Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Top Five :: July 2006 - Oct 2007 :: Tibet, Toronto and Tea

Here is the top that I massed email out to everyone last week - unfortunately I goofed up and didn't BCC the email - opps!
The plan is to post 7- 10 this week. Enjoy.
1. India, Rishikesh ::
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:
Hey Jam!
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:)
Safe travels,

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.

6. Bonus::
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
Mr. Jam



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another long nite... + THANKS!

It's 2.30am right now..
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 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

one nite...

The last 5 days have been one big blur...
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" 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.
"Aristotle Onassis"

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Good luck Chuck.

I sold chuck norris last week friday. I miss him - he was a good bike.
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.


There are pockets in my life that I wish that I was just "normal" - well is "anybody really normal?" - well I wish I had a 9-5 job, monthly bills, friends that don't associate me with winter coats, more than a suitcase of possessions and living in one place for more than 3 months at a time...

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

I heart thanksgiving and my family...

However being around them is more depressing than uplifiting. It's the constant disapproval of my life, the travelling, the "poverty" and ...  and it's getting harder as I get older...

On to other news ::
The best letter arrived from my former participant in Sri Lanka - I love decoding em'!

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

At home sick today...

My head hurts, my throat is so sore and my spirit feels weak... I just walked about 20 steps to the bathroom and couch and I feel exhausted...
It's 1pm and I am going to back to bed...


Monday, October 01, 2007

My weekend in pics...

After a morning peek of LTK's blog, the pic of her new fancy pink bike [which I love] got to my heart. So here is my response - my weekend in pics...

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.