Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
It was alot of fun and I was exhausted from cleaning on Sunday.
/dr meets guitar hero
Class party! Crazy dancing + some good food!
Class gift - they know how much I heart cupcakes.
This set is from the "Cupcake Shoppe" on Eglinton :: 2nd best in t.O
cheers to dan + graham for the jazzie background vibes!
+ blake for "eternal" grabbing the enoch original light from the love feast.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Today I took an old record and turned it into clock.
Record :10cents + Clock :$1.00 + Time :3 minutes = One fun Xmas gift for a mate.
Plus I am making a couple for the place.
One for India. One for the Uk. One for Canada.
My landlord is a sculptor and our lives don't really intertwine for his periodic visits for studio sculpting - so it's weird to have the whole space to myself.
I haven't lived in one place for more than 9 months in the PAST 9
years. I should be a bit more messed up than I am now - but for some
reason it doesn't feel like the end of the world and I feel fine.
In keeping with that tradition - life played itself out where I had to
move again, this time
I-sort-of-got-accustom to life in a condo in a pretty ritzy part of
town. It was a bit tooo posh for me, but I felt blessed everyday to be
in that space. It was a really different world for me with a Huge HD
Tv, $3000 couches and glass shower. Now I don't really miss any of it
except that I really miss my roommate.
This time faith moved me to the complete opposite side of the tracks
to bloor and lansdowne. I did a community walk of the area and
literally feel in love with it. It has the same vibe as my old hood
Queen and Broadview before the Starbucks + pretentious people moved
It has the same Bank of Montreal, value village, jerk chicken, cool
beer place, a local community centre [aka strip club], train tracks
and a slew of really cheap variety stores and neighbourhood groceries.
+ there are no commercial box stores for a 15 minute walk in any
direction. I heart that!
So I am in love with it and this new loft that I am living in is
tucked far away from it all in the corner of the hood + it's full of
interesting artist + bricks walls + high ceilings.
Monday, December 03, 2007
the party tonite. Mostly to check out the new LEED certified church on
BUT THIS RULESSSS!
We need one in Toronto. Dan start one.
report - I am feeling alot better and the meds are slowly wearing off
- I feel kinda normal.
Saying that I am still in shock that I pulled of this weekend alive and well.
Friday was suppose to be the mom/son weekend retreat - but she didn't
want to leave town so we hung around Toronto at the Keg, watched a
movie and brewed some homemade tea.
Craziness happened when my baby cousin felt ill and we rushed to visit
him at the hospital - he's less than 6 months so it was intense to see
this beautiful spirit sick.
We took my other baby cousin home and then next day I showed him how
to cook breakfast for adults. I miss hanging around young children -
they give me sooo much energy - adults have so much drama.
Then I went back to the new apartment to clean - yeah - I moved this
weekend as well. The new place is a huge departure from the old place
and it kinda looks like the apartment from Rent. I really like it ALOT
- but it's also ALOT of cleaning and the high loft ceiling makes the
wind chime with some freaky creaky rythmn.
Headed off to a friend's Bday bash, watched the snow storm and went to
bed around 4amish.
Woke up at 10am - meet my friend at the Grapefruit moon for brekkie -
went home did homework for a billion hours and then headed back to the
4am house to help make sushi and attend the church love feast. The
feast reminds me that our community is cool and sometimes, just
sometimes that all the politics is worth it.
I got home around 10pmish and just in time to do homework and hit the bed.
Hurray for Toronto - I love it here!
Now I have some essays and assignment due in the next bit - so I am
off to hide in my loft to finish em up.
Monday, November 26, 2007
For some reason I almost started to cry and I got a little flustered when I realized that my cupcake buddy was sitting alone in the east end waiting for me with a red velvet cupcake.
Due to my lack of internet at home - I missed my cupcake time with LL and only found out about it 6 hrs later.
So my best mate and I did the one hour hetic drive to get the last batch of cupcakes in Toronto. Then I lost my cell phone and I had to play telephone tag with the lovely sue to figure out the rendevous time with LL before her and Sue moved to New York forever happily ever.
It was hetic and fun - but at the end of the morning I managed to see my friend for 10 mins, apologize with 8 cupcakes [there were a dozen but the temptaion was wayyyy too much] + some gift from Tibet.
Then I made the mad dash to the subway to head to Orangeville to co-lead some workshops on cultural sensitivity and travelling in India.
On the subway I started to cry because I really miss my platonic cupcake buddy and well my world is really different/same here in T.O this year.
Whatever happened to this Jam? I kinda want him back.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
it's going to happen for the next two weeks.
Some cool things have happened in all this sickness - I spent last
week at a schmoozer Fundraising conference. It was weird to spend my
time in a suit, politely handing over business cards over roast beef
and wine + it was weird to meet people that give $20 million to a
It was a mandatory school event and it was fun and awkward to network.
Speaking of school - I am in the middle of writing a $1million
campaign for a not-for-profit Christian group - really excited because
I think we can actually raise that much money plus much more.
My world is sooo weird.
Friday, November 09, 2007
I feel sooo ill - vomitting, headaches and I just feel weak.
This is the re-action to the antibotics that I am taking to get rid of
some india bugs that I had since July?. It's been a tough ride dealing
with it for the past couple of months but I grew accustom to the
I also don't like meds - I rarely take em and would honestly have
nothing to do with these ones - but this is really important and I
tried some herbal stuff in Nepal in August with no resutls.
So for the next two weeks life is going to be me dealing with this
sickness while attending an important school conference.
Plus I feel like a big baby when I get sick because I rarely get sick with meds.
now but it still feels really crazy to plunge into a COMPLETELY
different world. In early Sept I was sitting on my boat in Pokhara
reading "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" drifting towards the
mountains and then suddenly a week later plunge myself into the world
Now that the dust has settled and India has come to a seasonal close -
I really miss some of my dear friends from last year
I deeply miss LL - she was my monday nite cupcake partner and we
talked about everything under the sun...she moved in August to New
York and is now designing hotels...her current Brooklyn pad looks
I miss LTK - she was my lifeline with India and I developed a deep
platonic working crush on her....she moved to the Netherlands before I
left for India and it took me a couple week to get over the fact that
she moved when I got back home. I have some immense respect for this
women...her current pad also looks amazing.
I also miss my old roommate/neighbourhood coffee buddy Neil - we would
randomly go for coffee on the east end and chat with people on the
I also really miss checking "Now Magazine" to see if he is performing
and sneaking into his apartment to steal clothes or clean his place. I
walked by the old flat the other day and I started to shed a tear...
Neil moved to Montreal to dance and knowing Neil his pad is probably
I miss it all...but I thank God for the new season and the new
adventure of life.
Miss you guys.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
During my last update in India - I set of for a month of meditation and peace. Eventually with the help of Tibetan hipsters, I ended up in Rishikesh. I spent my days mediating by the river Ganges, engaging my bones in morning yoga and my mind by attended some interesting lectures based on Buddhism, Christianity,Gandhi, Hinduism and Jesus.
Faith was kind to me, because a couple weeks prior I gave all my money to a Mother Teresa's project. So I spent a good chunk of my time starving and I only had $75 to live on for the whole entire month and it was seriously ONE of the best months of my life.
I was constantly starving and weak, but I continually kept giving all my possession away - at one point my only meal for the day was a watermelon that I could only afford at the nite market. I usually shared this meal with my amazing neighbours in the ashram.
When I returned to Kolkata 4 weeks later - my friends didn't recognize me and even the nuns I worked with for 4 summers thought I was a homeless Kolkatan.
My blog for June tells some really cool stories.
During this time I learnt more about food and my life than anything that was thrown at me in the past 6 years+
2. Tea, Lhasa :: Tibet :: The nunnery
Tibet changed my life. I was very blessed to spend 3 weeks in Lhasa. During this time I got an apartment [the former HH - teacher's pad], purchased an ass-bike, took Tibetan classes at the university and spent every afternoon at the nunnery [see pic below] hanging out with nuns. I heart Tibetan nuns and every afternoon I practiced my Tibetan with everyone in the cafe - it was amazing to witness a row of elderly people showing me how to count to 10 and teaching me customs for eating. Most importantly I learnt to share every meal and every cup of tea with EVERYONE in the cafe and this became an automatic part of my life. As soon as your glass is empty you automatically fill it for another person, it was a great sign of respect.
Pics are here::
3. Media :: Youtube
It's kinda funny to be off the grid for a couple months - no tv, no magazines and no hipsters... then I come back home to the west and see the new fads. Last year Youtube shocked me and then online video journals shocked me. I have been doing this since 2001. now I am all camera shy...
Facebook: "A stalker's wet dream" [and the C.I.A] I am very sure that I will have to join facebook before the end of the school semester, because even my teacher uses it for networking and I am constantly left out of class events. Does anyone know who owns facebook?
Music: My left ear is currently listening to Indie band "Miracle Fortress" My right ear has " Kevin Drew" and for some bizarre reason M.I.A is making my feet move.
Tuesday Night is date nite: It started off as let's-see-how-well-we-can-get-to-know-each-other-date. Then it progressed into a weekly event and now it's my goal to introduce everyone to her. So here I go... Pushing Daises is now my biggest crush and it's easily the most magical hour of television.
The writing is soo good [un like my blog] that I usually watch it twice just to get the in jokes. Move over Feist - Anna Friel is slowly becoming my new crush. [LL you should work on this show and you ARE chuck]
4. Toronto :: Dishwasher/Pre-Chef
Simple living it's been a process of the past 5 years to build up this point, but the constant struggle of need vs want has to be put through the grinder every couple years in order to keep life interesting. After my return to Toronto last summer I really wanted a different life. So I decided to got a job that ends at 4pm - no extra hours and no unnecessary stress. I applied to wash dishes in a neighbourhood restaurant [believe it or not this is one of my dream jobs] and 3 days later found myself promoted to prep chef as well. It was soooooo aweome to learn how to cook some really creative meals and work in an industry that I knew absolutely nothing about - I found it riveting and exhasuting.
I also got a very simple aparment - and decided to live life very simple. I got 2knives, 2 forks , 2 plates etc & I decided to built almost all of my own furniture and kept it neatly bohmenian. Community living was amazing - I had tabs in all the local hotspots,[even had keys to local pub!] and would only purchase goods from the community - if it wasn't from the East End then I would think long and hard if I ever actually needed it. This was an extremely hard season for me, but I really wanted to know if I could take 8 years of travel experience and international work and bring that lifestyle to Toronto.
5. Best Email:
I hope all is well with you in Nepal and thank you for inviting me on the
trip and taking me under your wing. It's been amazing. I don't even know
what to say. Just know that the path my life takes it is in part due to the
influence you had in it:)
This email rocked my world. I hired my former CWY participant to be my co-leader for the India trip last summer and we just kicked ass this summer for working together. It's kinda crazy that the person who has seen every side of me and who I have spent the most time with in the past 2 years is a 19 year old girl who lives in Calgary. Her boyfriend must be jealous.
FreedomizeIndia:: I am sooo blessed to go to India five seasons in a row. I feel even more blessed to take 2 groups this year - the first trip was easily one the best trip that I have ever been a part of...people got the vision and just rolled with it - it's been 6 months and people are still serving in Kolkata.
I simple stand back in awe every year and think of how much India, Mother Teresa and the people that I meet have changed my life. It's the constant struggle and joy to push myself + faith that makes it all possible.
I hope all is well with everyone and if you don't want to be on this list - please eletter me and I will fix it up.
Have a great day everyone!
peace and blessings
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Last nite it was 5am. With 3 back to back meetings of school groups
and india work...
I feel soo exhausted and I know I keep saying this...but it's sooo much fun.
I love living in Toronto and I try to make the most out of every
single day - visiting friends, stretching myself with intense life
lessons, patio munchies, homework and doing the stuff that I can't do
on the road. I really try to live each day to the max here...
I also wanted to say thanks...in the past week I have gotten some
amazing e-letters from people that I didn't even know read my blog :>
I simply didn't even know what to do!
It was all soooo encouraging to read...still in shock from it
all...and it all when deep.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I pulled close to 3 all niters in the past 4 days and everything seems
to have melted into one. Today I finish the big assignment - only to
notice that there are 5 other "big" ones due in the next week - meh?
I went out with a mate to celebrate and my eye starting twitching and
I almost passed on from pure exhaustion.
Plus on top of that I am really sick - I feel like death. My meds [yes
I am that sick - i am actually taking meds!] are sitting right beside
my computer but I refuse to take all of em ... after reading the crazy
warnings and reading reviews on the net. I want my mind to be sorta of
solid for the next while. So I just need to finish the next 1 1/2 week
of crazy school work + life and then it can all come back to some sort
of "normal"...so I can take these pills and stop vomitting etc.
I do have to admit though - this is all quite fun. I love pushing
myself, my thoughts and ideas. Life has been shitty but these
wonderful distractions has given me some more time to focus quite
while on the crap.
btw>> this quote rocks!
After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal.
The game is what counts.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Unfortunately the high brake maintenance + constant moving makes life harder for me to keep him.
I miss him and biking in the city - and now it's too cold to get a new bike :<
I am just happy that I faced my fear of biking in the city. It was short lived - but it was nice. Tomorrow I walk.
This path is hard and when you fuck up and stumble it gets harder. The world really wants people like to me fail - they enjoy it...
Plus faith usually teaches me a harsh lesson.
Is this really worth it?
Thanksgiving weekend was hard being with the family, this week it's just hard being... I found out that I was right with a really small issue but then I approached it in an extremely wrong way and well my incompetence was unusually harmful and I just f**ked up. It's kinda funny that you can work soooooo hard and put your blood into something so intense and then you mess it up in one moment...
This is my life.
At church I got my heart pulled out by the sermon that was specifically ordained for me... and man... did the that ever hurt, being proven an asshole is one thing but hearing it subliminally[?] told to a whole church + friends is another. The truth hurts and the pastor even looked up at me and I felt like judgement day at the pearly gates was on...
I sat there and prayed, but God left me in Kolkata during a rainy monsoon in June and his peace + spirit has not returned since...
So prayer didn't help one bit, vipassana meditation didn't help either and so I decided to tuck my tail in between my legs and limp out straight to my sin - the unfair trade coffee at Second cup. Standing there in line after ordering a soy cafe latte - I turned around to see and old friend and my heart instantly sank even lower... WTF is she doing in Canada? Why here? Why now? [Abe] What are the odds?
I couldn't deal with the awkward hello and small talk so I whisked out hoping that they she didn't recognize me [few people in Toronto really know my face in a crowd] I put on some Across the Universe and decided to take the long walk home...hoping to hell not to bump in Gandhi and Marilyn Manson smoking weed in the park.
Now the latte has conflicted with my stomach meds and I feel sick + with a whole all nighter of homework is coming up...
Monday, October 08, 2007
On to other news ::
The best letter arrived from my former participant in Sri Lanka - I love decoding em'!
WART YOU DOING NAW HAWS YOU LAIF NAW
you now i will go to jaffna naxt week if you werth me you cuod hawe go to jaffna werth me . its will be good for you bechors i now you good trewala .JAM I WHONT ARAUNDE IN THE WERLLD HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I am also looking for insurance for "Chuck Norris" - does anyone where I can find that in Toronto?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
School + Red Bull + car + girls = corporation yuck!
Halo sunset from my roomate's pad.
Saturday I volunteered with my friend Scott and planted trees on the island - these are my trees!
My bike aka "Chuck Norris"- Esther from freedomize suggested a name.... I picked the first one that came to my mind...
Riding around the island really rocked - the weather was perfect and the sky was beautiful...
Sunrise view from my balcony after the long nite at Nuit Blanche.
I heart this city.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I saw "The Kingdom" last nite - and I highly recommend this movie! The intro is just simple amazing...
and the rest just follows...the ending is superb.
Breakfast with the Community "Guru" Andrew + Tree planting on the island + Mom's B'day Dinner + Nuite Blanche + All nighter with friends = THE BEST TORONTO DAY EVER!
I am so excited that I might pee my pants...
Tomorrow = homework, I really love school - it's fun and fantastic.
Can't wait to post pics...
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I might buy one for my family as a xmas gift...
Toronto - I heart you - this is 500% better than american apparel plus porn free!
Damn funny - Jesus I also heart you
Okay it's 1.30am - late nite post are always crazy, must stop homework and go to sleep....
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The last time I biked in Toronto was 4 years ago and it scarrrrred the shit out of me - biking in Delhi and Tibet felt sooo much safer...So this is weird and every time I get on it - I face my fear of biking in Toronto, and this is part of the plan to constantly face the fear head on until I love it.
It was kinda weird yesterday standing in the store and picking out bikes to ride up and down the street... I kinda felt a bit giddy and it reminded me of being a high school kid driving my first car...
The store owners were quite nice that with my subtle Asia bargaining skills I was able to get a damn good deal on a red moped style helmet, a lock and a tarp!
The e-bike reminds me of the one that I had in Cambodia last year and I really thought that I picked a simple looking bike - but all my friends admit that it looks pretty pimped and it's a sweet smooth drive. It's also good to have random conversations with strangers again... I probably had over a dozen people ask me questions about it in just one day.
Well back to doing homework - it's kinda funny that it's a perfect Saturday morning and I am inside doing homework.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I couldn't believe that this still exists...
Racist sickos allegedly tortured black W.Va. woman for week
By BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, September 12th 2007, 4:00 AM
Megan Williams is comforted by mother, Carmen, in Charleston, W.Va.,
hospital bed as Megan recovers from horrifying ordeal of torture and
rape, allegedly at hands of racists.
Suspects in abuse Lured into a house of hate, a black West Virginia
woman was raped, choked, stabbed and forced to eat dog and rat feces
as her six white tormentors berated her with the N-word, prosecutors
The ghastly week-long ordeal for 20-year-old Megan Williams ended
Saturday when she stumbled out of her captors' shack near Charleston,
pleading for help from cops responding to an anonymous tip at the
Among those facing hate-crimes prosecution in the gruesome case are
two mothers and their two adult children, officials said.
"This seems like outright malice. It's something you'd see in a
horror movie," said prosecutor Brian Abraham, adding that the FBI was
assisting the investigation.
Williams, 20, is in a hospital recovering from days of torture, but
she may never recover from the emotional trauma she's endured, her
"Every time they stabbed her, they called her 'n----r,'" Carmen
Williams told The Charleston Gazette. "She wakes up in the middle of
the night screaming, 'Mommy.' What's really bad is that we don't know
everything they did to her. She is crying all the time."
While the Daily News tries to protect the identities of
sexual-assault victims, Carmen Williams insisted the press identify
her daughter so that the public is "aware that things like that will
Cops said Megan Williams was intentionally lured into the trap by two
people she thought were her friends.
"Apparently once they got her there they planned to do this," said
Logan County Deputy Police Chief V.K. Dingess.
Arrested were Frankie Brewster, 49, and her son Bobby, 24. Also
nabbed were Karen Burton, 46; her daughter Alisha, 23; Danny Combs,
20, and George Messer, 27.
Police were searching for two others, who allegedly drove her to the house.
The suspects took turns beating, stabbing, choking and sexually
abusing Williams while constantly threatening her with death,
according to a criminal complaint.
A rope was placed around Williams' neck, her hair was ripped out and
she was made to eat dog and rat feces, drink from a toilet and lick up
blood, the complaint charges. At one point, she was sexually assaulted
while scalding water was poured on her body.
She was stabbed in the leg at least four times and both of her ankles
were cut by a female suspect who allegedly taunted her, saying,
"That's what we do to n-----s around here."
"They abused her sexually, stabbed her and probably would have killed
her if they had not gotten caught," said Magistrate Leonard Codispoti.
punitive measures only continue to foster violence...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
It's a sneak pic. I am working on putting the rest of the pics from India and Nepal up in the next couple days and then a mass email to actually tell people that I am "home"
This one here is not on the website yet... this is house wine from the House of Shambala - it's hard to find good wine on the road and well my Lhasa friend and I polished off two bottles - who can resist with a story like that? [read the fine print]
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
So I set out for a long walk and hit the queen west art crawl - which was quite amazing to see all those crazy hipsters in one place...i loved it.... then I randomally bumped into Sue [who also went for a walk to get back in the groove of Toronto] and it was perfect timing because I needed advice on a rare sweater purchase. Her sweater advice was pretty impressive so we went out for coffee and talked about random summer tidbits
After that I hit the damn good Ehtopian Vegan restaurant on Queen West for some lite samosa's and then my fave bar called the Rhino for my friend's Bday. It was fun meeting people again that I haven't seen in months...
Then I made the mad dash to the Film Festival for a weird brother/sister tradition. Midnite Madness. My sister and I have for the past 5 years started watching horror films together - we usually put up our hoodies, duck our heads, cuddle up together and scream out loud... + we usually have a good history of pickin films...Well this French film just didn't disappoint - [blogto.com has a good review] it was the goriest movie that I have sever seen and it completed the crazy nite. Midnite Madness fans are usually the best of the festival - it's like watching a movie with 500 hundred of your closest friends.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
We capped off the nite by having fish and chips on the thames while looking at the london bridge - I actually it occurred to me that I knew London pretty well...and was pointing out sites, making a list of things he must see and places he has to eat/drink.
It was also fun to see my Cambodian bike mate and chill with her for 3 days - she's a load of fun to chat with and has a pretty unique view of Londoners...
Oh this is all sooo last week and I my world is soooo different now..
BTW>> Tube security alerts suck! The journey to the airport was only suppose to take an hr, but thanks to the security alert it took over 2 hrs +. I made a mad dash to the airport and got there 40 mins before my flight was taking off...thank God for online checkin - it saved my ass + I also got to bump into Simon Pegg and a wack load of other stars who were all running late for the late... I am not a star struck person so it was more annyoning that he got ahead of me in line and I naturally got pulled over for a security check.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
yes sue :: I will be coming back to toronto in the next couple days and DAMN excited! [BTW - your pics are freakin awesome!]
I usually do a friendly stop over in London on my way back to set myself up for culture shock debrief/seeing family and friends and de-stressing before I get back to Toronto.
And I will be abusing the next 3 nites of sleep because on Monday morning I start school!
I just found out that I got into my secondary program of choice in Toronto - and even though classes started about 5 days ago...I passed the phone interview and jumped through most of the hoops...I just have one small hurdle to clear, but I can make it.
So it's nice to be back here I miss London, the people the smells, the vibe... I have been coming here on and off for around 8 years - sometimes for a nite, a week and then there was that time I stayed for like 9 months in England...damn that feels like an eternity ago... but, the change hasn't been that drastic like other major cities and I am just in love with the laid back city life + my friends here are damn cool.
BTW>>> Yesterday evening while going for a random walk in Delhi - I saw this girl that looked like my friend from Toronto, I raced up to her and then did and awkard smiled when it wasn't... About an hr ago I bumped into her again but this time she was lost in the London Tube and needed directions...
I love when things like this happen.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
the 1st I started to write - I forgot exactly happened - sooo much went on in 48hrs that I couldn't fit it into one blog....
the 2nd time I started it there was a group of tibetans sitting next to me checking out an online tibetan girls dating service and I got distracted - no - not by the girls - but by the MONK who was checking em out' - A MONK!
I have to admit that the monks here hang out with some of the cutest hipster tibetans and foreigners...there is a rumour that Germans come to Dharamsala and specifically look to steal em away... LTK is this your plan?
the 3rd time got interrupted when I had to write a random essay for school [yeah I am trying my best to get into one!]
This time I am going to finish this post - if it's the last thing I do before leaving India.
That and drinking a chai by the temple...i am just it love here... these tibetans are tooo cute...
Monday, September 03, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
now I am here in Dubai and I still see the picture of Friday night when we said good by in this ugly noisy street and you went away, your head down, not looking back. I felt very sad and at this moment and stood there for al longer time in that street. I knew that you are definetly one of my most valuable (do you say so?) and important man I met on my trip. Maybe it sounds strange ... but I really miss you, Jam.
Thanks for the good time we spend together and thanks for the good conversations.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Side note ::
The last 24 hrs have been extremely exhausting - I have spent most of it in meetings planning for next year's trip. Meeting with Program Directors, Directors of ??, Staff and local community leaders... I got alot of information about I am quite excited, but I am truly exhausted and relieved that it is all over - now to process these meetings on paper and submit it for a proposal to the Toronto NGO for approval.
Now this is the hard part and I made a promise to have it ALL done in the next 4 days!!! - my last proposal in Nov was 30 pages...
How the heck am I going to do this in 3 days? Me and my big mouth [as they say in Trini...]
One of the cool pluses that happened today was meeting a German writer who overhead our NGO meeting - we spent a while chatting after and he wants to include me in include me in his new NGO book! He loves the unique trips that I run and is willing to fly over after he finishes his next book to interview me.... it all sounds really exciting and I would love to connect him to some other people I know that do some AMAZING work - my head has a huge list.
Weird day - but then this is me...
peace in fear [sounds weird]
Monday, August 27, 2007
The "book" in 1st John 4 > that I should shun fear and choose love instead.
Rent [the musical] > Main theme is to "give into love or live in fear"
I don't have a clue what buddha thinks...
Now I am off to face it - in the face of a terrifying phone call.
Sidenote :: I don't want to be in Kathmandu [this is not part of the fear] - I rather not be here at all, but I am planning out a trip for a Toronto NGO next year and so here I am here sitting at the computer - look at schedules, reports and planning out some future events. Tomorrow I meet with the NGO director and then take a sample tour of the community. I requested to do this undercover - so know one knows who I am... this is all going to be fun and in theory ALL of this should be fun - but instead I wish I was in Lhasa learning tibetan and smiling with people... that country got me.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This is starting to show and the big city of Nepal is slowly getting to me ::
A couple nites ago someone offered my some drugs [which is a normal thing in backpacker hippie areas] I usually put up my hand or just walk away - but then the offer came for a women and then a kid and that irked me. I asked him again just to make sure... and he repeated it - we had a quick exchange of words that were more unpleasant on his side... so I grabbed his shirt and pushed him up against the car.
"No - don't ever ask me that again, or I will kick your ass - do you hear me?"
"I am not scared of you - what can you do?"
Then suddenly I am surrounded by 5 + men [all short young Nepalis]
His words became unpleasant and then i realized that he was completely drugged out... but I didn't back down and then I mentioned some police, NGO groups that work with children and some other crazy things in my perfect Cdn accent. I was starting to get scared inside but at the same time I was totally upset - and for some reason I kinda felt time stood still..
One of the other men came up to me and clearly said that he didn't want any trouble...and then I slowly backed off...told him to NEVER ask me that again.
It's funny because I haven't seen that group since in the past two days and i am quite relieved about it....because I don't know what I would do if I did.... this is the world and it's a bit frightening...
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I went with 3 other people that I meet on my trip to Lhasa - a german who is biking around the world, an amazing spaniard [that has done EVERYTHING under the sun], and an Egyptian Londoner who just finished a stint of traditionally tribal hut building in Kashmir .... all together we represented the UN and we had a shit load of laughs and fun.
I immediately fell in love with the yaks - they are amazing creatures that keep chewing while giving milk + they can win any ultimate starring competition. In the pic you can see how beautifully they are dressed and the owners treat them with the ultimate respect.
During the trek I realized how out of shape I was... especially on the 2nd day after our 9hr hike + 1 litre of water + 5000m up [the highest I have ever been] = one really sick jam. The third day was ultimately better, but with the views and amazingly clean air I couldn't stay sick for long...
By day 4 all was normal the altitude adjustment was already in my blood - it's kinda funny that I could bike for hrs at 3000m with no problems but going uphill I just get breathless and feel really dizzy...
My Lhasa friend and I are heading to a lesser known nunnery this weekend with some hotsprings and I am excited...but not excited to leave Lhasa I love it here ALOT.
This is my hotel - it has a unique spot in Lhasa as it used to be the home of "the man's" teacher, it's got a cool vibe, solar power on the roof, a cool library and the staff are ridiculously super friendly... I am in love with this place.
This is my ASS bike - I got it for $15 [and later found out I payed $5 tooo much] however it's cheaper than renting a bike for $3 a day. It has a basket, a bell and squeaky brakes but I love it dearly and when I left for my 5 day trek I gave it to my Lhasa friend [who is 1/2 way through her 6 month stint] and now she LOVES biking in Lhasa.
I love encouraging people to bike!
This is my classroom at the university. I signed up for Tibetan classes for a couple hrs a day [the alphabet is DAMN hard] - the clock is my teacher's - he is an artist and is quite funny!
After class I usually bike the nunnery [I really miss any nuns..] they have a really nice restaurant and for 50cents I get and endless supply of tea and some momo's. The Tibetans that eat there are really super friendly and sometimes I spend an hr or 2 just chatting with em...recapping my Tibetan lessons, talking about hidden places to visit - while they secretly make fun of my long Indian nose.
Then I usually spend an hr or two biking around every nook of Lhasa trying to catch up on sites and hotels for a possible trip next year. It's really fun work. During an out of the way bike ride I found this potential amazing bookshelf...Another day I biked to monastery in which monks debate in public about monk "stuff"...
After I usually end the day with friends that I meet in Lhasa or on my trek - these days it's been a mixture of Tibetans [yesterday I drank 2 litres of sweet tea just chatting with em' and felt ill] and some local NGO workers which are quite amazing...
I have been really blessed to be able to spend 3 weeks in Lhasa and actually get to know people and places personally. I kinda wish my Visa wasn't for a month otherwise I would be extremely tempted to stay here for a very long time...
Too me it's really a slice of heaven.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I thinka I heard a feist?
Will be posting alot of stories and pics today... so excited to share about the past week it's been adventurous and fun!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I am actually quite sad to leave Lhasa - I seriously don't want to go - there is sooo much things to do...
Today I biked to Sera Monastery - it's a monastery where monks debate and it's quite and intense site to see monks shouting at each other - I don't know if it is real or staged but regardless it's a crazily amazing site to witness...
I got lost on the way to the monastery and spent 2 hrs biking in the wrong direction - I saw alot of army trucks and even a tank that was stopping vehicles on a 45 minute circular route...At one point the tank stopped when it spotted me and I ducked into a store for some quick tea and decided I must be heading in the wrong direction...so I just turned around...and quickly headed back...
On the way back I picked up a school kid who jumped on the back of my bike for 10 mins as we went a crazy speed downhill...he just kept laughing and I just repeated Hindi phrases to pass off as an India tourist.
All of this is quite fun and really a good distraction from some crazy moments that I face daily in my life...
BTW>>> Someone asked me recently "What is your favourite song"
The answer is "Will I lose my dignity?" by Jonathon Larson - it's from the musical Rent and the back story of it is amazing...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_I%3F --- check it out ---
Monday, August 06, 2007
The hotel that I am staying at use to belong to the Dala Lamai's old teacher and has the historic feeling to it - in fact there is no locks on the inside just old wooden slates that slide across...
There is a brown cat that I kinda feel in love with - [I nicknamed it panchen :>]
Free Laundry and amazing guest from around the world and tibet....
A couple days ago I purchased [that's right!] a kick ass bike [with a bell and basket] and now I bicycle everywhere around Lhasa. I love winding through the old corridors + the HUGE bike lanes [hurray China Urban planning!}
I usually eat lunch at a nunnery which consist of a flask of tea, some momos and again endless conversation. Most people think that I Nepali and they just LOVE to engage me in conversation, when they find out that I am not...
So the group trip is over and some of us still hang out for dinner and the occasionally good meal. My hotel has a kitchen which is quite amazing and so last nite I made a wicked salad, the German philiopshy cooked a yak steak, the Egyptian and Mexican brought fruits and some cheap ass wine - all on the roof of my hotel...
Then the most amazing thing happened :: the skies went cloudy to the east... a double rainbow appeared which turned the green hills to white with snow and then the light show appeared...
A digital camera and my storytelling abilities doesn't do it justice...
So I hope this pic [please firewall Chinese Government show this pic...] Taken by Brendan on our group trip - with his kick ass camera...
Will try to post more pics and stories - if this blog goes through...
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Just getting to Tibet was quite fun - I signed up for a massive group tour [something that I RARELY EVER do], it's the cheapest way to get into the country [flying is double the cost and half the fun] and then I found out that I was travelling with 36 people for 8 days....ummm...I was not impressed but then after meeting the folks - they TOTALLY ROCK.
There are two germans who are biking around the world for charity - http://triparoundtheworld.de/
Australian - DJ and games master - we did some really cool group games
A couple girls from Krakow poland - my next fave destination in the EU - I have to go there...
An Egyptian Londoner who reminds me of an old friend I dearly miss...
A frenchie doing his PHD in Tibetan Meditation
And even a Marxist from the West end in Toronto....
And sooo much more...
It's funny because I don't think we all like the big group thingy and sitting on a tourist bus high above everyone is not my thing - I like taking local transport and connecting with people along the way... That was the only pet peeve I had about the trip.
So it was amazing just to connect with these folks and I learnt sooooooooo much...it was actually quite fun, unpredictable and amazingly insightful - I don't regret it for a second and was totally happy to be proven wrong.
There is sooo much to talk about and I will write more about my experiences over the next couple days...
I just found out 2 days ago that I didn't get into school for the fall....it's kinda funny since I gave up the dream job in Uganda to go back to school - honestly thinking that I would get in...so this is kinda unexpected for me and now I kinda have to figure out the fall situation....so I am going to spend a couple days on the internet sorting out stuff...they also have skype here so expect a call or two.
Little Lisa you are very hard person to get a whole off...
Friday, July 27, 2007
In true Chinese consulate style it got handed to me at the last minute and my departure was pre-ordained for 5am the next day. Which was absoutely crazy for planning - some crazy items I needed to get before the stores clothes:
- 5 Degree sleeping bag
Rain coat/Jacket - I love this jacket!
Clothes - I need winter clothes after the India summer???- hat, scarf, sweater, wolly socks
And a whole lot of little gimmicks
Kathmandu is fantastic for finding those items fast and I got everything in less than 2 hrs while running around with my head cut off ...double/triple checking prices...
Unbelieveable I got everything for less than $100 Cdn...Now the trick is to make it all fit with my current partner - she can only carry 17 L
Unfortunately I had to sign up with a tour for 7 days to get across the border, but after that I have 3 weeks to roam around on my own. I don't know anyone who has spent 3 weeks + in Tibet solo and I am sooo excited to just wander around...
This is hopefully going to be part of my tech fast for a month?? - while avoiding land slides, scams, crazy corruption etc... I dont think some of the areas that I am going to have email or phone or even roads...sweet.
I have soo much to share about this trip and the potential but I have to wait until I get back...it's been in the sensitive planning stages for a while and some parts are still somewhat sensitive... so I will share more later...
Have the best month everyone and write me some emails, I have alot of work to do when I get back to Kathmandu, so it's good to have something crazy to come back to...
Thursday, July 26, 2007
We talked for a bit with the principal and other teachers over chai about potential projects and I can't wait to see what my friend and I come up with in the future for a "sustainable educational trip"
Sunday, July 22, 2007
My teacher is in his early 20's who's full of life, he hails from Darjeeling and speaks over 7 languages. He's here vacationing for the summer and taking some extra classes + learning more about Nepali culture since he was born here... He's been studying Hindi all of his life - taking every advance course in college he can take. He says that "Hindi is the most complicated language that he has every learnt - and after all these years he still can't figure it out"
Good choice of words to start the class.
well today I surprisingly found out that I know ALOT of Hindi at least over 100 words + ... The problem is that I can't put them into one full complete sentence. It's funny because I have that same problem in English.
oh! It was a rainy day today so after class I sat down with some good italian pasta and just read a book "Touching the Void" it's impossible to put down and it's required reading for any human being...
I simple cried at the end.
Friday, July 20, 2007
The area I am staying is the hippie/backpacker area and I don't like it - it doesn't really represent Kathmandu - so I went for a 2-3hr walk around everything and found this hotel right on the outskirts of the backpacker neighbourhood- so it's nice if I need to check email or get something different to eat. It cost $4 cdn a day + they network with local NGO's + it's a hub for like minded travellers and I have 2 [that's right 2! ] balconies and the list continues... - [more pics later] - it's a great space to think and write...
So I immediately put down money for a week.
After that I decided to buy a sweater so I look good to meet some NGO's - however my luck isn't great and I am not able to connect with any of the 1/2 dozen contacts here... so I decide to sign up for some Hindi classes - they speak alot of Hindi here because of Bollywood and the proximity to India. I am excited to finally learn it properly but the price of $5 cdn a day is way tooo much and I can only afford 6 classes...
I take a walk to Durbar square and have to admit I am impressed... I now know why everyone loves Kathmandu...the people are fantastic and watching the mixture of religion-modernization and devotion in one place blows my mind...
I sit down to soak it up and I take out my journal to write down some thoughts and I can't find a pen... I look to the left of me and see this amazingly beautiful women - her feet are dirty from travelling, she's dressed in traditional Indian clothing and you can tell that she's soaking the moment up...I can tell that she's not Indian.... people make that mistake with me all the time, so in this case it takes one to know one.
All of this from a 4 second glance - that's what travelling does to ya...and I am immediately attracted to her presence which is soo rare for me...
I love it.
I congratulate the man in perfect English and everyone is silent... then the normal questions start to come my way - "Where are you from?" "Why are you here" "Are you married" I realize after 30mins that they thought I was a Hindu/Nepali Brahman caste - it's an upper level caste and priest [which I didn't even know existed in Nepal - I thought this was a Hindu thingy...] so they were initially honoured that I watched/played with them - but later I showed no skill... My friend Dipar and I talk for about an hr about chess, life etc and then the I depart - not before getting exchanging addresses and a cup of tea... a couple days from now we have a rematch and I look forward to it...
So that's a typically day for me...it's fun and I really love being stretched and challenged....
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Robert Falcon Scott
Died South Pole Circle, 1912