So clearly at times in the past few weeks I have felt really frustrated. Sometime in the middle of June I actually sat down and tried to figure out what day of the week the 4th of July was because I considered cutting my time in Leh short.
Yet right around the time I found out that I needed to write two 2.5 hour midterms for my students in a matter of days, then learned that school will be ending July 12 for summer break and won’t resume until August, I suddenly realized that I actually really don’t want to leave. I love my yoga classes in the morning. I love going for long walks up Changspa Road, where the town quiets down and there is just the sound of the water rushing through the irrigation channels alongside the roads and through the fields. I loved my trip to Indus Valley, where we hiked to a small village called Temisgam through a dusty canyon and then past lush fields of barley and yellow flowers in an even smaller village, where we asked for directions from a smiling man herding cows up the road with a stick. I love going to Wonderland Cafe, where I often bump into either the Dutch girls I met last week, or someone from my meditation retreat, or my German friend Judith and her Australian/Indian hiking buddy Simon, who always have an adventure or trip to invite me on, or where I can just sit and eat my breakfast and talk to any of the waiters there about the World Cup or teaching or Leh or India. I love the Buddhist gompas and the strings of Tibetan prayer flags, and the smiling weathered leathered faces of the elderly Ladakhis selling peas and cabbage and carrots to locals while swatting away wandering cows and donkeys.
I even came to love–sorry if this is corny–my students. I eventually learned to deal with and not get angry about frustrations like the ones in the last post, realizing that there are just limitations to what I can do here and learning to accept the way things are. This is probably because the worst insult in Ladakh is saying that someone is quick to anger. Last week I got really mad when I thought I was being ripped off in a bakery and I threw the money on the counter and stalked out. I instantly felt dreadful because that kind of behavior really makes even less sense here, where everyone greets each other with smiles and transactions are conducted in calm voices. But in any case, I still felt frustrated when I learned how quickly the end of the semester was coming and how many days my students had off before their test. I had so little time to prepare them and I felt like the unfairness now was affecting them. Suddenly I realized how much more time I wanted to have to teach them, how many lessons I had planned in my head that we would never get to, and I wilted a bit as I wrote my email address on the board on the last day of classes and took out my camera to take a few final pictures.