We are living (soon we will move into our new little house, where we will really be "living" instead of "guesting") in a small village to the north of McLeod Ganj, far north in India. McLeod Ganj is the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. There is a huge Tibetan refugee community here. So although we are still in India, we are surrounded by a combination of Tibetan women, men, and children, Buddhist monks, and of course the local Himalayan Indian people.
As for what we are doing here... here is a link to the larger story, and I'll add that we were really pleased with the way our meditation as an informal Shekina Meditation Center was going in Goa, and we hope to continue that here. Our thoughts are to remain with the international traveling community, and so our experience of India is always an international one, at once getting to know the local people but also spending much of our time with travelers. It is not always the most comfortable place to be, but we are always thankful for all the friendships we have with people here. Shekina means "the Divine Presence" and my friend Cate wrote something recently which describes Shekina Meditation as follows:
By use of the Holy Scriptures and other Christ centered literature, we intend to create a safe place for the Divine Presence to speak to the individual heart, while also speaking to us as a group seeking the Divine Presence.
For the next few months, which are the hot season (hot? I feel like I was hot the whole time I was there!) and the monsoon in Goa, we plan to be up north here, feeling out what kind of meditation gathering we could have in this area. All that said, here are some pictures. I'm sad that my camera quit on me while I was in the midst of traveling, but Chinua's is still alive and well, so I'll show you a few of my favorites that he took. This is a pretty good shot of what Kid A was like the entire time we were on the train. I have never seen energy like the energy that a six-year-old boy has. Renee is dying to get off the train and away from the boy energy.
Leafy, on the other hand, is a pensive traveler.
As am I.
Solo is a squishable traveler with potato curry on his shirt.
YaYa's attitude toward the food here has done a 180° turn since we've been in India. It's good therapy for picky kids. Also, the bathroom therapy has been successful. She will now use any kind of toilet in any bathroom, with only a mild amount of complaint. She still doesn't like it when she has to use the bathroom after someone takes a shower, though.
She was shoveling this food down, while saying, "Wasn't that dahl SO GOOD, Mama?" Here's a tip, though. Don't assume that train food is included in your ticket if someone doesn't specifically tell you that it is. Otherwise, when the train food walla comes around for payment, you'll be giving each other blank looks while patting your empty pockets. (Not that it costs THAT much.) Here's a shot near McLeod Ganj.
And another. Gorgeous, just gorgeous.