Australia is calling. Yep, I am returning home in
six days. While there are things I will miss about India I am looking forward to getting home. After all there is no place like it. It has been a wonderful five months though, I must say. As profound as the last, and life changing too, however, this trip has been a lot more enjoyable. And more importantly the past five months have afforded me some distance from my normal surroundings and thus the opportunity to reflect on the past few years without distraction. This, of course, is reflected in the new website design and the inclusion of filmmaking as a method to communicate.
Moreover, there is something about traveling to a place you have been before that makes it all that better. Perhaps this is something particular to me but I often find I enjoy a location better the second time round. Is it just me? For instance, one of the things I have loved about living here in Dharamsala is the chance to breathe the culture. Breathe, as in letting the Tibetan culture become more than a sensory experience–let it fill my lungs so to speak. Even after so many years living with Geshe Loden something I was unaware of about Tibetan culture is the reluctance of ordinary Tibetans to be photographed. Of course, being a polite(-ish) culture they will not always tell you so but, if you are intune enough you can “feel” have uncomfortable they are when a camera is pointed in their direction. I am not about to make people feel uncomfortable just to get some footage. And perhaps being a monk it is doubly difficult for me. Therefore, ironically, I am less likely to get film of Tibetans doing ordinary stuff than a newcomer who these people do not know.
So I have virtually no footage of ordinary Tibetans in the streets doing their thing. Yes, I am a little disappointed as I would have loved to have shot a short film about the lives of ordinary Tibetans—shooting some of the elderly locals with their deep leathery skin would have been awesome.
But I am homeward bound. I leave Dharamsala on the 18th and arrive in Melbourne on the 21st. I will then stay with my family for a few days before heading off to Tasmania to check in with the university staff. I wonder if anyone will have noticed that I was gone for so long?
I will really miss my nightly walks (chum-chum in Tibetan) with Geshe Yonten who has become like an older brother to me, and just being another monk amongst many!
Oh, and if you have not noticed already I have updated the website with a new design. It might take a little getting used to.