Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sacred Arts Tour..... Tashi Delek..... week one

I am now a mother of three. I have two new self proclaimed sons. Tashi and Jamphel call me mama, they call Gerry daddy and they call Wesley sister. They introduce themselves as my sons. How will I say goodbye a week from now....

Here they are in their morning class. Tea, bread and butter, go upstairs and get books, bring homework down, Wesley checks it and reviews the lesson and then assigns a new one. Tashi is reserved and quiet and hesitant to speak English although I am told he can speak quite well. Jamphel interprets much for him. Yesterday they brought their sentences that they wrote. They took the vocabulary books I got for them and created their own sentences. Here is the first sentence I read on Tashi's notebook and then I cried:

Wesley is my teacher. She is too my sister.
and now I am crying again......

Wesley continues her lessons with them and they in turn help us with Tibetan. Hello- Tashi Delek
I am happy, my name is..., this is delicious, good morning, good bye, see you later. This is about all I have learned, it is very difficult, I understand what they are going through learning our language. When they came here in June they did not speak any English, only hello. Now I can understand them and they understand me, if we go very slowly. At a party last night, three monks that speak pretty good English were trying to say potato to me. I could not understand them, so I turned to Tashi who speaks very little and he  said potato and I understood him! It was pretty funny. It was like when Wesley was one or two and speaking to me in her unknown tongues and I understood every word.

Wesley drives back and forth from school as often as possible. They help her carry her bags to the car and then wave goodbye as she leaves. As soon as she is gone, they ask about her return. They have become very close. Oh the tears we are all going to cry next Monday!

 I ground spices by hand in my mortar for masala. It took forever, I could have easily put everything in my spice grinder and been done in seconds. But the process released the oils of the spices slowly and my house had an aroma of ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, pepper and coriander. The process was meditative and slowed time. I want time to slow right now and savor every minute of the peace and compassion that envelopes my home.

We have begun to cook together. Yesterday we made lunch. Chopped cabbage and onion salad, tomato, onion and egg over rice, steamed bok choy with green onion and tomato. Always rice. They are very good cooks.

It was delicious.    phonetically: bea zshimpo doog

 For breakfast they mostly eat white/wheat bread with butter, not toasted. and hot black tea, not flavored. I had this yesterday morning and I like it more than I thought I would. When Wesley got home, she said that is what she had for breakfast also. We are adopting the ways of the monks very quickly! Tonight we have planned to all cook supper together as a family. We are going to learn to make momos. I will teach you!

Our house has become their refuge. They only want to be here. We take them over to be with the other monks some days for a lunch or a meeting and as soon as they can, they are walking out the door, heading for "home". Yesterday we had lunch with everyone and as soon as lunch was over, my boys were walking down the road to my car before I even had my shoes back on, it was so funny. They say to me, "let's go home."

Most days we have breakfast and lunch together, English class, they pray and meditate, yoga and then there is a party or a thing they must go to. Gerry leaves for work in the afternoon to shoot this or that sports event, I catch my breath, and then we all meet back here in the evening and watch the Olympics. After the opening ceremonies the other night, Jamphel stayed up late into the night with us and showed us photos of his family in Tibet. They are beautiful as you can imagine. Now, let me describe his mother to you. She is close to my age, long brown braids, she has crinkles at her eyes when she smiles. She raises sheep and yaks, lives in a nomad's tent during the summer, high in the mountains, loves her children, makes yak cheese on a huge tarp she lays on the ground out in the fields, she cries when her son leaves and asks him to stay. Her kitchen table is piled high with fruits and breads, there is a wood stove with a very used and I suspect loved teapot, old pots and pans, and a house that looks lived in and  loved.  She is my soulmate!

Last night there was a party in a lovely home to raise money for the monastery. I was not invited, but the monks wanted me and Wesley there, so we crashed the party. It was crowded and loud, full of people that wanted to see the monks, get their picture taken with them, practice their tashi delek and their bowing, eat some Indian food, drink some alcohol. I found it all a bit unsettling, but the monks are gracious and kind and handle it all with ease. Except my two. Me, Wesley, and my boys were found much of the time over on the sofa taking photos of one another with iphones, laughing and being silly. These two have become just like the rest of my family. We are social misfits, haha! We prefer quiet intimate space with a few friends over loud parties with wining and dining. It was a nice evening in the end and it was a fundraiser, but I found the table at the door with the white envelopes and the large note that said please put money here a bit odd. The monks are not allowed to attend parties for the enjoyment of the layperson, but raising money for the monastery is acceptable. I would like to have a party here at my house so that my friends could all meet my new children, but asking them to bring money along is a bit more than I can do! So I will just share them here on my blog with all of you. There are so many stories I would like to share and so much to tell. My heart is full.

The opening ceremony for the sand mandala is today at 1:30, please come if you can, it will be fun and you can meet some really inspiring young men!


Michèle Hastings said...

I look forward to reading about your new family everyday!
Looking forward to learning how to make momos. I am curious to know if the monks ever request American food while visiting, and if so, what foods in our culture do they like?

oldgreymare said...

You have been granted such a beautiful gift, such blessings. I am so happy for you <3

Dennis Allen said...

What a great experience the five of you are having. The boys were so lucky to have had you and Wes to make them comfortable at the party. It was probably pretty surreal to them.

Sandy miller said...

may it never end........

doesn't it blow your mind to know we have the ability to touch hearts and minds......... sometimes no language is needed at all. we just need ....... to be.

ditto Mich'ele on the momos! I will try them!

Lori Buff said...

I imagine the boys would tell you to savor these moments now and quit dwelling on the sadness that you anticipate for next week. It's a beautiful experience, and I appreciate you sharing it with us.