Location: Dharamsala

The monsoon season has officially started in Dharamsala, meaning rainy and muddy walks up the 312 steps to town. Today we were finally able to sleep in a little, and some of us decided to do a morning yoga class with a Tibetan yogi. Some of us struggled with our lack of flexibility, but it was a relaxing experience. Around midday, we walked up the stairs to the Common Ground Cafe for yet another delicious meal. After fully digesting, most of us dispersed to fulfill our dire shopping needs. It was rainy and cold, but very much worth it as we got all of our shopping done (including souvenirs for our lovely parents, of course!) Later in the afternoon, a group of us went to Lhamos Kitchen to learn how to make momos, the traditional Tibetan dumplings. It was hard to get the shape of the dough just right, but after the fillings were put in and the dumplings were cooked, we got to eat them. It was very satisfying.

We returned to our home base, Common Ground, for a short rest before hitting the TIPA concert, celebrating His Holiness the Dalai Lamas 78th birthday. TIPA stands for the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Their performers were either singing, dancing, or playing an instrument; and all numbers were related to Tibet and His Holiness. Although most of the performers were Tibetan, there were also artists from France, India, Australia, and the US. There was even Tibet’s first heavy metal artist who performed! Towards the end, the entire audience was singing along to the Tibetan songs, and it was very moving. After walking down the treacherously muddy and dark stairs, we finished up the day with a delicious and hot meal of pizza. We return to our normal weekday routine tomorrow and are all very excited to work with our mutual learning partners and TCV kids.