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Oh la vache!

This French expression means 'oh my gosh!' but literally means 'oh the cow!'. As I was sitting here in a cyber cafe in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, a group of 3 cows casually strolled down the street, basking in the sun as cars and pedestrians cautiously moved out of their way.

I have a couple errands to run in Leh after our visit to Leh palace this afternoon (toilet paper, an apricot lassi (yum!), a local gift for my home stay family). The thought that tomorrow we will be in Domkhar staying with families and integrating into the local community by helping with the buckwheat harvest, teaching and any other helpful tasks that we could do, is both daunting and exhilarating. These thoughts rush simultaneously through me head: how will we communicate given my extremely limited, okay, practically non-existent knowledge of Ladakhi? What if they take an immediate, arbitrary but firm disliking to me? But also: I cannot wait to meet these people and both experience their way of life (squat toilets and all!) And share my experiences with them. I assume these internal conversation in my mind are very normal and probably as a result of the high altitude :-)

Ju-leh! (Multi-purpose Ladakhi word meaning everything from hello and good bye to please and thank you - a linguistically-challenged person's best friend.)