Friday, June 11, 2010

AAhhhhh the smell of fresh air!

It feels absolutely great to be back in the states. The very little things that I took for granted while being here before going to India I hold them with such a great magnitude of importance, like a shower! Water has never felt so good on my body and I can take a bath and actually feel clean! I can say that since I've been back in America I've taken on a different lifestyle. I miss a lot of things about India and I wanted to grasp that experience and make it part of who I am. So now yoga is a part of my everyday life. I took a lot of other valuable lessons from the trip that I won't speak on but change was acquired and for those that went, if your life wasn't modified in some way than you probably didn't fully seize the every moments of being in a different country and experiencing the culture and people. Last but not least I took away a love for 13 people that I had CLEARLY never met in my life and now seem closer than almost a sibling in the short but long time span we've spent together. I love you guys!!!! and I Love MY INDIA!! : )


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hello everyone,
The trip is over and I'm pretty sad. Getting back to the US was exciting and much needed but its defiantly different. I miss India!!! I miss the cows, and the kids, and the surprise taste in all the food, and the good friends I made there. I'm pretty sure India has changed me. I feel like a new person, or like I want to help and make a difference in the world. None of my family or friends really understand why I feel different. I guess its part of the coming home culture shock. I really enjoyed India though. And I've been asked many many times if I would do it again and the answer is and always be, In a heartbeat.

With love,
Raven Butler

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm cutting and pasting some e-mails that I sent to my parents while I was in India.

While we were in New Delhi, we woke up to Muslim hymns everyday. When we walked outside, there were cows everywhere, shops, dust, smoke, food cooking, people everywhere, rickshaws, cars, bikes, and food stands. In New Delhi, we saw some of India's government buildings and we walked around in an underground shopping bizarre. The bizarre was very crowded with about a million people trying to sell us scarves, watches, clothes, statues, and fill in the blank. We went to Humani's tomb and some other Mughal sites. Muslim Mughal architecture is indescribably amazing. We also went to a Bollywood movie in New Delhi.

In Varanasi, we went to famous temples and religious sites. We also witnessed a cremation ceremony on the River Ganges, and took a morning boat ride on the river. We went to a traditional Indian concert, which had a sitar player, a flute player, a tabla, a violin, and a belly dancer. I also got music lessons from the Sitar player(which is kind of like a guitar) and the drum player. We did alot of walking around the city and shopping. I bought little Emmy a traditional Indian dress and Grandma a silk scarf. In Sarnat, we went to a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site...A stupa that Buddha came to after his enlightenment, a Buddhist Museum, and a Tibetan Monastery.

In Alahabad, we went to a restaurant called Friends Forever which had a giant Friends poster outside(the t.v. show). Then we went to a famous river, a museum, and a Catholic cathedral.

In Agra, we went to Akkabar's fort and we went to a mini Taj Mahal. On the next day we went to the Taj Mahal and Akbar's palace--so awesome. In Rishikesh, we went white water rafting through the Himalayas and we went to the Beatle's Ashram. Afterwards, we went to Dharmsala which is also located in the Himalayas. The Himalayas are BEAUTIFUL. In Dharmsala, we heard lectures from Tibetan Lamas and the Dali Lama, and we met the Karmappa. On the last day in Dharmsala, we visited with little children in the slums.

---Kristin Bachman

Thursday, June 3, 2010


This my first blog ever so please don't be too critical :-). Its really hard to believe that this trip is almost over! It feels like this trip has gone by sooooo fast, but then again it feels like I've been in India for months. India is nothing like I could have ever imagined, it has has definitely changed my life.
It is really hard to know where to start in describing my experiences here. Some of the highlights for me on this trip so far have been the Taj Mahal, rafting on the Ganges, yoga, and coming to the Himalayas. The Taj Mahal was overwhelming! You could really tell how much the emperor Shah Jahan loved his wife. :-) The symmetry was amazing, even occurring in flower murals around the bottom. We went rafting while in Rishikesh which was ALOT of fun! At one point along the trip the guide from the other raft pulled Katie in with her bum knee, our boat then plotted revenge to take him down and get him in the water. Well, I decided to try and jump from our raft to theirs and drag him into the water. My plan failed the just threw me over the other side of the raft. Soon after Dr. Maher followed my lead was successful!
We did yoga every morning while we were in Rishikesh which was really nice. Most mornings I just wanted to sleep in but felt a million times better afterwards. The Yogi kept picking on me though, I think because I had done yoga and the like many times before. He kept putting me in positions and pushing me in ways that my body did not want to go. Then proceeded to tell me to relax, when I was in obvious pain. Even though he pushed me I would like to continue with Yoga, its very rejuvenating.
We are currently in the Himalayas in Dharmasala and the views are breath taking. It is the first place that we can actually get a good view of the night sky too. I love the atmosphere here, there aren't tons of touts trying to get you to come to your shop and the people are more laid back. Though I wish the horns would stop :-(. It has been loud everywhere in India even here in the mountains. I haven't really been able to enjoy Dharmsala and Mcleod Ganj as I would like because of getting sick. Hopefully it will pass soon so that I can enjoy time with the kids of Tung Len tomorrow.
I miss everyone from home and I send you my love!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A visit to the Karmapa

For the second year, participants in ECU's study abroad program were able to meet with the Karmapa, a young incarnate lama from Tibet. Esteemed in his religious lineage much as the Dalai Lama is in his lineage, the 25-year old Karmapa is quite accessible to young people. He has an iPod on which he listens to hip hop, and he enjoyed seeing the film Avatar recently. At the same time, he is an earnest environmentalist, artist, spiritual practitioner, and a leader to many Tibetans and others. He told us about his youth, his escape from Tibet, and his life in exile, and he patiently answered our questions for more than half an hour, before taking this photo with us.
Greetings from McLeod Ganj

We are in the Himalayas still, enjoying the cool air and lovely people.

I love it here and definitely want to come back.

Today we hiked up to 7500 ft to hear the Dalai Lama lecture. It was incredible. I got to see him and he said Hi to me. Not quite as cool as the conversation he had with Nick.

We are all still a little starstruck by this.

Burns, Kristin and a few more of us are hiking back up to see him again in the morning.

I will blog again about that in more detail!


Monday, May 31, 2010

Toshi Dele (probably spelled wrong)

Hello from Dharmsala,
Despite all of the fun and exciting things we've done on our adventures in India, today was one of the more powerful experiences for me. Today we met the Karmapa Lama who, for those who don't know, is the leader of one of the four Buddhist schools. He is very good friends with the Dali Lama. But the part that I didn't know that was most interesting to me was that the Karmapa and the Dali Lama are both people who have been reincarnated since the 12th century!!! They find them at a young age by a series of tests and strange happenings. For example, at the age of two and a half the current Dali Lama was found because he knew detailed names of people he had never met before but people that the last Dali Lama had knew explicitly. Exciting right?!?!? Anyway, we got to sit down and just ask the Karmapa any questions that came to mind. He was really cool. He was young so he wasn't as advanced in some of his answers like his goals or past lives but he gave the best advice just for everyday life. It was really quite moving to be that close to such an important and holy figure. Breathtaking lol. Anyway, until next time.

with love,