Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Namaste (aka: S'up)

Hey Gang!

We have returned from our summers in Peru and are super excited to be in Portland focusing all of our energy on the upcoming semester. We are not much more than a week away from seeing all of you in the San Francisco airport and beginning our epic journey around the world. It's going to be an amazing ride, full of highs, lows and pure bliss. Just remember to breathe! (This will be a great thing to cultivate now and through out the semester.

A couple reminders... consult the packing list and let us know if you have any questions. We are working on student calls and have enjoyed talking to those we've reached and look forward to connecting with the others. You should all have your India Visas by now, let us know if there have been any problems that we can help with. Come well rested and well hydrated; we are going to be in airplane and airport land for a long time on our way to India and it's very easy to catch a bug if you are not well rested. So please, no all nighters before the long ride, you'll regret it.

See you soon!!!

Jessica and Coby

P.S. Like the Blog? Ya'll (Southern term) will have your own chance to post (several times) through out the semester as well as other 'jobs' (Really they are more like fun activities...) that make the semester run smooth!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sprindia Nahi Bahar Hai

Coming home is as much a part of the journey as leaving. It does not make it easier when you not only have to say goodbye to an amazing country like India but also to a group of wonderful friends. Friends whom you have spent the last three months with, friends who were there when you were ecstatically happy, when you were feeling tired, friends who made you laugh, friends who were there when you cried, friends who you made you so happy to be alive and friends who made this trip illuminating.

We will all carry each other throughout the upcoming journeys of our life, whether we see and talk to each other every day or not. The gems we have learned from each other will continuously remind us of one another and put a little smile on our face. So Sprindia is not bahar, it is inside each of us, forever.

So much love, Lotte and Ben

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank you Mama India.

I don't think any of us can believe that we will all be going our separate ways in less than 24 hours. In some ways these 3 months have gone by so quickly, but then I think of all the things done like....

Going to the Baha'i temple, Eating 72 momos in one sitting, Increasing our spice tolerance to be able to handle any crazy Indian dish put in front of us, Seeing bodies being burned on the ghats of the Ganga, Cumulatively learning Hindi, yoga, meditation, tabla, singing, massage, fire-dance, painting, reiki, stone-carving, Ayurveda, cooking, macrame, jewelery making, and how to get a rickshaw back from Sarnath for 200 rupees, Seeing the romantic aarti fire ceremony from a boat on the ganga, Wearing sarees to an Indian wedding, Getting an Indian suit custom made, Meditating under the tree where the Buddha became enlightened, Surviving being 9 of the 15 million people that inhabit Kolkatta, Volunteering at the Mother Teresa home, Witnessing a goat sacrifice at the Kali temple, Teaching highschool girls in Sikkim, Climbing to 14,000 feet on a 5 day trek, Having a choreographed dance party on a bridge involving the squirrel, big daddy joe, crazy fingers, roll, vall, break, basketball horse, pop, worm, and jess, Completing 7 days of the ashram life, Going white-water rafting, Sharing free accommodation with thousands of people at the Golden Temple and eating some of the 80,000 free meals a day served there, Taking a travel writing workshop, Experiencing an earthquake, Seeing a tremendous lightning storm from a rooftop, Being in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sharing one room apartments with Tibetan families and experiencing their hospitality, Going bouldering, Taking a dip in the Vashisht hot springs, Stargazing, Climbing into a giant hamster ball and rolling down a hill while trying to avoid pedestrians, horses, and paragliders, Managing not to get bitten by a single monkey, dog, cow, yak, buffalo, widow, or sadhu, Performing music for hundreds on Indians at train stations, 30 blissed out yogis, and a thousand school girls, Drinking around 810 cups of chai, Spending 23 hours on buses, 67 hours on trains, 40 hours in a jeep with 10 people and 9 backpacks, and a good few days on planes...

it seems like an entire lifetime. Never have we felt so much joy, excitement, love, sadness, frustration crammed into every single day. We have all developed so much love for each other and for this country, it is hard to say goodbye, but knowing that it is not goodbye forever, and that we will soon all get to see our much loved families makes it ok. Mama India has taken such good care of us and I know we will carry her and her lessons with us wherever we go.
Shanti Bahar,

Sunday, May 1, 2011


At first when we saw the jagged white peaks all around, elaborately carved wooden buildings, green rolling hills, and sunshine sparkling off of waterfalls, we thought we were in Switzerland in India. But then we attended a night-time wedding anniversary-huge horns that sounded terrible, loud drumming, colorful scarves and money, matching outfits with cute hats. This region has it's own Tribal religion we'd never heard of! The town of Manali is super busy and full of Indian tourists, but we've been very cozy in the quieter and more beautiful village called Vashisht. A few min drive away you can find paragliders, horse back riders and rock-climbers all somehow magically in one spot. Lydia, Noah, Ben, Luke, and I went bouldering (scrambling up the sides of big rocks) and came back with sore fingers and happy hearts. Then we all pretended to be hamsters and went ZORBING! Uh huh, we rolled down a hill in big plastic balls. Ok, we'll write you more from Delhi.

Love! Phoebe

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tashi Delek!

(Hello/May luck be with you in Tibetan)

Mcleod Ganj! Hills covered in forest, bright colorful houses, so many waving prayer flags. Jagged white mountains shining in the sunshine. Monks in red robes chatting on their cellphones. Tourists from all over the world, yak wool blankets and singing bowls, momos, falafel, Bhagsu cake!

We adore our homestay families! It was hard at first-A lot of us are in one room houses! Noah's house doesn't have a bathroom, he walks 10 min to the public one! But they've taken such good care of us and fed us awesome home-cooked Tibetan food! My Tibetan dad is a master Thanka painter. He's been practicing his craft for 30 years and now is a teacher. His gorgeous works take up to 4 monthes to finish. Golden Buddhas, angry gods, fire, swirling clouds, snow leopards. So magical! Becca's house has a five-year-old so she's in heaven! Lydia's mom made her special tea when she felt sick and tucked her into bed!

Many of us went to Meditations in the mornings and Monk Chats, where we talk to monks about their lives so that they can learn English. Lydia's been mastering Tabla, Luke made an awesome sweatshirt, Jess and Maddi and Becca and Noah and I took some Tibetan massage classes, so many of us made dream catchers and jewelry, Noah and Luke were Reiki attuned! Annnd we had a wonderful time hanging out with two pals that visited-Brandon our Meditation teacher from Phool Chatti Ashram, and Mike the director of Carpe Diem's India program.

We heard a rumor that the Dalai Lama was coming home and waited outside his house with a huge crowd for half an hour. Five cars zoomed by at top speed! There were a few monks in them and most of us couldn't tell which one he was....but Ben and I decided it was fabulous just to be in his presence!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOAH!!!! Yesterday Noah, Ben, Mike and I hiked up to Triund, a whole day of steep climbing that left our legs wobbly. So worth it! The snowy peaks rose up so huge and unbelievably beautiful before us. Noah made us Nutella banana cashew sunflower seed sandwiches, we ran around and played frisbee and hackeysack and then napped in the grass. On the way home we stopped by a restaurant where everyone was waiting for Noah's surprise party with delish carrot cake.

Off to Manali today! We're all sending you hugs!!


Friday, April 22, 2011

The group in front of the temple with Melitis at Deer Park Insitute, Bir.

A Tibetan monk is showing us a Tibetan monastery, temple and school near Bir.