July 10th-July 16th
My second week in Dharamsala seemed to fly by! Here’s some highlights from the week:
Monday and Tuesday I spent at a local daycare with two of our volunteers, Phi and Elizabeth. As usual, the children stole my heart immediately. The class ranged from 2 to 12, and while it was a bit hectic at times, we successfully came up with activities that they could all participate in. Typically, the daycares don’t have the older kids, but they are out of school and will go to the daycares when they hear there are volunteers. They love interacting with us and getting a chance to learn about new things! We whipped out the bubbles the last 20 minutes of our day as a treat for the kids and they went crazy over them. Seeing the joy in the kids’ faces is always my “life is so good” trigger.
Wednesday I visited Harmony Through Education, a special needs school that Bela helped start. It wasn’t a totally typical day, as the children were preparing for their annual function that they would be having to raise funds for the school. I got a quick tour of the school, and then I joined my two teen volunteers as we watched some of the kids practice their dances for the function. After that was done, we spent the rest of our day wrapping gifts that the kids would get after the function was finished. We wrapped up right as lunch was starting, so I helped feed one of the kids while we were waiting to be picked up.
Wednesday afternoon we visited two different temples: one Sikh and one Hindu. They were great, I really love the temples here. Everyone is always so welcoming and they even invited us to join them for lunch. My favorite was the Hindu temple, Aghanjar Mahadev. It’s nestled in the mountains, right next to quite an impressive raging river (because monsoon season).
Thursday we visited Kangra Fort. Of course, Thursday was the first day that week that it hadn’t rained and it was blazing hot, so climbing the fort was extra fun. In any event, the views at the top made the climb worth it. I love Dharamsala and could spend my whole life here happily, but damn these hills killin’ me.
Friday morning, at exactly 3 AM, I woke up feeling like I was being stabbed in the head. I also felt a little sick, but shrugged it off and eventually fell back asleep. Friday I woke up and couldn’t even stand without feeling nauseous. I spent the next two days in bed recovering from a mystery illness that fell upon our entire house. Yay!
Friday night we had a special guest at the house
Hello there pretty lady
Finally, after two days of laying in bed, living off of toast, I felt semi normal. I ventured out with Phi and Lainey to McLeod Ganj for some shopping. Bonus Jonas: We found an Italian restaurant. India, I’m obsessed with you, but I’ve decided I’m not obsessed with your food. I needed a break and Nick’s Italian Restaurant gave me just that.
On the way home from McLeod, as we were descending the mountain, we saw a woman walking the first pug we had seen in India and we all collectively freaked out. Our taxi driver (my fave taxi driver), Rompi, pulled over. We thought he was just humoring us and letting us stare at the cute little doggo, but suddenly he points to it and says “thats mine.” AHHHHHHH
So, without further ado, Rompi’s happy puggo:
I ran up and immediately started petting it. Phi walked up a moment later and started to reach down to pet it, but then stopped and asked “is it okay? Is it friendly?” and the woman replied “no.” Just as she said it, the pug started barking at Phi. So…1) I have no self control and also should have asked but 2) I’m convinced now I’m a dog whisperer soooooo