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01 August 2007 @ 04:48 pm
OK, i am back in America, but due to the whole pen drive thing, I haven't been able to post my back entries. Let the retroactive journaling begin!

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25 June 2007 @ 03:07 pm
Well, first to respond to one question: you pass the scarves on to someone else

Mymother also commented on Will's wonderful laugh.

Well mom. He got the last laugh, thats for damn sure.

Before I left for India, MR Roth told me that I needed to be fluent in tibetan so that some day, when the Karmapa came to America, I would translate. I didn't take him too seriously.

Then I found out that there were rumors (still rumors, it seems, rather than riality) that the Karmapa WOULD be coming to america soon. I RUSHED to improve my Tibetan, taking extra lessons every day for 2 months.

He was INSISTENT that I be ready.

Then, a few days ago he died.

Yesterday I called up Lama Thupten (one of the Karmapa's secretaries) tomake sure the Karmapa had gotten the message regarding Will. Lama Thupten assured me that he had and told me my brother and I would ahve an audience. I found out the time and date and waspleased that it was a very convenient time.

Then the clincher:

"Oh, and Amalia, I am sorry but there not going to be a translator. If your brother doesn't speak Tibetan, you will have to translate"

Nice one, Mr.Roth. you win.
24 June 2007 @ 11:47 am
OK, so the back up posts won't go up until I am back in America. SOrry. A nepali pop star *cough*rajanishan*cough* has forgotten to return my pin drive.

So I have returned again from Nepal and I am now in Delhi.

What was it I wanted to talk about...

oh yeah, Tibetan mourning culture and melted chocolate, and ambassador taxis.

OK,well to start this update, during my 2 week trip to Nepal, 2 of my close friends died. The first, Tendar, 48, died of lung cancer. I had known him very well in New York City and he was always calling me to check up on me during my first year of college (when I was VERY unhappy with my school.) He would often let me stay on the couch of his apartment when I needed a place to crash inNYC, he would take me to the bus station at 2 AM so that I didn't have to go alone, and he even got me EXCELLENT seats fr me and my friends to see the Dalai Lama in rutgers. He was quiet and shy, but a wonderful person and I will miss him a great deal.

The second friend was Will Roth. Mr. Roth has been my neighbor since i was a baby. He and his wife ran the local Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist center in our town and it was them who first introduced me to Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, culture, language and so on. I can confidently say that without him, I would DEFINITELY not be here, in India, speaking Tibetan, practicing Buddhism, singing in Tibetan and doing all of these things with my life which bring me so much joy. After my parents, Mr. Roth was probably the most influential person in my life. He was, and anyone in my family will agree, a part of the family. Due to him (and also Mrs. Roth who I cannot wait to see when I come home) we have had rinpoches in our house, plates stolen (and later returned) and the best Buddhist Christmas parties EVER. I could talk to him about anything and I truly think that he was MORE excited about my trip to India than I was. I hope he knows that his goal for me, to be able to speak in Tibetan so well that I could talk to Rinpoches without a translator, has come true, and I thank him for being a driving force.

I also need to thank Mr Roth of inducting me into the "What the hell do we do with all these white silk scarves" club. He named it. Not me. Thank you Mr Roth, I have about 39 here in India.

And thank you for all the weird and funny stories I now have, almost all of which include the phrase "And then this monk..."
And the professional prayer team (led by HE Situ Rinpoche and HH Karmapa) is on the job!

You both will be (and already are) truly missed.

(further updates later)
12 May 2007 @ 10:06 am
And a special treat

-You consider mosquitos “Catch-and-Release Only”
-You feel completely comfortable discussing the color, consistency and frequency of your fecal matter...
-With complete strangers
-It’s not yoghurt, its curd
-You take shots of Pepto Bismol straight out of the bottle and consider it “refreshing”
-You can name and identify all of the symptoms of all of the known intestinal track diseases and parasites
-...And Typhoid
-You accidentally talk to westerners, indian store owners, rickshaw drivers, and so forth in Tibetan
-It’s not the hospital, it’s the Menkhang
-The Amdo boys actually consider you off-limits
-The Khampa boys actually consider you fair-game
-You look forward to the food on airplanes, because you don’t have to worry about the water it’s washed in
-You frequently need to use the phrase “Ani lo mateberet ivrit” (I don’t speak hebrew)
05 May 2007 @ 03:41 pm
A few photos from the photo shoot at bhagsu

more pictures behind the cutCollapse )
23 April 2007 @ 10:35 pm
HUGE journal entry

March 3, 2007
Om Hotel, Mcleod Ganj

I woke up at 8 this morning to find that, due to miscommunication, my roommate had not woken me up. I got to the teachings on time anyway, actually JUST as His Holiness was saying the refuge prayer. He explained the Jataka tales and Bodhichitta.

For lunch, Julia and I went to the Japanese restaurant in town. It’s actually pretty good (and very safe).

After lunch, I spoke to Lobsang from SFT. It’s freaky, yesterday I kept meeting people who I knew. Like LOTS of people who knew me. Yesterday was insane.

Anyway, so Lobsang wanted me to help make some banners for SFT and told me to head over to TIPA road and he would meet me. Well, he shows up on the road…on a motorcycle.

“so…you expect me to get on the BACK of that right?” was my only comment. Lobsang just nodded. It was FUNNNN. Anyway, when we got up to Lobsang’s place, he and 2 other guys were working on banners. One guy was mute, but communicated with hand signals (not sign language) and was the best painter. I was drawing on shirts. Sichoe (the mute Tibetan) kept signaling that Lobsang and I were a cute couple….which is ridiculous to both of us.

Anyway, Gyatso kept trying to get in touch with me, but was embarrassed that his friends would know he was calling me so he kept talking in Tibetan like he was talking casually to a guy. It was really friggen weird.

So after that, me and a few people went off to Yangdol restaurant and I also met up with ICT Kelsang (not to be mistaken for OM Kelsang, or asshole Kelsang) and ICT Karma. Both ultimately cool dudes. I ended up hanging out with them for a while and I also was interviewed by a journalism student in America who called me.

March 11, 2007

Sorry, things have been really busy and crazy and honestly, I am not going to go into it.

To summarize, I am way to distracted during teachings. March 10th it was pouring, freezing rain and I was not all that happy. And my phone got stolen. Which is pissing me off. I lost BOTH of Rinpoche’s private numbers, Situ Rinpoche’s secretary’s number, Karma Tenzin (Karmapa’s office)’s number…

The list goes on.

Getting Tenam (Situ Rinpoche’s secretary)’s number won’t be hard. Rinpoche’s private lines? That is going to require going back to sherab ling and finding him again, and Karma Tenzin…that might just be a loss.

The evening concert was good though. Due to audience demand, I got to sing 2 songs. The second was Nyin Da Kar Sum, which the WHOLE audience joined in on, at the top of their lungs

Anyway, today I went to teachings. In the afternoon it was announced that, due to a group of students from Mainland China having to leave soon and they wanted the empowerment of 1000 armed Chenrezig. We had preliminary initiation today.

I got to take the refuge and Bodhisattva vows with the Dalai Lama!

Anyway, we got Kusha grass which goes under the pillow and mattress to apparently bring significant dreams.

I really don’t feel like writing and I can’t think of anything particularily memorable.

March 16, 2007

Alright. Now that the teachings are over there is at least a reasonable chance that I might be able to journal at reasonable intervals. I don’t promise anything though.

So, had lots of teachings and long life prayers for the Dalai Lama. It was raining so it was cold and people were all crushed into the covered area of the Tsuglagkhang courtyard which was pretty uncomfortable. But that was before.

I actually met and chatted with the Dalai Lama’s body guard who was giving me REALLY WEIRD looks the ENTIRE time of the empowerment in Woodstock (as the only inji in the Tibetan section) and he is a very nice fellow.

Onwards. Wednesday, class restarted with afternoon language class. But that morning was prayers for the Dalai Lama, so I hadn’t had breakfast (but I did see 2 oracles in trance!!!) and then instead of lunch I was kidnapped, thrown into a car and driven to Gyuto for the public audience with the Karmapa. I also received Karma Tensing’s number (from the Karmapa’s office) because I ran into him again.

By the time class came around, it had been about 21 hours since my last meal and I was pretty damn hungry. Luckily Gen Norsang La allowed alex and I to have our class at Namgyal Café! Sometimes it is REALLY nice having a class of only two people. Did I mention that one of my classes with Gen Rinzin La we convinced him to have it while walking the Lingkor (Kora)? That was great.

Anyway, after class, I went to TIPA for the concert with Phurbu T Namgyal and Tenzin Gyalpo (Michael.) It was BEYOND sold out! It was INSANE! People were falling out of the doors. I only sang two songs and unfortunately “Kelsang” was also there and he got to sing 3. Yes, I was jealous, but more just ticked that someone who I feel insulted by gets constant praise by others. He is a bastard, really.

Part way through the concert, Namgyal and Michael decided to have the concert AGAIN on Thursday night. So I came back (late) and on the way back was chatting with Jigme and Choedak, two of the other singers. It turns out they didn’t have a place to stay, so, after talking to my group leaders and the Om Hotel staff, they slept in our library. Which was funny because a few minutes after they arrived, Katie walked into my room saying
“Amalia? Do you happen to know why two Tibetan men are asleep in the library?”

I love how they come to me first with that question.

The next day we had culture class. Which Steve led. There was one rather unpleasant moment where Steve was discussing how insulting the word “Hinayana” (literally “Lesser Vehicle” is to represent Theravada (Way of the Elders) practice of Buddhism. And I raised my hand and noted that in Thailand and some other Theravada countries, the people themselves refer to their religion as “Hinayan” and don’t even know the word Theravad. This was something I saw in Thailand and surprised me a LOT. Steve outright told me that I was wrong! I wanted to just be like “Dude, no. You don’t speak Thai or Pali and you have never lived in a Theravada country. Don’t tell me I am wrong.”


The concert was AGAIN completely sold out. I got to sing 3 songs that time (including one with Yega.) and had a great time. I also got a call from Phil that I would be singing for the Dalai Lama in the morning AND I found out that my parents are coming to India for the Tibetan Music Awards!!! I cannot believe it!

I woke up this morning VERY early. Put on a nice Chupa and went to Namgyal Gonpa. The Dharma Bums and I (playing back up) played as the Dalai Lama entered the temple! He stopped by us and tugged on Phil’s beard, so I was standing about a foot away from him.

Then I was asked by the Toepa/Ngari association to sing on Tuesday and the RTWA to sing tonight at TIPA. I wasn’t sure about the T/N thing because it was on Tuesday during the morning when I have class. At which point they told me that the guests of honor would be His Holiness Sakya Trizin, His Eminence Ling Rinpoche and His Holiness the Karmapa.

I talked to Steve and he said if I was late for (or missed) class, it was acceptable.

I rested a bit in the afternoon, because I am beyond beat, then went to the RTWA show, which was fine.

Tomorrow I am performing at TCV Suja, and on Sunday at TCV Gopalpur. It’s a free ride to Bir. But to give you an idea that’s performances on March 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20. They tried to get me to perform on March 19th in Chauntra but I just can’t make it to that show. It’s a pity. Chauntra would be fun!

I am totally, utterly beat. I am going to go to sleep.

March 17, 2007

I am starting today off early. It’s only 9 PM but I am BEAT beyond belief.

So after breakfast and checking e-mail, I headed to the Taxi stand to meet the other singers. While there, I ran into Dawa, my favorite dude from Cali and Norgay from home. I sat and chilled with Jigme (singer, who rocks) and Kharag Penpa was there. It turns out Jigme and Norgay (not Albany Jigme, let me re-emphasize) are childhood friends! “Kelsang” unfortunately was also coming with us. I quickly gave Norgay the run down on the Kelsang situation. Since Kelsang is a singer, avoiding him is pretty much impossible. Jigme already knew and since this trip would involve extensive travel and time spent with Kelsang, Norgay told Jigme to make sure to protect me if necessary.

Norgay is the best.

We headed off to Suja, but since we took a VERY long route, I didn’t arrive in time to go to Chokling Gonpa or Sherab Ling. Maybe I will go to Sherab Ling tomorrow morning. I don’t know yet.

Kelsang decided to take a nap and as of 6:50, when the show was almost about to start, he was still friggen asleep and not picking up his phone. I was secretly thrilled. Unfortunately he woke up.

The audience was TCV Suja, or the Tibetan Children’s Village in Bir. They LOVED us and were really surprised and happy to see a westerner singing in Tibetan. I even got a really cool fan note! Let me post it here.

(Corrected for spelling but not grammer)

Hello dear singer…
It’s me, one of the students of the TCV School Suja. Today I am here to share you a few words which were came inside mine soul that first and foremost, I feel very happy and glad because of your…Maybe, I am not only who like you and your encouragement (?) but also many of Tibetan people who really like you today. Secondly, to me, I never seen those foreigner (USA and Other) people who enjoyment on expert on our culture so far but today you can really gave me a big shock. It’s very wonderful. Keep it up as long as you alive.
Actually, I am very shy boy, but today I got a very massive knowledge on wisdom from and your company friend singers. From my side I really feel good and surprising too.
Hi, can I make friend with you? If so, please contact through e-mail address


Anyway. We had some issues with my tracks during the show, but overall it was good we had students coming on stage and giving us khatas! It was awesome. WHILE we were singing I should note. It’s distracting having to bow while singing in order to have a tiny 6 year old put a scarf around your neck. But it is utterly cool.

After the show, I actually got into a huge fight with “Gyatso” about the Kelsang thing. Basically, he refused to believe that the thing had actually happened, since I was always talking to Kelsang during shows. The fact is, I HAVE to be civil to him during shows! I don’t have to LIKE him but when other singers are around, I have to pretend to be civil, you know? I can’t refuse to perform with him because that would cut out possibly the majority of my performances and open hostility…well I don’t know what would happen.

Anyway, Gyatso telling me he didn’t believe me pushed me over the edge because I was already stressed. It’s one thing having to deal with Kelsang, its another thing having spent the evening watching Kelsang getting pilled high with silk scarves and people fucking adoring him. Then having someone you trust saying they don’t believe you? Gyatso says he was joking but I reamed him out totally.

Anyway, end result was me yelling at Gyatso over the phone and sobbing to Jigme for a while.

I am exhausted and have to write a philosophy paper.

March 18th, 2007

Gar, so tired. Fortunately I am NOT singing tomorrow. Just resting.

So I woke up early this morning but I couldn’t find a cab to sherabling, so that didn’t work out. I spent most of the day ignoring Kelsang, a pattern I intend to continue. It pisses him off.

We drove to Gopalpur, stopping on the route to help a Tibetan man whose car had driven off the road.

At Gopalpur they were having Mela, or spring festival, which was fun and I got to eat some tasty Tibetan/Indian festival food. In the evening we had our show in a hall, which was huge and cool. I have photos. My tracks were working which made life easier. Afterwords I made transportation plans regarding returning to Dhasa and coming back up to bir. We will have to see.

March 20th, 2007

OK, so monday morning I got the school jeep back to Mcleod Ganj which was nice and relaxing. It was just me and Tashi, the driver. I was beat, on both a physical and emotional level. I got lunch at Jimmy’s and then went to afternoon language class followed by Philosophy class led by the Dalai Lama’s translator, Geshe Dorje Damdul. Geshe la has a huge passion for physics, especially quantum mechanics. If he had been a science teacher at my school, I might have actually taken and (dare I say it) enjoyed physics! He is hilariously funny, enthusiastic, and generally cool.

When this was done I went off to meet some friends who informed me that today (tuesday) at an ungodly hour of the morning, the nechung oracle would be going into trance. After that, I met one of the Dalai Lama’s body guards for dinner.

This morning, I woke up my roommate at 5:45 and we got all dressed up in Chupa and went to Nechung. TONS of Tibetans were there. Apparently Ling Rinpoche was consulting regarding the Doepa and Ngari Tibetans and their future. Anyway, I didn’t actually get to see the transe, but we did get to see the oracle and recieve Chakne (blessed protection seeds) and a protection cord from him. Again, very very cool.

Then I headed up to TIPA where the Doepa Ngari welfare association was to be putting on performacnes for Sakya Trizin, Trulzhi Rinpoche, the Karmapa and Ling Rinpoche, of whom, only Ling Rinpoche showed up.

I don’t like Doepa musical culture at ALL....and ngari wasn’t really represented. I was really really bored. And I was waiting for Ling Rinpohce. Finally Rinpoche arrived and we all lined up to greet him. Since he is such a high rinpoche, showing up for a show like this, you don’t get a chance to present khata. All of the performers (DOZENS) lined up with khatas and the organizer went to greet Rinpoche. When he went forward, he signalled to me and another girl, Pema to come forward with our Khatas. We were the only solo singers. We went forward and recieved a blessing from Rinpoche who not only gave us the khatas but touched us on the head with his hand (considered a sign of respect) and the organizer personally introduced us. Then Pema sang a beautiful song “Om Mani Peme Hung” and I sang “Nyin Da kar Sum” and right after we finished, it started hailing. I jumped in a jeep and headed down to the Tsuglakhang for afternoon class.

Fortunately, it was just the one hour class, and then I went to sleep for a while. A bunch of us went to Lungta for dinner and after dinner we had group meeting. I hate group meeting. After that I went to the internet cafe and checked e-mail and stuff. Which leads to now. exhausted....

March 21, 2007

So, um. Did I ever tell you my life is weird? Like it’s COOL, don’t get me wrong, but pretty friggen weird.

I slept through the last day of the Tenshung (long life offering) because I was so exhausted and desperately needed sleep. After I woke up, I spoke to the head of the Doepa Ngari organization. He wants to help produce my album! He lives in Nepal and wants to give me a hand, and he wants me, in return, to work with Pema on a video album. Seems like a good deal to me! He also invited me to come with a whole group from the DN org. on a trip to Lhasa and western Tibet, specifically, a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, one of the holiest sites in the Himalayas to Buddhists and Hindus. I think I might just do it!

Afternoon language class, alex didn’t show up. I don’t know why he didn’t. But when you consider how different we are at language levels, it was nice to have a lesson AT my level. We spoke 95% of the class in Tibetan and I really felt like we could move quickly and well. It was nice.

Afterwords was philosophy with Geshe Dorje Damdul who taught us wonderful things about the relativity of attachment to bell bottoms in his childhood and made us ponder the question “if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to here it, is there actually a tree?”

I met with Karma Tensing (the actor playing Norbu in the movie Himalaya) who happens to know my neighbor, Mr. Roth. Afterwords I spoke with Sonam, the director of Tsampa to Pizza and we chatted a bit about his next film and if I would be willing ot sing for the soundtrack (the answer being a resounding YES.) We also talked about emotional impact and dealing with a character with trauma and I gave him an idea that he liked. Then I came back to my room and now I am just relaxing and typing.

March 22

Lets start by saying, I am homesick and I miss R a LOT.

Lots of frustration today, starting with a bigass migraine. Where to start. I slept through my doctors appointment this morning, which fortunately was no big deal. After breakfast, I attended culture class which was taught by Jon Bellezza, an expert on Ancient Bon which was interesting. I had lunch at Lungta then met Jigme to chat. I tried to buy my air tickets to Nepal but due to computer issues I couldnt. So that failed.

Then, as I am going into philospohy class, my phone rings. The person on the phone identifies themselves as “sonam” and I think its the wrong Sonam, so I basically say “call you later” and hang up. Meanwhile, my phone is going friggen bizerk. So during break, I pick up an I am informed that I am expected at a show at lower TCV at 6:00. Class gets OUT at six. Well, with geshe la, class always runs late. Finally, Geshe la says “to answer this question will take a while, so if you have any hurry, leave now.” So, I dove out the door (something which is NOT cool.)

I grab my shit, jump in a taxi, and get down to TCV where the show is already in progress and, because I am late, I only get to sing one song. “Kelsang” was actually being really nice and caring, but I don’t know why. After the show I confronted him. He has no clue that what he did was wrong. I tried to express it to him and I don’t think he got it, but he apologized. I don’t know if that means jack shit. Whatever, I spoke my peace, and I stayed calm.

March 27th

Another batch of not lazy so much as FRIGGEN BUSY.

So, friday we went to Kangra fort. It was awesome. The weather was gorgeous and the fort is this unbelievable, more than 1000 year old structure that survived numerous sieges, but then was largely destroyed in the earthquake of 1904. We bought Thai food and ate that at the top of the fort. Then we all walked down through the fort and into the woods. We found a small and ancient temple in the fort where a priest gave us a blessing. It was Nava Ratri so it is considered very auspicious. The Goddess of the temple was a local godess and patron goddess of the kings of Kangra.

After walking through the woods, we arrived at a big river. The current was quite strong but the water was pretty warm, and fortunately no one was around so almost all of us jumped right in, in our clothing, and swam for a large part of the afternoon. I did get a foot cramp and I was very worried with the current, but aside from that I was having a blast.

We walked back up to the taxis, bought water, and went back to mcleod ganj. I don’t remember what I did in the evening.

Saturday, I grabbed will and we went to Gyuto to recieve the Karmapa’s blessing. Unlike last time, when we went into the shrine room and lined up and walked past the Karmapa, apparently the shrine room was in use today and that was not possible. It is important to remember that not only is Gyuto not one of the Karmapa’s monasteries, it is not even a Kagyu monastery, so it is of a completely different sect! So basically, not only is the Karmapa under virtual house arrest, but he isn’t even being housed with his own religious group. In short, it means he has very little standing in the monastery where he is staying. So all of us, after getting patted down by security, were pushed into a hallway underneath the shrine room and filed into a tiny room, probably once an office or storage room, with no furniture or decoration, where the Karmapa gave us blessings and we left. It just didn’t seem right or fair to him.

Then Will, my friend Sonam, and I went to the Norbulingka. There I met my friend Lhamo who is an english teacher. She showed us around and let us watch the students working on paintings and even got me a few photocopies from their text book so that I can practice on my own! Eva, unfortunately, was suffering from severe pain in her leg and could not join us.

Sunday morning, I went back to the Norbulingka and met Lhamo. We visited Nyingtobling, which is the home and crafts center for disabled Tibetan children, and I was invited to sing at their 9th anniversary on tuesday. Afterwords, Lhamo took me to see Dolma ling nunnery and then I went back to mcleod ganj.

Monday morning we had philosophy and in the afternoon, in Tibetan, we did review for my midterm.

Tuesday in the morning we had a class on Tibetan iconography which, shockingly, was not very interesting and in the afternoon I had my midterm. Then I left and went to nyingtobling where I sang about ten songs for the kids, who loved it. Some of them came up and sang as well. It was a lot of fun and I met a bunch of interesting people. I was then presented with a handpainted card and a beautiful scroll painting of “the four harmonious friends” which was made by the kids.

In the evening we had our group meeting and I wrote my philosophy paper.

Today we woke up early in the morning and headed to Tashi Jong for the Tsechu Cham, or ritual masked dances for the 10th day of the 2nd month of the Tibetan year. It is a Guru Rinpoche day, so it represents an important event in Padmasambhava’s live. Unfortunately the heat made sitting outside unbearable, so after not too long, Taylor and I grabbed a cab and went to Sherabling. I called lama Tenam (Situ Rinpoche’s secretary) to tell him that I was coming, which ended up being a very fortunate thing.

I also decided to try and get a brief audience with Gangkar Rinpoche and I also helped taylor get his room at Sherabling. We were told to go straight to Gangkar Rinpoche’s room and when we arrived a monk had us sit in the parlor area of his suite and served us orange soda in beautiful porcelain teacups. We were told that Rinpoche would take a few minutes, so we just sat and drank our orange soda.

Suddenly a lama busted in, said something very quickly about coming to see Situ Rinpoche and signalled for us to leave. The monk assistant of Gangkar Rinpoche helped us to our feet and we had to run to catch this lama who was halfway down the stairs by the time we reached the door.

Due to the arrival of Tenga Rinpoche from Nepal, Situ Rinpoche unexpectedly had to attend a Puja. However, Lama Tenam recalled how I wanted to meet Situ Rinpoche, contacted the office who remembered sending me up to see Gangkar Rinpoche. We were told we would have very little time with Rinpoche and we came in ready to present khatas, thank him for assisting my neighbor when he was sick (from the religious point of view of assistance) and leave. Rinpoche, however, was interested to talk with us. Not only did he ask me about Will (my neighbor) but asked both of us about our studies. When he found out I was a singer, he mentioned that he composed many songs (or more accurately poems) in Tibetan and English. Before long, we had Rinpoche reciting beautiful poetry in English. It was really amazing. This lasted for about 10 minutes when another lama came in and politely, but firmly, reminded Rinpoche of the Puja. Rinpoche quickly turned and addressed me privately in Tibetan, aware that Taylor couldn’t speak it, and we spoke for a minute about my studies of Tibetan. He laughed at my statement “Nga kechashey thup gi yoe, yinayang nga gejurshey thup gi me” (I can converse, but I can’t translate. Apparently it sounds amusing in Tibetan.)

After we left, we folded our Khatas to present again to Gangkar Rinpoche. He seemed pleased to see us and definitely remembered me and I think remembered Taylor from the last time we were at Sherabling. Unfortunately, he also had to attend the Puja so it was present khata, answer one quick question to be polite (him asking us) and run. Well, we got to sit and drink more orange soda, but he had to run.

After this we went back to the office and arranged taylor’s room. I provided translation assistance.

As usual I was wearing a chuba with jeans underneath. The lama talking to us had been joking earlier about me being a Tibetan girl. Then he saw the jeans. All of a sudden he looked quite firm and said “You are NOT a Tibetan girl! This is not acceptable! Next time you come to sherabling, you wear a petticoat under that!”

It was bizarre. This is the second time a lama at sherabling has gotten rather upset and the jeans under Chupa. Jeez. Most people don’t even see it. So yeah, need to invest in a petticoat or stop wearing Chupa to sherabling. BTW, the other lama was Gangkar Rinpoche.

Then we came back to mcleod Ganj and went to Kokonor Restaurant to celebrate Dan and Rachel’s birthday. Tomorrow I leave for Delhi and then on saturday for Kathmandu. Not done packing. Oh well.\

April 11
Mcleod Ganj

Well, today was a weird day. Classes started again, spent time comforting one student who is experiencing utter hell right now. one of her close friends comitted suicide. Then in the afternoon my mom calls to tell me her surgery is done and that apparently they discovered cancer in there.

Yeah. Fun day.

Fortunately, after that we had an audience with Pakchok Rinpoche who actually adressed the two of us directly with advice on how, emotionally, to deal with these issues and actually use the emotions to build compassion not only for our friends/mothers but for all sentient beings who are suffering. He was very straight forward, really taking the time to talk to us. It was, I think, good for both of us and very necessary. He will also be doing prayers for my mom and the girl’s friend.

But honestly, I really don’t want to talk about today...and I don’t really want to go to sleep either even though it is almost midnight, so instead I will write about my trip to Nepal.

Nepal: March 31
I navigated my way through the KTM airport by myself, got my bags, and went to the parking lot. i didn’t really know what to expect, so I was thrilled to find someone carrying a placard reading “AMALIA RUBIN (Nima Rumba’s Friend)” and I was bedecked with a flower garland. (BTW, Nima Rumba is a big Nepali pop star.) I found that pretty funny.

I found out I wouldnt get to hang out with Nima (who i sang with back in New York and Toronto) until evening, so, for the day, i decided to go wandering. I got lost, found a thangka school, a monastery and finally Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is a series of temples and palaces. Absolutely beautiful.

I came back to the guesthouse to find the managers little sister, Manjita, preparing gifts for Nima. It turns out she is pretty much his BIGGEST FAN and was so thrilled that he would be coming. Nima came and we chatted and had a lovely time and he took me out for Korean food for dinner. Then he took me to Swayambunath stupa, which is right where he group up. it was night, so it was quiet and very calm. Other than a famous Nepali VJ who was out with some friends, we encountered no one. Nima told me the legend of the creation of the Kathmandu valley by Manjushri and remembered his childhood at the Stupa. I just enjoyed the calm and the wonderful company of a friend I had not seen in months.

On the route over, Nima actually hit some other guys car, and the guy wasn’t pissed...mostly cuz it was Nima and Nima is famous. Nima still paid for the Damages tho.

April 1st
I had a great breakfast at the guest house and then decided to meet my friend Ananda who I had not seen in about a year. She got lost on route but finally we met up in Thamel. Unfortunately, Ananda is a rather obsessive shopper so it was pretty impossible to go anywhere. I got my eyebrows threaded and then we decided to go visit Boudha. Little did we know that it was Tamang Jatri, a big festival for the tamang people of Nepal. interesting fact, Tamang people came from Tibet as part of a cavalry group to fight some war or another. Tamang comes from the Tibetan words “Ta Mak” (Horse Soldier.) Anyway, Boudha was a mob seen. Then we went and got REAL, GOOD japanese food for dinner. OMG. Amazing.

April 2nd

I didn’t really do anything until i saw Nima at 4. He introduced me to Rajan Ishan, who is now my music arranger. Little did I know that Rajan is a bit of a hot item! Apparently he is a pop singer turned arranger who also did the music arranging for Mingma Sherpa’s hit songs “Namuna” and “Chham Chham.” He also was doing arranging for one of th songs for the Miss Nepal Pageant. Very very cool dude.

Then Nima and I headed over to Boudha and went to a cafe and met Tsering Gyurmey. Gosh, I had missed Tsering. This trip to Nepal was like a reunion. Tsering’s band leader, Pema, also showed up, as well as a nepali Wushu champion (life is strange.) Anyway, everyone at the table was either Tibetan, Tamang or Me. But they were insisting on speaking Nepali. finally, frustrated I announced “OK, guys? There are TWO possible languages that you could be speaking that EVERYONE at this table would understand. TWO. Nepali is NOT one of them!”

This got a stare, until Nima said “OK, speak Tibetan, Amalia.” So I did. Apparently I speak well. Tsering was struck into silence. Finally he stuttered out a “Wow, that’s good” and we decided to continue in Tibetan and English. They started to order food, and I remembered it was Tsewa 15, so I can’t eat meat. Nima was surprised that I rememberrd and a bit ashamed. As he said, his father is a Lama but he would forget Buddhist dates like Tsewa 15. Which was when I suddenly realized it was Pesach.

*facepalm* totally missed the WORLD’S LARGEST SEDER at Chabad KTM. Damn.

Anyway, after this, Nima took me for 1 circumambulation around Boudha and then we went to Patan Durbar Square at around Midnight, which was awesome. Some places are way cooler at night.

April 3

I spent all day at the Studio. I met some other famous singers like Yash Kumar and Susan Lama. Yash invited me to sing with him on his next album, which seemed cool, and Rajan and I managed to complete 2 songs in one day. In the evening I met Yash for dinner and we discussed the song he wants me to do.

April 4-9

More studio time. Really photos sumarize best. I also met Mingma Sherpa again.

Sorry, I am summarizing but I have a ton of photos to summarize and it was basically all studio time. Also a lot of stuff is happening now and I would like to catch up.
11 April 2007 @ 04:29 pm
Back from Nepal, so major photos and journal posting wll be coming soon. But FIRST:

may I present a special photo series that I have entitled

OH DEAR AND UNMERCIFUL GOD! You created carnivorous GOATS???Collapse )