Thursday, October 06, 2005

End of Switzerland, Beginning of New Zealand, and a Change in Plans

Hey All…sorry that I have not written more sooner. I simply just did not have that much to report. In all honesty the rest of my time in Switzerland was not as productive as I initially hoped. I think because I was unable to find a host family, it was difficult to have a great amount of contact with Tibetans in Switzerland. However, I was able to learn some about the community and hopefully I got a few good photos as well. I think what was most interesting, visually, is how style conscious the Tibetans in Switzerland are. I guess this makes sense because most of them have grown up in the country; but seeing Tibetan men and women in tight Italian style clothing with super fancy sunglasses was quite the sight for me. I find it so interesting to see how Tibetans dress in the various contexts in which they live; I guess the way we dress is certainly one of the chief ways we find to adapt more easily to our surroundings.
The end of Switzerland was also a bit difficult because I spent most days on my own with little to do, because there is only so much sightseeing one can do in one of the most expensive cities in Europe, especially when on a tight budget. So I was often lonely and at times somewhat bored; I think traveling can often be wonderful, but it can also sometimes be difficult to do so on your own.
So needless to say I am happy to have now arrived in New Zealand. I got here earlier this week and am currently staying with a family which has provided a new experience. The wife is Tibetan, yet she speaks Nepali, Hindi, and English; her husband is from England; and their daughters were born in Nepal but raised in the Philippines, Egypt, England, and New Zealand, yet they have Kiwi accents. I don’t think that I will be living with them for a long time because soon I am going to meet one of the head Tibetans that runs an association here, who should be able to steer me around the country for my project. There are only about 50 Tibetans in the New Zealand, so I am not sure exactly were I will be going or how much time I will spend with the community.
I have also decided that I am no longer going to travel to Japan. Despite sending out numerous emails I have yet to find any contacts there. And, as it is the most expensive city in the world, I don’t just want to bum around for a month on a tight budget and have a repeat Switzerland experience. So instead, I will be here in New Zealand for two months. This should allow me to pursue my project and also see a bit of the country, which from what I can tell thus far, has an amazing variety of natural landscapes and a interesting blend of European and indigenous Moari culture. I also have to report that I got rid of my laptop because it weighed too much, I didn’t use it enough, and I didn’t want to take the risk of it getting lost, broken, or stolen down the line, especially in India. So I sent it to some friends in London who will take it back to the states for me. Sadly this means that I will no longer be posting photos on my blog. I hope that won’t bum anyone out too much, I didn’t think the ones I put up were all that great anyhow cause the camera took pictures that were of such poor quality. So from here on out, I hope the text will suffice. I will post some more in a few weeks once more has transpired. Hope all of you are well.