Philosophy, action and reflection
A couple of days before this trip, I remember being so nervous and anxious as to what was to come in these next couple weeks of my life. Not wanting to having any preconceived notions, I had no expectations and was prepared to let the experience unfold organically. For the first leg of our trip, we spent our first few days at CUTS University learning about Tibetan history and taking an in-depth look into Buddhism. Although I could write forever about all the fascinating things I’ve learned about both Tibet and Buddhism, I would like to share how meeting and interacting with the CUTS students has left such a powerful impression on me. In the beginning, naturally the students were a little reserved and slow to warm up to the UW Bothell students. It didn’t take long for us to become close as we started to bond in the moments between traveling and working on activities together. I was so impressed by the way the the students jumped into every assignment with such courage and enthusiasm despite language barriers. They welcomed us into their world by sharing their stories, showing us their culture and most of all inviting us to play!
One of my favorite memories on this trip so far is the going away party on our last night at CUTS. We all gathered together in the lecture hall to say one final farewell and joined each other in song and dance. I was blown away by the amount of talent each and every one of the students had. They graced us with their gifts and I left the evening with my heart full of gratitude. Through this experience, I’ve come to realize the power of human connection and how it penetrates through boarders and beliefs. Even though we’ve only spent less then a week with these students, I’ve connected to them on a much deeper level than the humans I see on a daily basis back home. One thing the CUTS students and this experience has taught me is the necessity of curiosity and vulnerability in building connections with others. It was interesting how the feeling of bonding felt exhilarating but yet almost foreign to me. The experience leaves me with a lot of questions as to why it’s so easy to bond with people on the other side of the world and so difficult to bond with the people down the street from my house. Do I just take my relationships back home for granted? Is it a cultural thing? Are there just lacking opportunities for bonding? Is it technology? I wish to be able to recreate this feeling when I return home to those in my own community.
Photo Credit: Tam Hoang