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    [post_content] => I haven't slept in my own bed yet, I haven't indulged a hot bath, I haven't finished washing my clothes. Instead I found myself indulging in a bowl of noodles with cabbage and broccoli and sipping on a hot cup of tea, reflecting on how strange it is to be enjoying similar food to what we had eaten in China  My luggage is sitting on the floor of my room waiting to be dissected and my bed is waiting for me to come home, but my tea sits warm in my stomach and my bowl of noodles rests empty beside it.
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SPRING: Life Along The Mekong, Uncategorized

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A Cup of Tea

Marimac Waldschmidt,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong, Uncategorized

Description

I haven’t slept in my own bed yet, I haven’t indulged a hot bath, I haven’t finished washing my clothes. Instead I found myself indulging in a bowl of noodles with cabbage and broccoli and sipping on a hot cup of tea, reflecting on how strange it is to be enjoying similar food to what […]

Posted On

05/3/16

Author

Marimac Waldschmidt

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    [post_content] => Welcome home Mekong semester students! It has been quite a journey. The group flight just touched down at LAX. Thanks to all!

 

All the best,

The Boulder Admin Team
    [post_title] => On the Ground at LAX
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SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

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On the Ground at LAX

Admissions2,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

Welcome home Mekong semester students! It has been quite a journey. The group flight just touched down at LAX. Thanks to all!   All the best, The Boulder Admin Team

Posted On

05/1/16

Author

Admissions2

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    [post_date] => 2016-05-01 06:17:25
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    [post_content] => Hi all,Our Mekong crew just went through security at the airport in Kunming. They are on their way to LAX via Guangzhou.Many thanks,Team Mekong
    [post_title] => Students on their way home
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Students on their way home

Dragons Administration,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

Hi all,Our Mekong crew just went through security at the airport in Kunming. They are on their way to LAX via Guangzhou.Many thanks,Team Mekong

Posted On

05/1/16

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-25 09:01:45
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    [post_content] => I would like to share the words of Sinaduji, a hunter from Bucun province, Yunnan.  It's very hard for me to translate the spiritual magnitude of his story into words , but I hope you will find his tale as riveting and inspiring as I did.

Sinaduji was young when the Great Leap Forward, Mao's plan to industrialize China and increase crop yields, threw China into a widespread famine .  He studied in school to become an accountant in order to support his family and make sure there was enough money for them to survive. Unfortunately, money would not be enough for his family without meat on the table - and as the whole community was forced to share food and eat together, there was not enough meat to go around. The government provided Sinaduji a gun for work purposes, and he quickly learned to be a good shot. He put his knowledge of marksmanship to use and hunted on the nearby sacred mountain, Kawagabo, to provide game for his family and neighbors.  Sinaduji killed many creatures during this time, and as the death count rose strange happenings began to occur. He dreamed of angry animal spirits visiting him in the night as he slept, and slowly started to feel as if he were going insane. One day , Sinaduji and a friend decided to go hunting for wild buffalo on the mountain . Their plan was for his friend to chase the buffalo into Sinaduji's sights so he could get a good shot at the animals. As Sinaduji waited for his friend to chase the buffalo down the mountain, he fell asleep. When he woke up , a white buffalo was coming down the mountain. He took aim at the beast and shot it multiple times , but when the bullets connected with the buffalo it disappeared! The bullets were firmly lodged  in the mountain rock where the buffalo had been. Sinaduji stopped eating and sleeping for many days. Eventually the spirit of the sacred mountain, Kawagabo , visited Sinaduji and told him that he shouldn't hunt in the mountains anymore. He told Sinaduji that because Sinaduji had never raised or provided for the animals of the mountain he had no right to kill them. Sinaduji listened and stopped hunting Kawagabo's creatures. He pleaded with other local hunters to stop hunting as well.  inaduji hopes that one day hunting on Kawagabo will cease entirely.

He shares his story in the hopes that others will learn from his experience.

Today, Sinaduji is the head organizer for a Chinese NGO that aims to protect Kawagabo and traditional Tibetan culture. He raises all of the animals his family eats, and personally patrols the mountain to ensure no one is killing the creatures of the sacred mountain spirit.
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SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

View post

The Hunter

Marimac Waldschmidt,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

I would like to share the words of Sinaduji, a hunter from Bucun province, Yunnan.  It’s very hard for me to translate the spiritual magnitude of his story into words , but I hope you will find his tale as riveting and inspiring as I did. Sinaduji was young when the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s […]

Posted On

04/25/16

Author

Marimac Waldschmidt

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-22 11:18:38
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    [post_content] => According to Merriam Webster a hike means to walk a long distance especially for pleasure or exercise. Personally I've always had a bad association with hiking.  I always wondered where the fascination came from. Hiking was a source of anxiety for me, almost unconsciously. I would brush off the idea that it made me nervous, convincing myself that hiking just wasn't my forte. However, In past three days my perspective has changed, due to some crucial tips and tricks I learned from myself and others. So here they are, things to remember. Brought to you by someone who previously had a less than favorable relationship with hiking and now has reach a level of appreciation.

1. Listen to your body. Stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar up. Take a break when you need one. Walk as slowly as it takes, you will get there when you get there. It really does make a difference in capability and mood.
2. Wear the correct footwear. Even if you are sure you can climb up the mountain in your sandals, I promise a hiking shoe will be much more rewarding.
3. Bribe yourself. If you are feeling particularly apprehensive it's sometimes a good idea to trick yourself into moving forward. Perhaps set a clear goal or point at the trail where you will stop take off your pack and enjoy your treat. I found that stockpiling snickers was a great way to motivate.
4. Keep moving. Newton knew a thing or two when he talked about inertia. An object a rest stays at rest and an object I motion stays in motion. The more you take unnecessary breaks they more you will want to take unnecessary breaks. Even if you feel like your legs are screaming, just put one foot in front of the other.
5. Come up with a mantra. Mantra's are a great way to get out of your head and focus on a goal. Chose whatever feels important to you, since you will probably say it hundreds of times. For example you could pick something like "I love endorphins. I am strong". Time flies when your focused on a mantra.
6. Look up. Especially important for those of us who are inherently clumsy. Although it seems like a good idea to keep you eyes on your feet, it typically makes you more likely to fumble. Use your peripheral vision, enjoy to view, and notice nature.
7. It's all in your head. For a very long time I thought of hiking as a test of physical strength. Although physical ability undoubtably plays a role, I've learned that the hard part comes in to play with the mind.

Personally my mind was the defining factor, I was never excited about hiking because I didn't have faith in myself. I never felt accomplished thinking big deal, everyone else had made it up the mountain too. I viewed myself as a weak hiker, when in actuality there's no such thing. We all arrive at the same destination in our own time, in our own way. Have faith in yourself, you can do it. Avoid negative thoughts and frustrations making you want to give up. Push yourself. Give yourself credit where credit is due. And most importantly stay optimistic. I have found that the most challenging part of hiking, and ultimately the reason I had never previously enjoyed it, was due to the road blocks in my mind. But, oh man does it feel amazing when you have reached the top, that sense of accomplishment is unparalleled.
Good luck fellow hikers!
    [post_title] => A guide to forcing your body, against the will of gravity, up a mountain.
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

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A guide to forcing your body, against the will of gravity, up a mountain.

Lily Hobbs,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

According to Merriam Webster a hike means to walk a long distance especially for pleasure or exercise. Personally I’ve always had a bad association with hiking.  I always wondered where the fascination came from. Hiking was a source of anxiety for me, almost unconsciously. I would brush off the idea that it made me nervous, convincing […]

Posted On

04/22/16

Author

Lily Hobbs

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-21 16:27:51
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    [post_content] => Dear Life Along the Mekong Semester Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families:

May 1st, 2016

China Southern #3408

Depart: Kunming (KMG) 5:25 pm

Arrive: Guangzhou (CAN) 7:15 pm

May 1st, 2016

China Southern #327

Depart: Guangzhou (CAN) 9:30 pm

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 7:40 pm

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day.   Starting on Saturday, April 30th, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin
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SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

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Return Flight Information

Anne Koenning,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

Dear Life Along the Mekong Semester Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group […]

Posted On

04/21/16

Author

Anne Koenning

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-21 12:09:40
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    [post_content] => My mind is buzzing, it's only 7 a.m., and it's decided that it's not going back to sleep. I slowly rise from bed, put my hat on, slip my glasses on, and open the door. The cool, crisp wind wakes my body up. My eyes adjust to the light; instantly they shoot wide open, seeming to have forgotten the scenery that surrounds this Tibetan village. My heart pulses with contentment. Nature never seems to fail. I sit on the ledge and let my mind wander where it pleases. This morning it has decided to get deep and inspired.

I stare at a mountain which is completely blanketed with green pine trees. My eyes dart to another mountain, brown with rocks fully covering it whole. Three's a charm; my eyes make contact with Mt. Kawagebo. At 6,700 meters, this mountain wears bright white snow, accessorized with a couple rocks at its peak. My mind smirks at how uniquely different all three mountains are, yet each possessing pure, true beauty.

Caution, this is where my mind decides to get deep at seven a.m. Intuitively, I compare these mountains to people, to their beliefs, customs, cultures, religions. We are all humans, but so completely different from one another. 'How marvelous' I think. Following the Mekong River upstream, I've been able to learn about the people whose livelihoods are a part of this river. Sadly history has not been kind to many groups of people. In Cambodia there was the Khmer Rouge genocide which consequently took millions of lives. In Laos there was the Secret War removing, exiling, killing, and "re-educating" thousands of Hmong people. Lastly, the Liberation Army invaded Tibet, oppressing, killing, and "reeducating" all throughout Tibet. This history which I have come across is only a small percentage of all genocides, killings, camps which millions of people have been subjected to. My mind is confused. My heart overflows with anger. Why does this happen? We are all human. Practicing, believing, or doing something different from our "neighbor" does not change the fact that we are all human beings. How can mankind cause so much harm to its own kind, on the basis that we are all different believers and doers. It seems to simple to me: humans should be able to live in a world where their customs, beliefs, etc. are accepted. There's no "right" way to how a person should live their OWN life.

I view people like these mountains in front of me. We are all nature, differing from each other, yet all uniquely beautiful. My mind feels like exploding. What a complicated world, yes, but my heart feels that with acceptance and love, a change can happen. I dream of a future where love will open people's eyes and hearts to the pure beauty of all the differences out there that this world possess. I believe love has that power.
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SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

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The Power of Love

Kaila Aguerre,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

My mind is buzzing, it’s only 7 a.m., and it’s decided that it’s not going back to sleep. I slowly rise from bed, put my hat on, slip my glasses on, and open the door. The cool, crisp wind wakes my body up. My eyes adjust to the light; instantly they shoot wide open, seeming […]

Posted On

04/21/16

Author

Kaila Aguerre

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-19 10:09:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-19 16:09:25
    [post_content] => With our trip coming to an end it's hard not to let my mind wander to the looming question of what's next? I've just spent over ten weeks immersed in three completely foreign cultures, finding the similarities in human nature as well as differences. Now my mind is filled with a never-ending stream of questions. How can I carry what I've learned with me? How will I explain this monumental adventure in a way that people, besides the 15 of us, will understand? How will I integrate what I've learned in my day to day life?

It may be in ways as simple as asking people 'how their heart is?', rather then the typical 'how are you doing?'. As if we are measured always by doing rather then being. It could be transferred by embodying the vibrant perseverance of the Cambodian people, or the Sabaidee lifestyle of the Laotians. At first Im sure I won't be aware of the all the things I've learned. I may not even realize them six months or a year from now. Only becoming aware slowly and in unforeseen instances. As we prepare for our time together to come to a close, I try to soak up every last detail of the places we go and the people we meet, trying to gain as much knowledge and wisdom as possible before returning to everyday life. Refusing to leave a lesson unlearned, knowing that I will likely gain something from it no matter how small. Looking forward I try to decipher how these three months will influence me. Remembering the stark perseverance I observed in Cambodia, applying that to my endeavors. Remembering the gentle, easygoing attitude that seems engrained in Lao's culture. Remembering the wisdom of human nature, subtlety present in everyday lives of Tibetans.

This is what will make my transition easier, knowing that I now have the power to change the way I look at life. I can take on a new perspective influenced by all that I have been taught. I can extend the hospitality shown to me everywhere we traveled. I can explain how travel seems to be the catalyst of personal growth. Although this is just the start of a life long quest to understand humans, I feel like I've learned things I never expected to learn, that ultimately allow me to continue my pursuit. I've learned that my journey has just begun, my passion for travel reinforced, and my curiosity more present then ever before.
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

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The beginning

Lily Hobbs,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

With our trip coming to an end it’s hard not to let my mind wander to the looming question of what’s next? I’ve just spent over ten weeks immersed in three completely foreign cultures, finding the similarities in human nature as well as differences. Now my mind is filled with a never-ending stream of questions. […]

Posted On

04/19/16

Author

Lily Hobbs

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    [post_content] => As I meander through the vineyards in Bucun, a small Tibetan hunting village, I meditate on the Chinese meaning of Lyla. A light drizzle starts to fall and I steal glances of snow-capped mountain peaks between the thick clouds. In ping yin Chinese, lai le (来了), phonetically identical to my name, means "coming." I prefer to view coming as being "on my way." On my way to where, you might ask? A question to which I would wholeheartedly reply "I'm not sure." I don't have a set path and I find that uncertainty enlivening. It makes me live with a greater passion, a greater hunger for raw life experiences. And the transient nature of my Gap Year has taught me that in each moment, I am enough. I am growing. I am on my way.

Sinking my hands into a steaming plate of daal bhat with my fourteen-person family in Kathmandu, I am on my way. Swimming in the Mekong with Cambodian kids from the river island, Koh Ksach Tonlea, I'm on my way. Meditating at 4:00am with Theravada Buddhist Monks, I'm on my way. Sprawling out in front of the fan for a midday nap with my Lao Mother, Mae Biang, I am on my way. Trekking around sacred Himalayan peaks, I am on my way...

With this mindset, I am unafraid of having more questions than answers. I'm empowered by digging into layers of discomfort to find beauty and inspiration at the core of each moment. And if embracing the colorful chaos of the world is part of being on my way, then I am fulfilled. I may not have a fixed trajectory, or a concrete destination, but know that I'm "lai le." I'm coming. I'm Lyla.
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SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

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I’m On My Way

Lyla Connolly,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

As I meander through the vineyards in Bucun, a small Tibetan hunting village, I meditate on the Chinese meaning of Lyla. A light drizzle starts to fall and I steal glances of snow-capped mountain peaks between the thick clouds. In ping yin Chinese, lai le (来了), phonetically identical to my name, means “coming.” I prefer […]

Posted On

04/19/16

Author

Lyla Connolly

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    [post_content] => On the far side of China in the long-lost Tibetan province, Yunnan, there is a very lonely Dutch boy surrounded by a group of Americans sitting on the side of the road eating sunflower seeds. He is looking at giant earth-things that stick out of the ground. He has not seen these things before, but has only heard of them in stories and seen them in pictures. The Americans call them "mountains." As the boy looks at them he feels like a very small human in this big world and he thinks of the many things that the mountains have gone through: all the different leaders that have claimed to own them, the countless people that have lived on and around them. The Earth-things have always been there and have always protected the people from the small village, Bucun. The people of Bucun believe that Kawagabo, the highest of all the mountains, is full of spirits and they have always honored the mountain so nobody has ever been up there. Once there was a Japanese team of mountain climbers who tried to conquer the almighty Kawagabo. The people in the surrounding villages heard this news and they stopped working and instead went to the temple to pray. What happened the next morning is what they call "mother nature taking action." At 4 am there was an avalanche on the mountain that killed the whole Japanese climbing team. Ever since they have forbidden people to climb the holy mountain. 

The Dutch boy smiles and continues to eat his seeds.
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View post

The Lonely Dutch Boy

Kaan Hulst,SPRING: Life Along The Mekong

Description

On the far side of China in the long-lost Tibetan province, Yunnan, there is a very lonely Dutch boy surrounded by a group of Americans sitting on the side of the road eating sunflower seeds. He is looking at giant earth-things that stick out of the ground. He has not seen these things before, but has […]

Posted On

04/19/16

Author

Kaan Hulst

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