tashi delek! (hello in tibetan)
So why am i saying hello in tibetan if i am in nepal?
well i currently live in the tibetan area of kathmandu and teach english in a tibetan monastery :-)
I indeed started my placement on Monday at Jyamchen monastery, situated only a few meters away from the Boudha stupa (a stupa is a dome-shaped buddhist monument said to contain holy relics) - a world heritage site, one of the largest stupa in the world and the most important tibetan buddhist monument outside tibet. It has become the Mecca of tibetan exiles in Nepal. esp since 1959. Although there are some tourist shops around it really reflects the tibetan culture. Early morning and late afternoon you can see dozens of monks walking around it and performing their chanting.
The buddhist life
Jude & I reside in a hostel right next to the monastery. We usually get up at 4:30 to go to puja (act of worship) in the temple by the stupa. It's amazing to see dozens of monks chanting all together whilst people from everywhere prostrating and making donations of flowers, incens etc. It's a perfect moment for meditating. We then go for breakfast at Flavours, our local hang out and then have a class at 10:30 (more on this further down). We then go for lunch with the monks and have a free afternoon of sightseeing. We live 5km north east of KTM so from the centre taxi don't really want to take us back there after 8pm, which means that we have early nights, which is good anyway since we're getting up so early.
We have a class of 6 monks aged 12 to 15. Jude and I share a class of 1 and a half hour, so not that much. It does need preparating and i generally feel exhausted after the class! Since they're quite shy we came up with some games to make each of them speak. We're having lots of fun. We bought them a football and I have never seen people being so grateful in my life. Teaching is very rewarding and I just love the idea of helping people progress understand. Jude said i am a born teacher ha!
They're very cheeky!! Although most of them are shy. They love to laugh and play. The older ones (above 16) have mobile phones and facebook accounts (they're allowed on internet once a week). I have made friends with a few of them and we exchanged details to keep in touch. One of them is just so cute I am completely fond of him - he's 7, looks like he's about 4 and just smiles and laughs all the time. Today at lunch he was laughing so much seeing me touching my ipod and making pictures bigger and smaller...!We were joking with the other monks that I can just put him in my backpack and run away with him!
They wanted to listen to some of my music too so i treated them with some reggae and techno. Ha!
On sunday they're all going to Lumbini for a festival and since i am going there in a couple of weeks I think I will pay them a visit. I miss them in the afternoon when I have my freetime! I'll try & upload some pictures soon so you can see!
I have walked and walked around and seen lots - tomorrow i will try & go to Patan and to Baktapur on saturday. We have to live the hostel on sunday morning and from them then starts the real adventure. I have nowhere booked yet but I think I'll stay until next weds to KTM then move on to the farm for 3 or 4 days and then to Pokhara for a trek, before going to Lumbini and cross the border to India.
Hope you liked my update - looking forward to read your comments
Gaelle - aka levitating teacher
ps: i am very excited as I bought my first buddha statue - wanted one for a long time and managed to find a rare one of Amitabha in bronze :-)