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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Always working!

That Lama Tenzin

The Roommate you never love

It was the first or second night that I THOUGHT I had a little roommate - I figured it was a little lizard like last time - they are kind of neat but creepy at the same time. They are a funny yellow color and have sucker toes so they walk up the walls and fall off on a regular basis. This roommate seemed a little faster than a lizard. After staying up later than I should and then getting myself ALL freaked out about what it might be, I finally saw that it was a little mouse. Not my favorite but he seemed a little more terrified of me so we came to an agreement. I hung all my stuff that I didn’t want him to bother on a hanger on the wall and zipped it tight. I also took all of the things that might be confused for food down to the kitchen. He ate a boarding pass. Seemed fair enough.

The Beginning

When I arrived I was so excited to see the girls - Lama Tenzin had told me he was bringing the older girls to the airport to meet me. The new airport is really nice and pretty big - the girls were waiting outside of Door 6, I came out of door 6..they were “upside” Door 6, I was “downside”... took me a while to find an elevator, find my way, and find the girls. It was fun to sneak up on them from behind though and ask..”whacha lookin’ for?”
We spent the first night in Delhi at Hotel Ama and were planning on doing some shopping the next day. It was pretty much too hot to shop so we headed to Dehra Dun. We did stop at an Indian version of Sam’s Club on the way, Lama Convinced the guy to let us in without a membership. He loves wholesale prices - loves them! We bought some stuff for our trip, stuff for the kids, and Tang. Lama loves to drink Tang - should have is orange!

Here, now

So, I am back home and I can finally add more to my blog... there is a whole story about  lack of internet, a broadband device that the Punjabi guy PROMISED would work as far north as the TATA trucks go (which is as far north as there is), the difficulty of carrying a laptop around and finding wireless, and how I finally had internet the night I returned to CED which was the day before I left to come home.
With all of that being said, I apologize to those of you who were waiting for an update of any kind and found yourself with nothing. I will now do my best to share with you my amazing, horrifying, lovely, dirty, exhausting and energizing trip to India to visit those wonderful, wonderful children.

Friday, June 15, 2012

7 Days difference

What a difference a week can hold. It's SO good to be here with the kids and everyone else from CED!
I can't really believe it has already been 7 days since I started this journey.
The jet lag has been tough, so has the heat, and so have my lovely swollen feet, ankles, and fingers. The air quality is absolutely horrible. I think the locals think they are helping themselves out by burning their trash at night - so it's not so hot - but it really really stinks and makes for a miserable stench and sleeping with the windows open is a requirement since it is probably still around 90-95 degrees (it's 11:30 pm) and all we have are fans.

On a positive note, today we started the packing process for our upcoming trip. We will ALL be heading to northern India to an area called Ladakh. It is an old Tibetan Kingdom and somewhere the children have never been.
I think it will be fun but challenging. It will last about 20 days - we will be camping for some of those nights, hotels for other nights...

Camping. 22 kids. 20 days. I know you envy me!

All of the older kids had a job and a list today - cooking/ kitchen supplies, food to bring to cook, getting cameras/tech ready, checking to see that everyone was getting appropriate clothes. Tonight, around 10, Lama Tenzin had a "roll call" of sorts - an inspection of everyone's clothes before they went into the bags so that he knows that everyone has everything he asked them to pack. That Lama, always thinking!

I know lots of folks are wondering where the pictures are - coming soon is my answer, I had to make some room on my hard drive and I did that today.

And for those of you who sent money - Lama Tenzin and I have been discussing some of the needs the kids have right now. Their flooring is vinyl and was in pretty bad shape 2 years ago. It is patched in many places and now it's in really bad shape - of course, he knows a guy where he can get his "wholesale price" so that is one very real possibility. This upcoming trip is going to be a pretty significant cost (to them). What would it cost us to take 22 kids on vacation for 20 days?
The money can help offset that too - AND the kids need some new clothes - I hear we might be hitting the store called Las Vegas. The girls were excited!
Then there are the basics - the phone bill, the light bill, the milk bill, diapers for Pema Choezon, the list goes on and every little bit helps.

I'll keep you posted :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Things I had Forgotten

When it is this hot, the only place where you feel it is where your skin touches because otherwise, the sweat dries so fast that you don’t know you are even sweating.

The most beautiful sound in the world has to be the sound of these children praying.

The names of the “night dogs” who are now the day dogs...

The sight of Pema Dechen scratching all the time because of lice

The girls have all kinds of questions.

They are all genuinely thankful

How much rice they think I should be able to eat - same for lentil soup

In Delhi, there are so many men who sleep in the middle of the road on the divider, on the side of the road, on their bikes, on their rickshaws, on top of the trucks. You can’t drive anywhere without seeing them. Lama Tenzin says the exhausts and constant movement of cars keeps the mosquitos away.

Nap time is wonderful.

Nighttime traffic and driving is treacherous. It is like the nightmare of accidentally going the wrong way on an interstate at home except you are doing it on purpose.

There is a dog conspiracy. It begins precisely when you turn your lights off and put your head on your pillow. The barking lasts for at least an hour. Interspersed with howling. And growling. Under your window.

There is a fierce, cold wind that slams open the windows and shutters and chills you in seconds.

The dog Darling likes to sit on my foot.

The six hour drive from Delhi usually takes us about eleven hours. That’s how we roll...

The foot lift and hand flick that is quickly and naturally developed in response to the absurd number of flies.

While a cold shower sounds refreshing, it really is cold.

I don’t mind not understanding their language. It is nice to sit back, glean meaning, and not be required to contribute. I still laugh when it’s funny though because their smiles are contagious.

Every meal is carbs. and lentils. but mostly carbs. Breakfast was fried bread and potatoes. Lunch was rice, potatoes, lentils, and a couple of slices of cucumber along with a banana shake. Dinner will be kidney beans and tigmo ( steamed Tibetan bread)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This time, next week...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who plays this game before a trip... This time next week, I'll be________.
I'll still be traveling. I leave Atlanta next Friday around 6 pm. It's about 19- 23 hours of travel to get where I'm going. Atlanta to Paris, couple hours layover (read: croissant and café time) and then Paris to Delhi where I arrive around 11 pm Delhi time.
I'm so excited. I spoke with Lama Tenzin and some of the girls yesterday.
Hard to believe that it's been 2 years already. I can't wait to see how they've grown and changed. I really can't wait to just see them all, give them hugs, hold their hands, hear their laughs.
This time next week...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fill the bag

Look at all the goodies for the kids! My generous friends have certainly pitched in!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

13 and counting

13 days and I'm outta here!

I have got to be honest and say that I have had some MAJOR anxiety this week - mostly around the fear of, wait for it.....
being cold.
Seriously. Being cold.
So, of course when I get there, I will spend the first few days in CED in Dehra Dun where it will most likely be on the up side of 100 degrees. Then we will begin heading to up to Ladakh which is way further north than Dehra Dun. It might be cold at night...around 30 or so. I hate being cold. hate it.
So, I have purchased some CRAZY warm clothes and my friend Sarah has hooked me up with a wonderful down sleeping bag. My anxiety has completely dissipated.
It's amazing how when I asked for help and was open to receive it, that my heart is so much lighter, and my worries are lifted. What an amazing gift!
Thank you dear friends for helping me with all of your love and support.
And so the lessons begin.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Preparations Begin!

Well, friends, it's time to start back blogging....
The bags are out and I am heading back to India!

I am excited and it is slowly becoming very "real". Today I am organizing some "get-togethers" and trying to think of all of the 3 million things I will need for my journey.
So far, I have been to the doctor for what I hope are all of my meds and I have the most enormous duffel bag in the world... it is ready to be filled with goodies for the kids.
I can't wait to see them again. I can only imagine how they have grown over 2 years!!
Alright, that's it for now. Let me know if you want to send anything along with me. A little goes a loooooong way!