Location: Dharamsala

Today I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 6:30 am. I woke everybody up for a 7:00 am yoga lesson. We set up the mats on the roof of the monastery, overlooking mountains and lower Dharamsala. We were all quite tired. As our intro to yoga started, I began to wake up. We started with some breathing exercise and then went into sun salutations. We ended with a few people trying to do headstands, with help from the teacher. 

Then I had to walk up the dreaded 350 stairs, which honestly never gets any easier. Today I decided to time the amount of time it takes me to walk up the stairs and was shocked to find out that it only takes us around five minutes! I promise each minute feels like an hour. It just gets harder each day. When we got to the common ground, we had the usual Nutella on pancakes breakfast. 

At 9:30 my learning partner picked me up and we went and sat at a cafe. Normally we do a lot of vocabulary and reading, but today we spent the whole time talking. I remember on the first day we ran out of things to talk about, but now we were in the middle of a conversation by the time it was 12:30. I am going to miss Tsekyi (my learning partner) so much. We have gotten close over the past week and a half.  I hope that one day she will join her husband in New York and we can stay connected. 

We had lunch at a Korean restaurant and then took a taxi ride to TCV. Today went much better than yesterday. I asked the older kids about what makes a hero and wrote it on a big poster. Then I had them write about who their hero was and share it with the group. I read over what they wrote when I got back and was surprised at how advanced their English was. We ended with a big dance-off with the whole group. At first, no one was dancing, but by the end, everyone was a lot more comfortable.  

After that, we went back to Common Ground Cafe and learned how to make the famous Momos. Repsal showed us all the different shapes that Momos can be made. When we got a chance to try it for ourselves, we realized that he had made it seem so much easier than it was. All of us struggled to make our Momos look even slightly appealing. They brought out our Momos for dinner, and some made by the cooks and ours were eaten last. 

We then headed back down the stairs to the monastery being careful to avoid slugs and poop which are normally everywhere. We got some free time before we headed to the hall. Today my question was about genetic modification, especially in humans. It’s hard to think about that we only have two more full days in Dharmasala. I came into this program not knowing what to expect, and this trip has exceeded my expectations. I know that when I get home, I want to bring awareness about the situation in Tibet to my school. It’s hard for me to think that so many people don’t know about it. I mean I didn’t know anything before I came on this trip. They brought up the note cards today (At the end of each trip we write a note card for each person on the trip about what we like about them and funny memories), and it just makes me realize how fast this trip has gone and how soon I will be back home again.