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Location: Dharamsala

I woke up knowing two things: today was the Mariko concert, and it would be the second to last time we would have to walk the 300 steps from the monastery to the town. Once at the top we had a delicious breakfast, this time with French toast and honey as well as the usual potatoes, fluffy pancakes and toast. After eating we were greeted by our learning partners and decided to go shopping on the main streets of Mcleod Ganj. I bought a book, some pants, and a Tibetan singing bowl, after an exhausting hour of bargaining with shopkeepers we decided to have a break at a cafe called “black tent,” where we indulged ourselves with vanilla milkshakes and helped our learning partners with grammatical sentence structure while enjoying some traditional American romcom. At around 12:15 we headed towards lunch where we had Italian food on an outdoor patio facing the mountains. It was a delicious meal! Later we had an hour of free time, and we went right back to shopping since today was our last time to shop in Dharamshala. The afternoon was filled with a lovely tea party at TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) where we watched traditional Tibetan dance from 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. They all were wearing beautiful Tibetan dresses. It was adorable and magical. After resting ourselves at the monastery, we headed to the night’s big event: the Mariko Megashow 2. It was a variety show comprised of many Tibetan artists from India, Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal who performed songs, dances, and even a fashion show. Mariko, however, was the star of the show. She is the first openly transgender woman in the Tibetan community in exile. In the middle of the show, she was surprised with a cake and sparklers to celebrate her birthday.