Tibetan: Tashi delek, English: Hello, how are you?
Yeah, I tought what to do for the next 4 months? It will be monsoon season in India, Nepal,… so have a place to stay for a longer time and try to do something useful – so why not learn Tibetan language? Would be nice to understand the monks at „my monastery in Pokhara“ and if you meet with other monks, Lamas, Rinpoches,… maybe with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama it would be nice to speak a few sentences in their mother tongue.
So I booked a place for a Tibetan language program in the Azom Drodul Gompa, Dollu, near Kathmandu/Nepal.
At the beginning of May I crossed the land border in Silguri/India without any problems but some min to wait. For leaving India I needed 1x passportsize photo (for India different size!!!), 1x passport copy and for entering Nepal the Visa fee (in Nepali/Indian rupee or US$) just 1x passportsize copy. Normally I passed the afternoon bus to Kathmandu (1x morning, 1x afternoon) but the bus didn’t left Karkabhitta (border city of Nepal) no long ago, so the tourist agency called the bus driver, they would wait for me. So bought a ticket, paid a motorbike driver some money to get me to the bus, who was just 1km ahead. And so started my welcome back trip to Nepal. Normally the journey should just take ~12h but through traffic jam (we waited at the hill to enter Kathmandu at least 2h :(( ) we arrived after ~24h, yeah.
my attached bathroom
When I arrived at the „guesthouse“ of the monastery I was really impressed from the standard of the accommodation provided for us students. Compared to the place were I stayed the few nights before in Boudha-Kathmandu it was just overwhelming ;D
Then the course started… (picture shows the Tibetan alphabet)
Tibetan is a phonic language so a lot of letters are pronounced for the untrained ear similar, so it was and still is really hard to produce the right pronunciation. But I still trying ;D Normally our teacher should be Glen Mingyur Rinpoche, a very experienced Tibetan language teacher, how has years of experience teaching Tibetan to Westerners. But he good sick some weeks before the course should start. We got another teacher who probably didn’t have any experience in teaching Westerners, so it was quite chaotic (typical for Nepal in my experience) but yeah what to do.
(http://www.azomcollege.net/en/show.aspx?info_lb=14&flag=14&info_id=74) On this webpage you find the course details from last year. This year there was just the language program and the course program was nearly the same – no meditation class at all.
We celebrated the birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with a big puja and some traditional Tibetan performances. Therefore there was no morning class
The construction works on the boudanath stupa, biggest stupa in the entire world are progressing. Just the top of the stupa was destroyed during the 2 big earthquakes that hit Nepal last year. All the construction works are going very slowly because the Nepali government, well, didn’t spend us much money as they should by now for these repairing projects. But it really takes too long and therefore the UNESCO gave Nepal 1 more year to fix their world heritage sights otherwise these sights would loss the title world heritage sight.
During the monsoon, when the sewer tunnels are full this will happen. Get wet feet or wait until the water is gone (that could take a while).
Vegetarian burger, french fries and salat
Tomato soup & spinach-cheese momos ;))
I was always so happy to be back in the city to be able to eat some different food because after a while you get really, really sick of ti-momo, different curries, and Thentuk.
After the first few days we complained about the food because it was too spicy, too much oil and not really healthy. It improved a little bit but yeah our woman were really fed up with the food situation that they nearly never showed up for breakfast. We weren’t really happy with it but it was a good situation to practise compassion and get out of your comfort zone.
If I had to do it again, I would say clearly: NO!
For the last month of the course I also got sick again – influenza and twisted my ankle 3x on a walk around. We also had to cancel the 1 week break after 2 months because of the teacher change we started 1 week later and I was really fed up with the food situation, the teaching style. So I lost of language knowledge because of missing practise…
It probably sounds like I blame everything else but myself but this is my point of view, if you like it of not.
After the end of the program I just went back to Kathmandu and restored my power to go on the road again. I needed nearly 3 weeks to do so but unfortunately through this I missed the 10-days course „Introduction into Tibetan Medicine“ at the Men-Tsee-Khang, McLeod Ganj/India :((
Finally, I’m able to read Tibetan scripture and have a basic knowledge of the language. I just need to put daily afford into memorizing more and more words. But until my language skills reached a really good level it will take quite a while. But it’s definitely a difficult language and the translator program for example in McLeod Ganj/India takes 2 years, so I’m looking forward to my language course 🙂