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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010


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Back in the honking of Leh, it's hard to believe that we spent the last 4 days living with a local family in Sabu. There are too many aspects of those long, but also fleeting, 4 days, but one image surfaces in my mind:

It is about 1 pm, and all i can hear, besides the grumbling of my stuffed belly ( Ladakhis, as others may have aluded to in their yak yak posts, are offended if you don't eat about a pound full of rice and tagi) is the loud and sporadic Ladakhi words that flow back and forth between my homestay mother and her mother. I sit, absorbing their words but understanding none of them. I relax a bit more as silence settles between them, and then I begin to giggle to myself (yes, I did actually laugh), when I saw them both lay horizontally on the cushioned floor and begin to snore. I felt reassured, in a way, that I could simply rest and watch them snore, feeling the full effect of the Ladakhi meal. But I decided, when they awoke, to take up Max and Alexa's challenge: draw up a family tree. I needed to throw myself at them a little more than i had been, and the snores made me feel a bit guilty.

When the mother awoke, I wrote her name, Lapzong,and a woman stick figure next to it, on a piece of notebook paper. I made another stick figure, hovering below the first, and wrote Dodol, who I learned was her neice. Lapzong had 7 siblings, and Dodol, the adorable 10 year old girl I became really close with, lives with her in Sabu to go to the Maha Bodhi school. Dodol's mother, Rimchem Dolma, lives in Shara village with Dodol's brother. I met two of Lapzon's sisters during my stay, and one of her brothers. One sister, Stanzin, works in a Leh nutrition coalition, and her brother, a monk who lives at the monestary up the hill, came for dinner one night. My scribbled journal paper evolved into a web of names and stick figures, but there is too much information to describe with imagery in this post! The greatest part was making my own family tree, which took up only a third of the space theirs did, and listening contentedly as Lapzong read along my brothers names. Fenn and Rush, if you read this, she had some trouble!

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Family Tree

Addison Hoffman,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

Back in the honking of Leh, it’s hard to believe that we spent the last 4 days living with a local family in Sabu. There are too many aspects of those long, but also fleeting, 4 days, but one image surfaces in my mind: It is about 1 pm, and all i can hear, besides […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Addison Hoffman

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    [post_content] => My homestay experience was different than everyone elses. My family consisted of the mother, father, 2 sisters, and brother. The parents were very traditional, wearing traditional clothing, speaking no english, and praying everyday. The children, however, seemed to be very influenced by western culture. The two daughters wore skinny jeans and sweaters that looked like they were bought at abercrombie. The son was studying architecture in delhi and his life in a large city was clear in the way he acted. Their ringtones were all american artists. I was very surprised to see how much this isolated town with a population of 1000 had been influenced by western culture.
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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Western Influences

Lauren Berke,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

My homestay experience was different than everyone elses. My family consisted of the mother, father, 2 sisters, and brother. The parents were very traditional, wearing traditional clothing, speaking no english, and praying everyday. The children, however, seemed to be very influenced by western culture. The two daughters wore skinny jeans and sweaters that looked like […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Lauren Berke

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I've milked a cow before. Working on a farm in Vermont has always been the highlight of my summers. As I sat under the brown cowat my homestay, however, I felt totally different. Sure, I knew how to physically get milk, but I had never seen the whole process.

First, we herded the cows intoa pen. Then, we collected the old manure, whichwould be used for fuel. One patty can heata pot of water! We milked the older cow, collecting the warm, frothy milk in an old detergent container. We brought the milk inside, and immediatelyboiled it andmade tea with it. It was extremely cool to drink chai with the milk that I got in it.

We leave for our 21 day trek tomorrow!

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Moo

Sarah Zimmerman,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

I’ve milked a cow before. Working on a farm in Vermont has always been the highlight of my summers. As I sat under the brown cowat my homestay, however, I felt totally different. Sure, I knew how to physically get milk, but I had never seen the whole process. First, we herded the cows intoa […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Sarah Zimmerman

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Dear Families,

The North India Himalayan course takes off for their trek tomorrow! Due to sporadic internet access the group has had some difficulty posting yaks and other updates. But the instructor team reports that students are strong, healthy and happy. From tomorrow, the 8th of July, through August 1st, the group will essentially be

incommunicado and away from internet. We have scheduled regular SAT phone check-ins with the instructor team and will keep families updated as news comes in.

During the trek the group will cross two mountain ranges, including the Zanskar Range and the Great Himalayas. The landscape is absolutely breath-taking.

About 11 days into the trek the group will pass through the village of Padum, which is located in the Zanskar Valley. You might be able to locate this town on a detailed map of Ladakh.

The group is very excited to head out early tomorrow! We will keep you apprised of their adventure as the days progress!

Boulder Admin

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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North India Group Heads Off on Trek!

Elizabeth Johnson,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

Dear Families, The North India Himalayan course takes off for their trek tomorrow! Due to sporadic internet access the group has had some difficulty posting yaks and other updates. But the instructor team reports that students are strong, healthy and happy. From tomorrow, the 8th of July, through August 1st, the group will essentially be […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Elizabeth Johnson

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Just finished homestays, pretty awesome. I had a really cool family. My Azhang-le (uncle) stopped by and took my homestay brother and cousin and I for a day off fun trip into Leh. We got icecream, met a snake charmer, visited the Shanti (peace) Stoopa and finished off the day with a visit to their favorite park, right next to the Indus River.

Although the day, and the entire homestay was interesting and fun one thought continued to come up in my thoughts. Children here, although loved are given a lot more freedom. Freedom to do things that an American child would be scolded for. He/she wouldn't be scolded because wat they were doing was naughty, but because it is dangerous. When I played with my homestay brother and sister they repeatedly did things that freaked me out and made me worry. They climbed on and through barbed wire, walked up creaks that had thornbushes and chainlink fence in it, they used a stick with a rusty nail through it as a baseball bat. This is also not to mention that when driving through India, (a dangerous task in its own right) they walked around the tiny car we were in, even getting on a bike and climbing on the driver. To put it shortly, I was pretty stunned, I even learned the Ladakhi word for "careful" or "watch out!", and used it numerous times.

When we had time during the Homestay to discuss what we were thinking with the group I brought up this point. Alexa, my instructor, told me of her friend who explained that children were tougher here and that parents weren't as worried about there kids, not as attached. I found this to be a very interesting idea, worth sharing.

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Dr.

Max Lopez,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

Just finished homestays, pretty awesome. I had a really cool family. My Azhang-le (uncle) stopped by and took my homestay brother and cousin and I for a day off fun trip into Leh. We got icecream, met a snake charmer, visited the Shanti (peace) Stoopa and finished off the day with a visit to their […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Max Lopez

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We just got back from the small village of Sabu where we spent our homestays.I was in a house with a small family, my homestay brother Thinles (18 years old) was fluent in english which took off most of the pressure to learn to speak Ladakhi. One thing I noticed in Sabu was that everytime I introduced myself to a villager, faces would light up with recognition and they would go "Ah, Yes! Michael Jackson!". I guess the king of pop really gets around.

One thingI didn't expect in Sabu was to be treated like a king. Part of the culture in Ladakh is to treat guests like royalty, and being pampered was pretty nice. I remember in the first few awkward minutes of coversation with Thinles we were discussing out favorite fruits, and i mentioned apricots as one of mine. An hour later, after I had forgotten the conversation, Thinles presented me with a massive bag of dried apricots, grown on the family's apricot trees. Another aspect of royalty was being given the largest room in the house and waking up to chai (milk tea) and cookies in bed every morning. I was also given hot water to shower with.

On a tour of town Thinles and i walked about a 5 mile circumference and saw a fox and a marmot, which was pretty cool. I also spent some time working in the fields and feeding the cows.

Another big cultural difference was when the familybrought out their photo albums to show me. Unlike a typical American photo album which shows pictures of the family, this album was full of pictures of people from the town of Sabu, including people of no relation to my family on vacation. It's kind of an example of how close-knit Sabu is. Gossip gets around really fast, and by the end of the homestay people who I had never met knew my name.

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Sir

Mike Pauker,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

We just got back from the small village of Sabu where we spent our homestays.I was in a house with a small family, my homestay brother Thinles (18 years old) was fluent in english which took off most of the pressure to learn to speak Ladakhi. One thing I noticed in Sabu was that everytime […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Mike Pauker

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Dear North India Families,

We just received word from the instructor team and they requested that we post a yak. The group is currently in the village of Sabu, about 25 minutes outside of Leh. There is no internet access in Sabu, and internet connections in Leh have been down for a couple of days. The group is hoping to head into Leh tomorrow to find the internet up and working! They will send yaks as soon as they are able!

The students are in their first night of a four day homestay in the village of Sabu. They spent the day working in the fields with their homestay hosts and learning how to milk cows! Max, Alexa and Rigzin report that the student group is performing wonderfully and they are thoroughly impressed with the level of maturity and energy exhibited by the students. Everyone is healthy and feeling strong.

We will update you as necessary until internet is up and running in Leh!

Best,

Boulder Admin

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Homestays in Sabu!

Elizabeth Johnson,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

Dear North India Families, We just received word from the instructor team and they requested that we post a yak. The group is currently in the village of Sabu, about 25 minutes outside of Leh. There is no internet access in Sabu, and internet connections in Leh have been down for a couple of days. […]

Posted On

07/2/10

Author

Elizabeth Johnson

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As I sit in an internet cafe, quiet Indian music playing in the background, a monk at a computer, having just ate my first meal outside of the guest house I try to find words to describe what I'm feeling right now. To explain the grand scope of the enviroment, the mountains, the city, the people is to great to describe here. Instead I will try to relate my first experience that made me realize that I was away, in a wonderfully foreign land, in Leh Ladak, the land that got me through my finals.

We arrived in the airport in Leh and the surrounding mountains were truly spectacular. However, one could not focus on the rocky back drop as our group went to claim our packs. We stepped into the Leh airport, one room with one conveyer belt and we joined the small chaos of getting our bags together. I was quickly pushed aside by a small old woman, who muttered something indiscriminantly at me, pushing a giant cart of baggage, her eyes pointing in opposite directions.

I will never forget that small tibetan woman who so forcefully pushed me aside. As she shoved me and I looked around at the people in the airport, the absolute alienness of it all, the squat toilets, homemade warning signs, Indian army personnel, it hit me that I was finally here.

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Leh-Finally Here

Max Lopez,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

As I sit in an internet cafe, quiet Indian music playing in the background, a monk at a computer, having just ate my first meal outside of the guest house I try to find words to describe what I’m feeling right now. To explain the grand scope of the enviroment, the mountains, the city, the […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Max Lopez

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Most of the time we've spent in Leh so far has been acclimating to the altitude to avoid AMS and other altitude related sickness. We've taken a few slow walks around the city and one of the things that strikes me the most about Ladahki culture is the way men touch each other and are generally involved in each other's personal space. In western society, holding hands while walking down the street suggests a sexual or romantic relationship. Here in Leh, the same gesture is a freindly way of communicating a fraternal relationship with another man. At first what I saw was unsettling, butI think its nice in its own way. People here don't share the same ideas we do about personal space, and something as simple as a handshake that lasts through a conversation conveys a friendly intimacy which is soimething we dont reallly have back in the states.

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Mr.

Mike Pauker,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

Most of the time we’ve spent in Leh so far has been acclimating to the altitude to avoid AMS and other altitude related sickness. We’ve taken a few slow walks around the city and one of the things that strikes me the most about Ladahki culture is the way men touch each other and are […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Mike Pauker

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Yesterday we flew in to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, from Delhi. Initially I was distraught at the idea of having to board another plane, as my body still ached from the previous 21 hours of air time to get to India from LAX. Although I started out the flight in a bad mood (we had to wake at 3:30 a.m. to catch the plane), my spirits were immediately lifted when we started to cross over the Himalayas.

Throughout the course of the flight, there was so much cloud coverage that it was impossible to see the ground. Luckily, however, the clouds broke midway through the venture and revealed what had been lying beneath. Or towering beneath, I should say.

The Himalayas, snow-capped, treacherous, beautiful, were a reminder tome of why I had made the trip. The wonder of them made the previous flights, airport food, lack of sleep and absence of hygiene worth it.

Quickly, I took out my camera to capture the beauty of the mountains, as they are impossible to describe. Soon I found myself taking picture upon picture, as the Himalayas changed with each mile we flew. From snow peaked crests, to steep, sandy slopes; I found them irresistible and couldn't focus on anything else.

Although only a glimpse, a teaser of what was yet to come, my 30 minute view of the mountains I will spend the coming weeks in was wonderful; I can only ask that I get to know them better.

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North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

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Flight to Leh

Dylan Todd,North India: Himalayan Adventure, Summer 2010

Description

Yesterday we flew in to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, from Delhi. Initially I was distraught at the idea of having to board another plane, as my body still ached from the previous 21 hours of air time to get to India from LAX. Although I started out the flight in a bad mood (we […]

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Dylan Todd

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