Hello! I'm Renee Garland. I've been traveling to Asia for the last 13 years in order to escape snowy Maine winters, hoping to live sunny adventures. My company began 11 years ago with $250 worth of chopsticks. I started selling them at craft fairs and festivals all over coastal Maine. Unfortunately, many people didn't know much about chopsticks! (or Asia for that matter.) Nonetheless, I trudged through the festival scene for several years expanding my inventory to clothing, accessories, gifts, and art. The mission has always been the same; to work with individuals, women's coops, and small home-based businesses to help support and encourage small enterprises. I opened my first store in Portland, in 2006 called "Waterlily." It's filled with Waterlily brand handmade gifts produced both from my travels abroad, and by local artists. I still go on buying adventures, 'cause that's what it's all about. . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Himalayas /His Holiness-

Up in the Himalayas, McLoeod Ganj, where the Tibetan people have re-established themselves.
It is India, but it feels more Tibetan. We have just spent more than a month in India, and it is so nice to get a break from the chaos, and just dissolve up in the mountains. The energy is so different here, peaceful! I wouldn't imagine it to be India. We are so fortunate to be here at this time!

While Jake and I were in the Thar desert, our camel comrades informed us that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be giving his yearly teachings in the beg. of March. (which was exactly when we were planning to go up to Dharamsala) Wow! Great timing!
-and we would probably meet them (our camel safari friends) up there too. So, this was really exciting, and seemed meant to be.
I finished up with my work of buying for a few weeks in Jodhpur, and Jaipur, and we headed up to Himichal Pradesh. . .
here we are,
His Holiness is here now, and giving his teachings, but we missed the first week, and went yesterday, our first day here. It was incredible to see him in person! I started to cry. . .
we tuned our radio onto the english translation, and sat on a pillow, on the concrete, and listened to every word-

Today was no teaching because it marks the anniversary of the Chinese occupation.
The day that we arrived the weather was fantastic!. Now it is shit! It has been raining all the time, and damp, and freezing, and we didn't bring any clothes to prepare for this. We were just coming from Thailand, and the Thar desert!
So, it's freezing, and we are lucky to have a hotel that supplies a small heater!
Must buy an umbrella.
Anyway, there were many activities planned for today,(a march, music, and so forth,) but because of the rain, we sadly didn't attend.

(It sounds like a cop-out, but understand- when we have only summer clothes, and no rain gear, and it is freezing rain, and the only solace is the tiny heater in your room, you go out to eat for example, and everything gets soaked-we spent hours just drying out and trying to get warm. So the rally, didn't seem feasible)

So instead, we woke late, stayed in bed, and had a lazy freezing cold day. It took all of my energy just to stay warm!We stayed in the hotel most of the day, only leaving for meals, internet, and a walk to the temple, but it was over, sadly, just when we got there.
So, I purchased a pair of longjohns, and wool socks, after all others were soaked!
Even all of the shops to buy an umbrella were closed on this day too!
For dinner, we decided to go to a recommended place- Pema Thang, and as we walked in, I recognized a friend from home! So, we sat with Ben, and his friend, and had a fantastic meal together, and sat astounded by about this place that would bring us all together.
I can't wait for tomorrow, for H.H's teachings, we will surely wake early, and get a seat near him, and out of the rain.
The scenery is so breathtaking here. The mountains are quite misty, but stand tall and offer great beauty from every vantage point.
Prayer flags hang off roof-tops, and between buildings, and trees- so many styles of colorful flags. They contrast the grey peaks above, and the dark green pines.

The air is so fresh, it hardly holds all of the smells of India, that we never get used to. . . far different from the desert where we have just come from.

1 comment:

elliott said...

Hey - that sounds so exciting!! Not the cold and rain part, you can get that back here in Portland. Good to read the further adventures of Waterlily...