Smallest world ever! (and some background info)

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Dec 16, 2006

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Thursday, July 6, 2006

Hey all,
So while I have easy computer access I am keeping up on my blog! Jason and Leigh have high speed internet- so I am chillin on their couch, listening to loud music!!! and feeling cozy---oh yeah, in Tibet!
First off, I got an email from my sister Joan and she said Beattle is doing fine and she is reading my blogs to her- awe da Beattle gurl!!! thanks Joan!
So, ----- this one is good....I am staying at a hotel thats about $12.50 a night for a room with 2 beds but a shared shower/bath- since there's an extra bed I posted a sign on the message board for a solo female travel to share the room. I get a call on Jason's cell and this girl is interested- I ask where are you from...she says SF...coincidence, I think not....she shows up at the room and low and behold we know each other.....BUT we don't just know each other, she's in the Master's program at USF where I just graduated!!! We took a watershed mgmt. class together this past spring! (I know uncle Ralph.... this one even boggled me a bit) So, Sabine is staying with me and she's great.... in fact we plan to meet up again in Thailand!!!
Here's another good one....last night I joined Leigh and Jason to their language exchange group- where we speak English to locals and they tried to teach me Tibetan...what a cool experience! There was a group of monks- from 19-28 years old that I conversed with. We had great conversation- they are very wise- we covered everything from music (they sang hotel Californian to me and some backstreet boys tunes)to traveling, religion (I showed them pictured form Israel), reincarnation and beliefs, the environment and how to protect it, their families, sex and the rise of disease in Tibet....but my main interests were why they decided to become monks- joining a monastery is totally voluntary and they can leave at any time....but it just seems at 14 to wholly commit to something so intense may be a little premature in the cycle of life....but they believe this is their calling for this lifetime. i asked about their past lives and they explained that the older they get the less they can remember from the past- but one guy said he remembers his parents were asking his little brother at 2 years old questions about his great grandfather, whom he had never met- and the boy knew all these answers, like how many siblings his great grandfather had and their names and places he had been- none of the info was ever told to the child- he just knew from being reincarnated. They guys were a little surprised when I said I believe in the science of where we have come from, but I have no idea where we go after being on earth...and I explained it was part of my mission being on this trip, to understand more about all the after life explanations each religion strongly believes.

.............A basic understanding of Buddhism is essential to being in Tibet- its like being at the Vatacian and knowing anything about Catholicism or being at the Wailing Wall and knowing something about Judiasm. Buddhism is based on the insights of the Buddha, born about 400BC and his philosophical truths are based on the cycle of life (rebirth), merit(acts of being compassionate and understanding, offering help to others and giving) and karma (the result have having good or bad merit). It is considered a very tolerant religion involving meditation and yoga. The Dali Lama has been the unifier of the religion since the 13th century but has been exiled from China since the 1950's for his teachings of the Buddhist religion. There are few remains in Tibet as a result as the Chinese Invasion- but the most impressive is the Potala---I will write more about this wonder of Eastern architecture later- it's massive!!!

Yesterday we visited a Buddhist temple, where Jason needed to take more pics. We met with a Lama- a high monk- and he blessed us and our offerings. After we asked to take a picture- everyone there wanted their pic taken with him too- we started a paparazzi photo shoot but I think he was entertained! Leigh explained to him he might be in an American Book and he thought that was cool....

A little background on Jason and Leigh....aka- Sangster....I met Jason at a Phish show (go figure) through the Atlanta crew over 10 years ago..... and its been solid since!! He and I plan to travel to SE Asia together and while he is on a photo assignment I will enjoy having a companion!! Leigh, Jason's wife, speaks Tibetan which is soooooo helpful!!! She is working on her PhD here studying contemporary Tibetan art. She is very involved in the Tibetan community here and in the States- she rocks!!! She has been the best tour guide ever, giving heart felt explanations for everything and telling stories with such compassion! I am so thankful for this experience with them!!

We are headed out for a 5 day excursion to explore areas like the highest lake in the world and the Himalyas.....Mt. Everest is in sight, however it is very expensive to get there and with it being the high season we have opted to explore a different path- I will keep you all posted upon my return!

Finally,I am staying healthy- eating right and drinking lots of water.... ofcourse, you really learn to appreciate the finer things in life when traveling-- like our family business- the world needs more Plumbers like the Warner's!

Love and miss you all- thanks for reading and for all your kind and encouraging responses!

Many blessings,

during our discussion of reincarnation I conclded.......
"You can lose your mind, but you never lose your soul."
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