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Happy New Year 2011!

January 9, 2011

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying a great start to the new year.  Among other things, my new year so far has included not one but two armadillo sightings (one at very close range) and the  enjoyment of a sunny and 77 degree New Year’s Day.  Lovely.  Nothing says happy new year like armadillos and sunshine.

I finally I have a moment to send off a quick post to catch you up on what’s been happening.  Well, let’s see.  I arrived at Dhamma Patapa, the Southeast Vipassana Center (www.dhamma.org) in Jesup, Georgia on the 26th of December and have been here ever since.  The course began on the 27th, with 42 students (a full house), 8 servers, 2 assistant teachers, and 2 assistant teachers in training, plus a few misc construction/maintenance fellas.  I was among the 6 who were assigned to the kitchen for the duration of the 10 day course where we cooked from scratch and washed by hand every pot, pan, dish, utensil, and cup three times a day beginning at 5:30 in the morning and ending at about 9:30 each evening.  Fortunately there were 6 of us, so , though we were cooking and cleaning for 60, we were able to take breaks during the day in addition to our 3 hours of meditation.  I don’t know what I thought I had signed up for, but reality sure was a lot more demanding than I had imagined, that’s for sure.  Wow.  I found the work exhausting, but how wonderful it was to serve so that those 42 students could sit their course in peace and harmony.  And having been reminded of how wonderful Vipassana is, I have put my name on the waiting list to sit the upcoming course which begins on the 19th.  Call me crazy.   Part of me knows that although it is a very tough course, it will be very good for me, but the other part of me who also knows it is going to be a very tough 10 days, hopes I don’t get in or can’t find a dog sitter.  We’ll see.  If I were a bettin’ man, I’d bet I’ll find a dog sitter and I’d bet they find a spot for me.  I’ll keep you posted.

Even though the course ended on the 7th, I’ve been hanging around helping clean up after the last course and prepare for the next one.  Just yesterday I was asked to make curtains (drapes and sheers) for the Teachers Cottage.  We chose the fabrics yesterday and I’ve been cutting and sewing ever since.  I have to say I much prefer this to standing over a sink washing dishes for hours on end.

Before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to take a minute to tell you guys about the 5 other kitchen volunteers as it struck me one day as I was washing or drying (by hand) yet another dish how interesting our little slice of humanity was.

First up, but in no particular order:

Shane:  A very soon to be 40 year old (Happy Birthday Shane!), Fulbright Scholar with a wonderful sense of humor.  He does something with the World Wide Web and counts the likes of Intel and Microsoft as his customers.  Most recently he took a bit of a break from his “real” work and has been couch surfing across the country in his Prius interviewing folks about sustainability.  Sustain-i-what?  Sustainability.  You can check out his website at http://www.sustainable1000.com/.  Oh, and he wanted me to tell you all that he has a pet iquana named Steve.

Jay is one of those Doogie Howser types who looks 20, but is actually 35.  He lives in Chapel Hill, NC and is responsible for designing the shows at the Planetarium.  Jay wanted me to include that he is also a skin diver and a stock car racer.

Kayvon recently relocated from New York City to Gainesville, FL.  Among other things he is a cobbler and a fermenter.  He makes yogurt and kim chi and other fermented things.  (I’m not at all sure how to spell kim-chi)

Tamy is the Venezuelan beauty formerly of New York City as well and recently relocated to Miami after her very recent marriage.  She is a management consultant with a focus on International entities like the United Nations.  Her husband was sitting the course.

Uma is a Nepalese elementary school teacher living in the US for first time.  Alabama, of all places.  She was at the Center with her husband who was sitting his 16th course.  She has been happily married for the 6 years since her arranged marriage, which is the custom in Nepal.

With these 5 servers and the two student managers, you couldn’t count the advanced degrees on two hands.  My oh my, I was in some fine company, that’s for sure.

Now lets say hello so some of these fine folk.

From left to right we’ve got Uma, Marie, Christina, Tamy, Kayvon, Shane, and Jay.

Alright, I’ve got to get back to making curtains, so I’ve got to go.  No time to go into the whys and the wherefores and such as to how I arrived at my decision to go to school to become a Massage Therapist, but that’s what I’m going to do.  I start school in Arizona at the end of April and will be a licenced Massage Therapist by the end of October.  This is where I plan to go to school, http://asismassage.com/.  It looks like a beautiful spot outside of Clarkdale in the Verde River Valley.  More on this topic another time.

Hope all is well.

Later gators.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Thomas Noble permalink
    January 10, 2011 5:06 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed New Year’s. You missed a great one here in Alaska. It was +46*F in Wasilla on January 1, 2011, and Anchorage started the month by setting a new record for the number of consecutive DAYS above freezing when it stayed above freezing for 2 nights in a row. You didn’t even need your 40 b elow boots to watch the fire works!

    Tom

  2. Devin permalink
    January 10, 2011 9:48 am

    Well, well….you are just full of surprises, aren’t you? It sure sounds like you were in some great company. You’ve even been domesticated….cooking, cleaning, making curtains. I love it. Keep us posted on your new endeavors.

  3. Suzanne permalink
    January 10, 2011 9:55 am

    So great to see a new post! So, please tell me you all were allowed to talk to each other when you were preparing meals etc. I can’t imagine trying to do that without verbal communication. And, wow! Massage Therapy school! I would not have guessed that but wish you great success in any endeavor you choose!!!!

    • January 11, 2011 11:44 am

      Hey Hoovie! Yes we could talk in the kitchen…thank goodness. I would not have guessed massage therapy school either. It feels right though and I’m really excited about it. Go figure. Hope all is well with you. Thanks for keeping up with my blog and for all your comments.

  4. Marilyn permalink
    January 12, 2011 4:32 pm

    Margie, you do it all!

    ..xo mw..

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