you're wanting an ISP that gives you a little more independence, here is an option.

Instead of trekking I was staying in Patan, the center of all things musical, artistic, creative and Newari. Leaving the group, for however brief a time, was incredibly hard and there were many times where I caught myself wondering what they were doing and seeing as I sat there eating my daal bhaat in the middle of the crazy hot city, but I know I was exactly where I was supposed to be.


The day I separated from the group I met with the members of Sattya Media Arts Collective, a creative hub and resource network for artists and the community in Kathmandu. It definitely became one of my new comfort spots. Everyone there is incredibly passionate, creative and welcoming. From the very first day I felt like part of the team. I was more than just a short-term volunteer. I was a friend and sister, too. April has been a crazy month for Sattya filled with their anniversary party, stencil making, movie screenings, screen printing, and so much more, so I was mostly just helping fundraise for their project Hariyo Chowk (green courtyard) which aims to turn a small plot of unused land into a community green space. It will be free and open to the public, able to support gatherings of people wanting to share art and knowledge about sustainable living, or anyone looking for a beautiful local space to get away from the chaos of the city. All are desperately needed. It combines two of my favorite things: art and the environment. This organization really is radical for Nepal and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.

Working with Sattya and having daily language classes kept me pretty busy, but somehow I also found time to explore Patan, get to know my extended family AND learn a traditional nepali drum called a madal.

One of my favorite elements of Nepali culture is how important family is. This aspect is especially emphasized in Newari life. All of the houses are close together and it seems like every day there is some sort of bhoj, feast, to bring all family members together. I only spent three weeks with the Sakya family but I still almost cried upon having to part with my didi. Whenever I couldn't come to a party they all asked where I was, when I was coming, and, in the case of one of my bhaais, when he could sing a song for me. I can't wait to come back to my brother's wedding and to see how everyone has changed. I want wait to hear about their lives and watch them grow.

But not only is family a big part of Newari culture. Festivals also are, and, lucky for me, I was there for one of the biggest if not THE biggest.

It was called Rato Machindranath and consisted of the building of a giant chariot for the rain god. This wasn't your average chariot, though. This things when fully decorated, looked like a six or seven story Christmas tree. And it didn't just sitthere in its massive glory. Every few days different groups of men (yes, men. Women get one morning. It's powerful.) pull it through the city representative of pulling all of the good qualities, like love and compassion, into the lives of the people. Even though this happens every year and can last a goo three months absolutely everyone comes out to see it. You walk out into the crowd an are immediately squished into a mess of people all cheering, taking pictures, moving to the beat of the drum and scrambling out of the way of the chariot as it makes it's way down the street. Everyone is connected.

Through this experience of living alone in Patan I learned something remarkable about myself: I have the skills to travel completely independently. I'm not afraid of getting lost; I can distinguish which foods I can risk eating and which I can't; I can find a way to communicate with people and make friends even if I don't speak the language all that well; I can make connections with people and set my own schedule.

Before this trip I was filled with too much of the wrong kind of confidence. While talking to the instructors before we got to Nepal I didn't really have any questions because I knew I could handle anything. Nothing could phase me.

Day two in Nepal I broke my foot and everything changed. My life was suddenly filled with challenges that I never imagined would happen and for that, I will be forever grateful. Sitting an reflecting here in Bhaktapur Guest House reflecting on the trip and eating the yogurt that brings back memories from the beginning I realize exactly how much I've grown and how beautiful this trip had been.


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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Independence

Aasha Johnston,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

Well, not ALL of us were trekking. In case you’re wondering what you would do if you broke your foot while on your Nepal adventure or simply if you’re wanting an ISP that gives you a little more independence, here is an option. Instead of trekking I was staying in Patan, the center of all […]

Posted On

05/6/12

Author

Aasha Johnston

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Slept in a tent for the first time. Hiked for hours (sometimes up to 6 hours in oneday), carrying all of my stuff on my back. Drank massive amounts of tea. Ate massive amounts at meals. Woke up every night, usually when it was snowing outside, needing to pee. Played cards for hours. Sat for hours, just staring at mountains and thinking (or, sometimes, not thinking. Just staring). Made a schedule for when I could eat my Snickers bars. Had conversations with yaks. Held new born mountain mice. Washed dishes in the snow. Ate lunch on a glacier at 15,000ft. Debated about religion. Discussed music. Pushed myself past my physical limits, to the point that I thought I was going to go crazy. Laughed at the idea that I was about to go crazy. Ate bunches of Cocunut Crunchies. Got excited about a squat toilet (after being introduced to the "poop tent"). Stayed up late having tent talk. Went for the longest I have ever gone without showering. Smelled better than ever. Learned to appreciate simply walking. Found myself wanting to simply walk. Discovered a new peace. Enjoyed watching the mountains and the clouds and the trees and the animals...

Fell in love with the Himalayas.

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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Things I Did on Trek

Emma Miller,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

Slept in a tent for the first time. Hiked for hours (sometimes up to 6 hours in oneday), carrying all of my stuff on my back. Drank massive amounts of tea. Ate massive amounts at meals. Woke up every night, usually when it was snowing outside, needing to pee. Played cards for hours. Sat for […]

Posted On

05/6/12

Author

Emma Miller

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    [post_content] => Looking back over the course of my life I try and determine how many times that I have sat, lain, or stood for an extended period of time in silence. Initially, I would say that I silent that all of the time, when I sleep, while walking from place to place, often when I am eating and many other times just to pass the time. As I evaluate that silence more and try to determine how much of that silence is spent on any sort of internal self-reflection, this is when I am confronted with the conundrum that almost all of the “silence” time I have engaged in was thinking about external objects or past and future experiences. 

For the first time in my life I spent ten days in complete noble silence and really tried to focus on inner reflection and trying to look into the nature of my mind.In the first couple day of noble silence, which is not communicating in anyway with other people, I thought that the largest struggle would be overcoming the urge to communicate with other people. But after a very initial urge that feeling passed fairly quickly and I was faced with a much tougher challenge to try to calm my mind and really trying to evaluate the teaching that Ani Karin and our Geshe gave us on the Dharma. For a time this was wonderful I was constantly thinking about the teaching not worrying about past problem and future experiences.

After a couple days of struggling to focus on my breath for more than two seconds and enjoying the challenge I could start to see my mindset change and start to become more frustrated, angry and transitioning out of the joyous state. While this frustrated state affected my mind, instead of normally just accepting it and letting it taking control I was able to evaluate it and understand that it would pass and not overwhelm me.

For the rest of the course because I was so focused on my own mind I was able to notice my mind cycle through different emotions and states of excitement and disappointment. Near the end of the course I felt my mind starting to grasp for external excitement and I began reading a lot of different books on Buddhism. From this I could see that I wanted to fill time with activities and interactions instead of just sitting there thinking or meditating. Upon leaving this silence and returning back into a lifestyle of almost constant external interaction I understand how little of my own mind I understand. Also how much of my own opinions and ideals are created from external sources that I have not really explored and determined if I actually agree or disagree with them. Using this experience I will continue to push myself into opportunities to challenge my mind and live again in realm of my mind.

Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind. - Buddha
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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Shh! The Silence is Powerful

Mitch Ahmann,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

Looking back over the course of my life I try and determine how many times that I have sat, lain, or stood for an extended period of time in silence. Initially, I would say that I silent that all of the time, when I sleep, while walking from place to place, often when I am […]

Posted On

05/6/12

Author

Mitch Ahmann

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    [post_date] => 2012-05-05 00:00:00
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We are responsible for our own happiness. It sounds revolutionary, but think deeply. We are responsible for our own happiness. You knew that all along, didn't you?

How many times in our lives do others dictate the way we feel about the world, life, even ourselves? I can only speak for myself, but I don't think I'm the only one who has let their whole day be ruined by the harsh words of an enemy (or worse, a friend). Why? No, really. I'm asking you. Why?

Tibetan Buddhism teaches that all happiness (and all suffering, for that matter) comes from our own minds. Our satisfaction does not come from the outside world; it comes from within. While I do not agree with everything I learned about Tibetan Buddhism at Kopan, this part rings true for me.

I know from personal experience that people who rely on others to make them happy are never truly happy. People that blame others for their suffering only continue to suffer. I'm not saying that we should avoid all relationships and live alone in caves for decades trying to find the answers in some cobwebbed corner of our minds. I'm not saying that we shouldn't love. I'm not saying we shouldn't enjoy beautiful sunsets or good music or delicious food. I'm not even saying that we shouldn't desire our own happiness, though Tibetan Buddhism does say that. What I am saying is that we need to find a way to live in the world without being tied to the world. We need to love people without letting our desire for their love destroy us. We need to choose happiness over suffering because that is our choice to make.

I have conflicting desires. I want to preserve the beauty of untouched cultures, but I want to be able to observe these cultures, rendering them no longer untouched. I want to derive happiness from the wonders of this word without needing the wonders of the world to be happy. I want to live a comfortable life without living in my comfort zone. I want to invest myself in my relationships without feeling devastated when they end. I want to make others happy, and I want to be happy myself.

I don't yet know how all of these desires fit together, but I know that somehow they can. My beliefs will probably always contradict each other, and some people may not be okay with the fact that I am unable to package myself up in a few neat labels. I choose to be okay with that. I choose to give myself time to figure it out, or time to discover more contradictions.

I choose happiness because it is my choice to make.

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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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My Choice

Kaila McCracken,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

We are responsible for our own happiness. It sounds revolutionary, but think deeply. We are responsible for our own happiness. You knew that all along, didn’t you? How many times in our lives do others dictate the way we feel about the world, life, even ourselves? I can only speak for myself, but I don’t […]

Posted On

05/5/12

Author

Kaila McCracken

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In a few days I'll be home, and everyone will ask "how was Nepal?". And what shall I say? Breathtaking? Challenging? Inspiring? Fun? Unimaginable? I will never be able to tell you, my photos will not show the magic each moment truly possessed, and even these words may not convey the truth. But, I hope, in a tiny little way, I'll hold that answer within myself, and you'll glimpse it in momentary sparks. It may catch you off guard, you'll wonder if you ever saw that before, if it was merely a trick of the eye -- but no. That will be Nepal within me.

When I spend a little extra time looking at the night sky as I take my dog outside before bed, that is me remembering the clearest skies, the crackle of snow beneath my feet, the bone chilling wind, and the realization that those stars -- the brightest stars I've ever seen, placed between towering mountain ridges -- will exist for all of time, regardless of who is there to stare up at them. The world has unimaginable wonders I need to explore.

When I walk a little slower, that's me realizing life isn't all about where I'm going, who I'll be. Life is about experiencing, savoring, being; I need that sense of perspective.

When I light incense and sit pensively, that's me acknowledging that I have the power to change my mind, that my greatest strength comes from understanding my inner self. I need to reflect to move forward.

When I make you chia with far too much sugar and want to spend a little more time with you, that's me realizing relationships are the greatest gift. I'll miss my family in Kathmandu, my amaa and bhaini, and now, with only forward to go, I want to strengthen our bonds. I need to love.

When I laugh and play and run that's me remembering beauty, remembering to love myself, remembering happiness doesn't come from hot showers or varied food, but from deep within me. I need to rejoice.

When I question development, when I don't say "third world", when I grow annoyed at America's foreign policy and refuse to believe what I'm taught merely because my superiors say so, that's me remembering and respecting the complexities of our world. I need to question everything.

And when I gobble up fruit one day and beg for daal batt the next, that's me finding a new definition of comfort -- it will never be just wester or just nepal. I need to embrace both.

So you will see Nepal, you'll see how it changed me and broke me and strengthened me and made me come alive. And some day we will come back here together and you'll see the true completion of my experience in Nepal -- and maybe, just maybe, Nepal will touch you too, change you, complete you, and then, when you look into my eyes, you too will understand why it's impossible to answer "how was Nepal?"
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Best Notes From The Field, Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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How was Nepal

Claire Wright,Best Notes From The Field, Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

In a few days I’ll be home, and everyone will ask "how was Nepal?". And what shall I say? Breathtaking? Challenging? Inspiring? Fun? Unimaginable? I will never be able to tell you, my photos will not show the magic each moment truly possessed, and even these words may not convey the truth. But, I hope, […]

Posted On

05/5/12

Author

Claire Wright

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The circle is complete. Yesterday we arrived back from our 16-day trek in the high Himalayas: of course exhausted and dirty, but also smiling and jubilant, as we knew we had just accomplished something remarkable.

For the last couple of weeks we have been sleeping in tents, carrying all our belongings on our backs up and down steep mountain trails, and working as a team to ensure that every aspect of the trip ran smoothly. We slowly ascended the steep-sided river valley, setting our tents up for the night either in tiny remote settlements or just in the wilderness, surrounded by grazing yaks and dzos. Our high camp was the Sherpa village of Na, situated in a glacial valley at over 13,000 feet, where we had panoramic views of snow-capped mountains. In the mornings the juxtaposition of the ice-white glaciers and the bright blue sky was unreal; at night, the moonlit mountains that towered above us were both majestic and eerie. Every afternoon there was a blizzard, with snow or hail coming down in bucketloads onto our tents and the ground, which incited group snowball fights and the making of ‘snow-dragons’. All of this in what is meant to be the hottest and driest season of the year!

Our crowning moment was reaching the glacial lakes of Tsho Rolpa at nearly 15 000 feet. We walked for several hours on a steady incline over rough terrain and were rewarded with a view which was as spectacular and desolate as a moonscape.

We are now unbelievably in the final stage of the course, and the group has decided to end where it all began in the beautiful medieval town of Bhaktapur. Everything here is just the same as it was, except it all seems so different. Strangers have become the closest of friends, language is no longer a barrier, a squat toilet doesn’t provoke a blink of the eye; in short, living in and moving through Nepal has become part of our comfort zone.

We leave you with a selection of photos from our trek which summarise our experience much more beautifully that words ever could. Enjoy!

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Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

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Back 2 Bhak-tapur

Instructor Team,Himalaya Studies Semester, Spring 2012

Description

The circle is complete. Yesterday we arrived back from our 16-day trek in the high Himalayas: of course exhausted and dirty, but also smiling and jubilant, as we knew we had just accomplished something remarkable. For the last couple of weeks we have been sleeping in tents, carrying all our belongings on our backs up […]

Posted On

05/4/12

Author

Instructor Team

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