Arriving at the Nunnery!
God, we are happy to arrive at Gebchek. We are here – finally. The nun that Tashi first speaks with beckons a second nun by the name of Mingur. She seems to fly down the stairs, grabbing my hands in hers with such a force and welcoming that it seems we are long lost sisters. Her smile is radiant as she leads the five of us into the room that is usually reserved for visiting Rinpoches. There are five daybeds here just waiting for the five of us. More and more nuns come in, bringing us Tibetan tea, dried yak meat, candies and the ubiquitous bread that looks like funnel cake. They all stand around and watch us eat, or try to eat. Every time we take a sip of tea, they fill our cups. More and more food comes. They are joyful and seem happy that we are here. Tashi suggests that I take out my computer and show them our pictures with Tashi Rinpoche. There must be twenty nuns around me. They want to see more and more. I show them my grandchildren and my children, pictures of thankas and statues. They are delighted! As soon as the camera comes, many of them back away shyly.
The five of us are served tsampa, yogurt, yak meat and noodles. Jeffrey can’t eat again and, as hard as I try, it is impossible to eat much of this food, but I pick away. Now there is an entire line of men, dressed in their lovely jackets, and nuns, just watching us eat. I knit – this at least looks somewhat familiar to them as Tibetan women seem to be knitting at every corner, not that they are out on many corners, but it feels nice to sit here by the warm stove with all of these kind people making my friend Michael’s scarf.
It is raining outside as we each take our long walk to the outhouse. A nun follows me outside with a kettle of water to wash off my toothbrush. At every turn, they are waiting to do something for us. We go to sleep, the five of us together in our warm room and I am again grateful for my cozy down pillow that I brought with me from home. The option is the usual – a large plastic bag filled with some kind of husks. We listen to the rain and pray that the clouds empty themselves tonight. We are wrapped in the blessings of so great beings.