Dancing with the ladies of the house, the sound of rain and laughter mixing together, I felt a sense of joy and belonging that I hadn’t felt anywhere else. I wasn’t feeling great during our day in the monkey temple and going around the city, but my spirits and health really lifted during dinner, at a classmate’s house. We were welcomed by Dolma, our wonderful host for the night, her children, cousins, sisters, and even her mother. At first it was a little overwhelming being in the presence of so many people, and I was nervous to make a good impression and was scared of what they would think of me. However, I soon realized that they didn’t care and were just happy to have us In their home.
Tenzing, our classmate from Vail, informed us during tea time that the whole family lives together under one roof, cousins, sisters, brothers, uncles, grandmas, etc…. It was amazing! He said he enjoyed seeing his family and learning how to drive from his uncle. For me I found that extremely interesting: first because when I was younger I would spend a lot of time with my grandmother and wanted to live with her, and second, being able to be so close with your family and learn all the wisdom the elders in your family have would be amazing.
My favorite part of the night was the dancing. We all sat around in a semi circle and watched the older ladies of the house do a beautiful traditional Tibetan dance; the way their feet moved, doing a certain pattern and going faster as the song went on was stunning. The way the women and men sang was almost like a siren song, luring in people to watch and adore their beauty. They were all in sync and knew all the moves; however, when I tried, let’s just say it didn’t go very well.😬
After the traditional dance we moved on to a more western Tibetan dance that the younger generation did. They moved like water, flowing with the music and pulling us in like the tide. It was absolutely beautiful — I haven’t stopped thinking of it since I saw it! Soon they asked us to join in the water dance, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I stood next to a beautiful girl whose name was Pema who showed me the steps and cheered me on, saying things like: “You are doing so good” and “You are a natural!”
When we left, we thanked Tenzing for inviting us and then they gifted us rugs, thanking us for coming and eating with them. They really showed me a different way of life, living under the same roof with your own family and having dances that everyone knows. The happiness melting out of that house was infectious, and I’m glad I got to experience it. It was truly an amazing experience, and I want to go again to dance, eat, and celebrate with the family.