Location: Dharamsala

Everyone seems to be catching a cold lately! Whether it was that or the rain, today’s breakfast at Common Ground felt vaguely more tranquil than usual, and the 9:30 AM session with our learning partners somewhat snuck up on us. I was happy to see Tashi, but sad that it was my second-to-last day with my learning partner! I believe that most of us had similar sentiments. Five of us ended up in the same cafe for today’s session; soon the air was full of the warming fragrance of piping cups of honey lemon ginger and the hum of English conversation practice. I’m not sure what everyone else was studying, but the dense passages on economic theory Tashi suggested we review had me sincerely relieved I’d read some similar material a few months prior!


After lunch, we nipped out for a quick shopping trip, looking for something meaningful or functional to offer our partners as a good-bye gift. I think I dragged Izzy into three different bookstores during my search! Next, Izzy and I headed to Lha Fair Trade as usual, where we cataloged more products and discussed ways for the organization to gain prominence on social media. Finally, it was time for my favorite part of the afternoon: English conversation class! Today I found myself switching between mulling over the virtues of compassion and a lively discussion about social mobility. I chatted with Teos learning partner and a few monks I had enjoyed speaking within previous lessons, as well as some new faces. Handling a larger group had proven something of a challenge for me yesterday, but today, I believe I can say that each person in my group (including myself) was reluctant to leave at the conclusion of the hour.


Back at Common Ground, I miraculously still had enough energy to participate in a momo-making session, which I had been looking forward to for several days. Rabsel was just as excellent a teacher as he is a chef, and before long we were turning out momo after momo as if we had been doing it all our lives, well maybe not quite that quickly, but we still made some pretty awesome momos! Stomachs full of juicy momos made us brave enough to venture down the 300 steps to the monastery without fear of any monkey, and each of us was happy to return to our room after a delicious end to an equally great day.