Before leaving to volunteer in India I was getting WAY to into almond butter and artisanal cheeses.
Seriously, besides school and part-time mentoring I was literally doing nothing productive, nothing remotely worthwhile to save the planet, or the countless people suffering everyday on its surface. Sure, we recycle, but thats only because we produce so much waste and garbage bags ain’t free. I still drove to work in my car, filled it with gas weekly, ate fast-food, and silently judged every homeless man on the street (mostly just this one guy who wears a nicer watch than me, but thats not the point).
Everyone told me I would come back from India a ‘changed woman’, which was only mildly creepy since that sounds like I’m going through menopause. I shooed them away, saying that my life here was perfectly fine and I was completely satisfied so there was no reason to place bets on whether I would come home, Anglina Jolie style with 6 punjabi babies on my hips. Maybe its the jet lag, maybe its the loneliness of no longer being surrounded by foreign people, maybe its ‘THE CHANGE!!!’, but I’ve found since being home, I feel utterly lost and beyond restless. I think I found my purpose in India amongst those tiny monk faces, and now I don’t know what to do.
Maybe I should have taken the rooftop yoga and meditation more seriously.
This is Ladu, his name means sweet meat, the type that is both spiced and sugared, it fit him absolutely. He is a precious yet fierce warrior.
You might now be asking yourself why I was even allowed near people in this crazed state of mind, let alone baby spiritual leaders. Well, like everything else in my life, I just happen to be the one that shows up.
I arrived in Bir, Himachal Pradesh to a shortage of teachers at the Buddhist Monasteries. I was scheduled to work in a local clinic helping with vaccinations, but since we already had one med student (the beautiful Lizette) volunteering, there wasn’t much for me to do. I went to the homeopathic clinic across the street and hung out with a lovely nurse, but there still wasn’t anything for me to do but drink tea and gossip. Seeing as I came to help, and my mom is a teacher I felt that maybe I wouldn’t traumatize the little guys too much. So I put on my best ‘I know what I’m doing face’ and went to teach English to 5 year old magical beings.
Besides amazing all with my ability to be almost fluent in English, I also helped with a class of older monks, that quickly turned from English conversation into a world history course. I have never seen such passion for strange historical events, it was intoxicating to teach them about the world wars, the European Union, Shakespeare, the war of the roses and Henry VIII, modern day Israel and Palestine. They asked so many questions that Cameron (the smartest person I have EVER known) and I could barely keep up. We started playing the road-trip game ’20 questions’ so that we could learn about famous leaders. We started with U.S. Presidents and somehow ended with one of the cheeky monks picking me as their famous person. We figured it out after these facts were given: 1. American 2. Beautiful (I knew then) 3. Teacher 4. Not Cameron.
Now I ask, HOW; after befriending buddhists, after shaping young precious minds, after being a FAMOUS person for christ’s sake!, how do I adjust back to my life of being just that loud white girl who lives upstairs?
Here look at some more pictures while I have my existential meltdown.