May 16, 2009

5/17/09 Between between

Well, I have a few days between semesters to tell you about some things, some weeks old, but I'm sure you don't mind. I'd better do it now because next week is registration again for our 'summer intensive' course, four weeks of classes with the same students every day.

A while back I got a chance to go to a showing of the art of Purevbat, the one artist who has almost single-handed brought back traditional Mongolian Buddhist art to Mongolia. He started the Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art to help revive the arts after almost 70 years of communist repression. He was received the Prince Claus Award for his work. His wife asked me to help in editing the invitation letter that went to diplomatic dignitaries for a special showing of Purevbat's artwork which is amazing.

Purevbat in front of one of his artworks

Daria, one of our translators, had me over for lunch one day at her new 'apartment'. For her, it was the first place all to her own. It was only 8'x10' but had a wonderful view from her huge window. She had a couch that doubled as a bed, a kitchen table for her hotplate and a TV. What more does a girl need really. Her rented room is part of an apartment shared by two other families. We had a nice lunch and spent the afternoon watching a movie while snow flurries came down outside her 8th floor window.

Back when I started this personal website, I was very much interested in the sites traffic statistics, like how many visited and from where. But at times I put too much importance on the numbers or lack there of, so eventually I decided I just didn't want to know. But with me working on my other websites where statistics do matter, I decided to check and see how '' was doing. I was shocked and amazed. In the last five weeks I've had over 1800 visitors from 80 countries. Wow. I can't believe it. I'm not sure why all the interest but thank you, thank you very much.

The red clusters represent visitors

Gyatso thinks I work to hard and I never get a chance to go out, so he took me for a drive into the countryside this week. Unfortunately for us, a cold front had moved in and our 70 degree weather was replaced with snow-flurries. But we went anyway. Gyatso drove out towards the airport then took a turn into the mountains. When the road stopped, we got out, locked up the car and continued up into the hills. I could just imagine what it would look like when the ground would be covered with wild flowers. As it was, we followed a stream that still had thick ice covering it. It was nice to get out, even if it was a bit cold.

The ice is about eight inches thick

Gyatso wraps up tight in his monk's robes

A few hardy spring flowers

I hope I'm not forgetting anything but here's the last bit of new news. Some of you might remember the center had a resident cat named Bodhichitta who went out one day back in early winter and never returned. We've all missed her, so Glenda's been asking around in case there was another who needed a home. So, as of last week, we have a new resident cat. Gyatso has refused to name it, hoping, I think, that Glenda will when she gets back from retreat, but the staff have been calling her 'Mora' which is a variation of 'cat' in Mongolian. I kind of like it. She's pretty tiny for a one-year old but has already had her first litter (but she's fixed now). Mora was kind of freaked out the first few days here but now is all but shy. So, I guess I should add cat treats to my wish list again.