Thursday, May 16, 2013

Those pesky tornadoes!

So I'm leaving Georgia partly to get away from tornadoes, and then there's big stuff happening overnight to the north of here! Actually, tornado activity around here is one thing I researched long ago.While this is technically at the tail end of the areas generally affected by tornadoes, they don't happen all that often around here. Nothing like at home in Georgia, or further north in Texas. Still, it was quite a shock to read the news this morning and know that all this happened overnight while I slept peacefully.

I'm still pooped, my friends. I don't say that as a complaint -- it's just the reality of what's happening with my body right now and I fully accept it as that -- I am wondering how long it's going to take me to recover from the drive down here. And if I'll be recovered by the time I leave again. Old age sucks, at times like this. Recovery time is so much slower! I think part of the problem is that I'm still waking up on EDT and going to bed on CDT, so I'm losing a good hour of sleep and rest in the process.

However, all that aside, I am so glad to be here! As days go by and I relax more, get more familiar and thereby more comfortable with the surroundings, procedures and people, I find that this definitely will give me the experience I want of immersing myself not only in a monastery, but also within the Burmese culture. Two out of three monks currently in residence are Burmese. All the food is Burmese. Evening chanting is done in Pali, Burmese and English (separately, thank goodness!). Burmese culture reigns and I love it. As I hoped, this will give me the experience of a Burmese monastery, and it's the closest to the real thing I'll probably ever get, since I can't see me traveling to Burma, much as I might like that.

Long-term residency here would not provide such luxurious accommodations, but I haven't yet asked what kind of accommodation I might expect. Kuti's range greatly in size and comfort features! When I was talking to the contractor the other day, he said this is a 'five star monastery', and he's right, but I expect I'd probably be assigned a one- or two-star kuti, probably without private bath. I could live with that. One of the one-star versions is next to the Taj Mahal here, and it is seriously tiny! Nothing in it but a twin bed with bookcase headboard, and little room for much else. But, it has electricity and AC, no doubt heat as well. Some of the kutis at Bhavana are bigger and better appointed, but none has electricity or AC.

They're only months away from completion of the building project that's already take two and a half years. It's interesting to look forward to and beyond that point, see what it will look like visually (right now, much of the ground in the parking/driveway areas is torn up and rough, not to mention the big ditch that extends everywhere). And it's fun to think about the retreats and teachers they might have, the place filled with people and everything functioning as it's been planned for about 20 years now.

I've finished the first editing/proofreading assignment, and am now chilling out and waiting either for reviewing it with the monk, or meditation at 7pm, whichever comes first.

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