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    [post_date] => 2008-10-13 00:00:00
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Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' "Sikkim: Spiritual Traditions of Northeast India"summer program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.


Week One:
Orientation in LA; fly to Calcutta. Night train to Siliguri and travel to Darjeeling, Begin language study, introduction to Buddhist and Hindu tradition; survey of development and aid work.

Week Two:
Home-stay in Darjeeling; ISP work, internships. Visit local monasteries, meet with well-respected craftsmen, teachers, community leaders. Learn about the tea plantations, colonial history and history of international relations / Indian identity.

Week Three:
Travel North to Gangtok, Sikkim, (additional potential homestay site); learn about Tibetan community in exile. Visit Rumtek and Enchey monasteries, and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. Survey lectures on various environmental issues in the region, and local environmental policy.

Week Four:
5-day home-stay with Nepali, Lepcha and/or Tibetan families. Service work, further ISP and internship opportunities. Or, 5-days of rugged trekking in Kanchenjunga National Park. Final days, return to Calcutta via jeep and train to explore the markets and temples of this ancient, colorful city.

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Sikkim: Sample Itinerary

Dragons Administration,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons’ "Sikkim: Spiritual Traditions of Northeast India"summer program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for […]

Posted On

10/13/08

Author

Dragons Administration

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-08-25 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

I never thought I would miss squatting. I never thought I would miss feeling extremely dirty and uncomfortable. I never thought I would miss the annoying roosters outside of my window at 5am.

As I sit here in my small bedroom in San Francisco and hear the Muni train rushing by every 10 minutes and the Prius' bustling down my street (without honking every 10 seconds), I can't help but miss the winding roads, the land slides, and the people I travelled with to India this summer. After settling back into civilization, I have finally started to take paved roads and showers for granted again and to be honest, it's depressing. I wish I could be in India again and wish for the luxuries instead of having them at my finger tips. Is that weird?

Going to India this summer was the best thing I ever did for myself. Everyone on the trip brought and taught me something new about this world. I never thought I could become so close to so many different people in four short weeks. While I'll be the first to admit that sometimes it was aggravating and I was the probably at times a huge pain in the butt to travel with, I couldn't think of a better group to do it with than ours.

I miss you guys and I hope you're all making 5s nowadays.

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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now when I poop I rate it and think of you

RM,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

I never thought I would miss squatting. I never thought I would miss feeling extremely dirty and uncomfortable. I never thought I would miss the annoying roosters outside of my window at 5am. As I sit here in my small bedroom in San Francisco and hear the Muni train rushing by every 10 minutes and […]

Posted On

08/25/08

Author

RM

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    [post_date] => 2008-08-10 00:00:00
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Hello...

This is Rajus Adress - I think you need it Andrew.

Raju Moktan
Central Bank of India (Above)

Cell # 0091 9733457737

Post Office: Ghoom, PC : 73102

Dist: Darjeeling (West Bengal)

India

And if anyone Knows Dougs Email, please email it to me - AkedoMakona@gmail.com

Thanks

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Address – Andrew, Doug

Jason Cohen,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

Hello… This is Rajus Adress – I think you need it Andrew. Raju MoktanCentral Bank of India (Above) Cell # 0091 9733457737 Post Office: Ghoom, PC : 73102 Dist: Darjeeling (West Bengal) India And if anyone Knows Dougs Email, please email it to me – AkedoMakona@gmail.com Thanks

Posted On

08/10/08

Author

Jason Cohen

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    [post_date] => 2008-08-02 00:00:00
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During our time in India, I think all of us at one point or another thought about how we could share all the beautiful photos we took in India.

Fortunately, Facebook has been a remarkably good way to keep in touch, upload photos to our own profiles, and share them with our friends and fellow 'Sikkim 2008' group members.

But I was thinking, what if we could put ALL our photos in one place? Students and instructors included.

Thus, I made a new account on Photobucket.com where we can put up all our photos that can be found at this url: http://photobucket.com/Sikkim2008

Anyone can upload their photos using this password:

india2008

Doug, Sweta, Germaine, I hope your all doing well and I would love to see the pictures you all took up on photobucket.

Best,

Erica

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Post-Sikkim

Erica Sellers,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

During our time in India, I think all of us at one point or another thought about how we could share all the beautiful photos we took in India. Fortunately, Facebook has been a remarkably good way to keep in touch, upload photos to our own profiles, and share them with our friends and fellow […]

Posted On

08/2/08

Author

Erica Sellers

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Hello, Hello!

I have been thinkin about you all a lot and I hope this finds you all well, settling into being home and rested after our wonderful adventures together. The update is that Jason is on his way home and is ok after a very busy 5 days running around Bangkok. I do love unexpected adventures and this definitely was one! And it turns out I am staying in Asia for a few more weeks so all is well on my end.

I would love to hear from you guys and hear of your expereinces now that you are home. You all had such a wonderful impact on my life and as always taught me so much. Thank you for that, and thank you to each and everyone of you for being exactly who you are. You are all beautiful young people and it was a pleasure to spend this last month with you all. I hope to be in touch.

Nina, I am so sorry to hear about your backpack! It is such a hard reality to end your trip on and I am very sorry.

I hope to hear from you all. My e-mail is germaine12@gmail.com. Be in touch.

Much love,

Germaine

[post_title] => Sawadee-ka from Thailand [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sawadee-ka-from-thailand [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2008-08-02 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=53524 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 446 [name] => Sikkim, Summer 2008 [slug] => sikkim-summer-2008 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 446 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 248 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 29.1 [cat_ID] => 446 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Sikkim, Summer 2008 [category_nicename] => sikkim-summer-2008 [category_parent] => 248 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2008/sikkim-summer-2008/ ) ) [category_links] => Sikkim, Summer 2008 )

Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Sawadee-ka from Thailand

Germaine,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

Hello, Hello! I have been thinkin about you all a lot and I hope this finds you all well, settling into being home and rested after our wonderful adventures together. The update is that Jason is on his way home and is ok after a very busy 5 days running around Bangkok. I do love […]

Posted On

08/2/08

Author

Germaine

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-07-29 00:00:00
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Somewhere between Calcutta and LA my checked bag was opened and a bunch of my stuff was stolen, including my toiletries case which held all the gifts I bought in India in it. Everything irreplacable (with the exception of some clothes) was stolen, and everything replacable and not worth much sentimentally was left. The beautiful sandals I bought on the street in Calcutta are gone, as well as all the jewelry I bought during my ISP on Himalayan Jewlery, including a really special handpainted yak bone mala. Everything I spent money on in India is now gone.

I'm trying to take this as a last exercise in attachment (or detachment). They're only things--I'm fine, my cameras are fine, and my approximately 400 digital pictures and six rolls of black and white film are thankfully still with me, as is the journal I kept fasidiously, so I have all the most important things. It all only boils down to money (well...not really, but I'm trying). It's even harder though, because my attachment to these things caused me so much distraction I couldn't focus and reflect on anything and everything else I did this trip that wasn't buying the things in that bag. In a way, there's a sort of cloud/fog over the past month and when I try to think about it all I hit is the fact that my stuff is gone instead of being able to think about and synthesize everything real and more important that's happened. And there's this sort of feeling connected to that that everything I had to show for going to India is gone, which of course isn't true, but again, I'm prevented from finding what I really have to show for my trip by the intense distraction.

I keep telling myself--they're just things, just things, just things--and I don't think that it's working to the extent that I'll come away from this having zero attachment to material possessions, but hopefully it'll get me to focus on the more intangible things I'm bringing back from India--hopefully a lot of awareness and appreciation and sense of obligation and compassion, and I don't even know what else yet.

In the end, some things are irreplacable but none of them really matter, or account/amount for everything I've done and seen.

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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An Exercise in Attachment

Nina Blass,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

Somewhere between Calcutta and LA my checked bag was opened and a bunch of my stuff was stolen, including my toiletries case which held all the gifts I bought in India in it. Everything irreplacable (with the exception of some clothes) was stolen, and everything replacable and not worth much sentimentally was left. The beautiful […]

Posted On

07/29/08

Author

Nina Blass

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    [post_date] => 2008-07-27 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Dear Sikkim Parents:

At this very moment, your students are on their flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles. We are writing to notify you of a last-minute change of plans. Germaine Bartlett-Graff, the course instructor who was chaperoning the students on their return, had to remain in Bangkok due to a medical emergency, and is NOT currently on the Bangkok-Los Angeles flight. Germaine assured us that this group was a mature, self-aware bunch of young adults who would have no problem navigating the LAX arrival (especially after a month of traveling in India!). Nevertheless, we are doing our best to have a Dragons representative meet the group at the airport – but cannot guarantee we will be able to find someone in time.

Most students are staying overnight at the Hacienda Hotel (the same hotel where the program began) and feel comfortable taking the courtesy shuttle to get there. The students have their hotel booking confirmation numbers as well as 24-7 contact numbers for Dragons’ Admissions Director, Abrie Brutsche. The Hacienda has been notified that the students are arriving unescorted, and will be asking each student to call home when they arrive at the hotel. You should be expecting a late call tonight; students arrive at LAX at 9:25pm – so it will probably be close to midnight PST when they reach the Hacienda. You can contact the hotel directly at: 800-421-5900, give them your student’s name, and say they are with the Where There Be Dragons group.

We apologize for this bit of confusion, and we hope you feel comfortable with these arrangements. If you have concerns and wish to speak with someone from Dragons, please call our office at 800-982-9203 and leave a message on extension 20 or 10. We will be checking these periodically throughout the day and will get back to you quickly.

As a reminder, the students are currently flying on Thai Airways #TG 794, which departed BKK at 7:20pm and are set to arrive LAX at 9:25pm.

Best Regards,

Dragons Boulder Administration

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Return Flight Info and Important Update

Dragons Admin,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

Dear Sikkim Parents: At this very moment, your students are on their flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles. We are writing to notify you of a last-minute change of plans. Germaine Bartlett-Graff, the course instructor who was chaperoning the students on their return, had to remain in Bangkok due to a medical emergency, and is […]

Posted On

07/27/08

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_date] => 2008-07-27 00:00:00
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Hi Everybody!

As I write this the group is most likely enjoying Som Tum (green papaya salad) outside a beautiful temple complex somewhere in Bangkok. Germaine and 12 happy but tired students headed onto the airplane last night at about 2am local time and arrived a few hours later in Bangkok. Their departure was smooth out of India last night and they have arrived in Thailand already. In a few hours they will board thenext flightfor the USA. Sweta and Doug are remaining in country to take care of some preparations for the upcoming semester programs.

We have had many goodbyes in the last few days. So many people have given us so much, and opened up many doors for us over the last few weeks helping to makesometruly unique, wonderful, and unforgettable experiences happen. There have been many moments of sadnessas we near the end of our time together and upon nearing the end of this incredible journey. But these last few dayshave also been filled with great moments of happiness and satisfaction when we look at ourselves and each other and see how much we have grown, learned and changed and how close we have become.

Very soon your loved ones will be back with you, and as you will see they are returning a little dirty, a lot tired, and possibly a little changed by their experiences in India... Thank you for sending them on this journey this summer. I speak for all the instructors - Germaine, Sweta and myself - when I say we are honored to have had this great time learning from them and to have joined them on thisadventure.

Doug

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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On the way back home…

Doug Sandok,Sikkim, Summer 2008

Description

Hi Everybody! As I write this the group is most likely enjoying Som Tum (green papaya salad) outside a beautiful temple complex somewhere in Bangkok. Germaine and 12 happy but tired students headed onto the airplane last night at about 2am local time and arrived a few hours later in Bangkok. Their departure was smooth […]

Posted On

07/27/08

Author

Doug Sandok

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    [post_date] => 2008-07-24 00:00:00
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Ok, I know it has been a while since I have posted, and a LOT has happened. So I'll try to keep it brief. We stayed for about a week in Kalimpong, mostly working on the school as well as hanging out with our home-stay families. I loved my family in Kalimpong, they were all very sweet and treated me like a member of the family. The food my ahma and didi (mother and sister) made was amazing, and my last night with the family we had a dance party. I looked like an idiot because all the songs were Nepali or Hindi, so I did not know any of them, but we still had a lot of fun. After Kalimpong we went to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and stayed for a night or two at a hotel there. Gangtok was a really cool city, I especially liked how the road of the market was closed off to cars. We even got to see a Hindu shaman get possessed, which was a very intense and emotional experience for all of us. After Gangtok we drove to West Sikkim and stayed in a little village called Tatung. There I had the cutest home-stay brother (bhai) who was only 3. From Tatung the next morning we hiked to Thingling, and the hike was very grueling. We had to take lots of stops, but it was well worth it for the amazing view that was afforded us at most of the points during the hike. However, after that hike we decided to lighten our loads for the next couple days of hiking, which made the rest of the hike much more enjoyable. After staying a night in Thingling we hiked to Yoksum, the first capital of Sikkim. Yoksum had lots of interesting sites, like the coronation ground and the holy lake. After Yoksum we hiked part of the way to Tashiding, however, due to a landslide, most of us opted out of the rest of the hike. In Tashiding I stayed with the family of the head lama of Tashiding. We stayed there for two nights,and while there wevisited the very holy Tashiding monastery. On our last night a group performed traditional Sikkimese dances for us, but I wasn't feeling well so I had to leave early. The next morning we headed back to Gangtok, and after lunch the boys went to a local monastery while the girls went to a local nunnery. I don't have many details about the girl's stay, but ours was incredible. We slept in the actual shrine room, under the watchful eyes of Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha. Most of the time we played Karam-board, a game similar to pool involving chips that are flicked into the holes. The monks were really good, and we... not so much. After that stay we finally went on our way to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is very different from Gangtok and Kalimpong in that it is so far the most touristy place we've been (except maybe Kolkata). It also is a very cool town, and this is where we've worked on our ISPs. For my ISP, I silversmithed with a local guy who is amazing. In my five days of work I made a bracelet, two rings, and a pendant that says "Olm" in Tibetan. I am very satisfied with the outcome of my project. My home-stay family here in Darjeeling is also very nice, and so far I have learned how to make momos and played many games of chess with my 7-year-old brother. Now our trip is coming to an end, and I am really sad to leave. However, I am going to try as hard as I can to enjoy these last two or three days as much as I can despite that hanging over them. I will see you all very soon.

- Michael

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Darjeeling

Michael Stamm,Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Ok, I know it has been a while since I have posted, and a LOT has happened. So I’ll try to keep it brief. We stayed for about a week in Kalimpong, mostly working on the school as well as hanging out with our home-stay families. I loved my family in Kalimpong, they were all […]

Posted On

07/24/08

Author

Michael Stamm

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This is our last full day in Darjeeling. Tomorrow we begin our travels homeward, and what a strange thing that is. I remember the beginning of the program, and I am surprised that I've made it as far as I have, and I'm surprised that it's practically over. I had a teacher this year in school who put a small figurine above the blackboard during our very first class together. He told us that before we knew it, it would be coming down and the year would be over. Sure enough, the end of the year came, and the little guy came down, and as my teacher walked away to put the plastic man in his desk, my own mind went back to the beginning and then soared through everything in between.

Similarly, Sweta gave each girl three bangles at the beginning of the trip, and I put mine on immediately, and I left them on my right wrist the whole trip. Yesterday, however, while "listening" to a speaker, I pulled one off, and suddenly, the whole trip jumped into my mind. I remember arriving in Calcutta completely exhausted, piling into a taxi, driving like mad through the city, and being shocked by the poverty that lined the streets. I remember stepping out of the Jeeps from NJP to Kalimpong at Kamala's homestay and being relieved that it looked like a nice place to stay, with comfortable beds and little dirt. I remember meeting my homestay mother and being so nervous, and I remember not wanting to leave Kalimpong because of how attached I'd become to my family. I remember the day in Gangtok, when I was so fed up with everyone and everything I could have broken down and cried, and I remember walking around alone and finding that really, it was ok. I remember the first day of the trek, when the group seemed to fall apart, and I remember dancing on the last night in Tashiding, when the group was having so much fun. I remember the nun at the nunnery who spoke no English, yet who took me into her room and showed me how to use my mala, and then proceeded to give me a gift. I remember arriving at my Darjeeling homestay and feeling like I actually could speak a little Nepali. I remember the monk I met who was so kind and willing to show me his monastary and willing to talk to me, and I remember smiling on the way home. There is so much here that I remember and so much I hope never to forget.

We had a kind of disorientation today, up at the Observatory Tower, which is a Hindu and Buddhist shrine of sorts, I guess. Of course, more memories came up, and more feelings appeared, and I realized, not for the first time, that my own recognition of what this trip has done to me is minute for the moment. All the things I remember are just the facts; the feelings I felt during those times and the feelings I feel now and the thoughts that run through my mind have yet to make sense to me. It's going to be a while before I know what all this means - heck, a complete understand may never come. What I do know is that this experience has been monumental, and I'm sad to see it go, even if there were times when all I wanted was to be home, snuggled up in bed with hot chocolate in my hands and a movie playing before me.

I'm so happy I came, and I'm so happy to soak up the last 24 hours of Darj and the last however many hours I have with this group, maybe figuring out a little better just what did happen in India.

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Sikkim, Summer 2008

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Wrapping up

Heather Mayer,Sikkim, Summer 2008

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This is our last full day in Darjeeling. Tomorrow we begin our travels homeward, and what a strange thing that is. I remember the beginning of the program, and I am surprised that I’ve made it as far as I have, and I’m surprised that it’s practically over. I had a teacher this year in […]

Posted On

07/24/08

Author

Heather Mayer

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