I reached down to the wobbling brown-and-black puppy, his squeaks making it impossible not to smile. He bounced around me, seemingly unable to stay upright unless he was moving.
I lost my balance when a huge chestnut dog butted me, demanding attention. I dropped my backpack and lost myself in a puddle of dogs. Before long, a goat I’d seen earlier chewing the side-view mirror of a stopped taxi nudged her way into the hubbub, and I gave her a scratch, too.
An older Tibetan nun walked up, face masked against the dusty air, and she stopped right in front of me. I could see deeply carved smile lines on the edges of her eyes ~ she was laughing. “Tashi delek,” I said, and she pointed at the puppy. “Chung chung,” I noted, which means “small” (one of the few Tibetan words I know) and she laughed. “Kherang kusung depo yin pe?” I asked, meaning “How are you?” Her eyes demonstrated her grin as she replied in quick Tibetan ~ I could just make out that she said she was well. She seemed to also ask me how I am, so I replied, “Nga depo de kyan yin,” and she grabbed my hand, shaking it and nodding her head. She said more in Tibetan which was lost on me, so I motioned with my hand that I know just a little Tibetan. “Kora?” She asked me, and I nodded. She shook my hand again, waved, and walked away.
Circumstances are different, here. The context of meeting people is important, and this context has given me strength and peace. Here, it is easy to share moments with someone I can barely speak with, someone whose world is vastly different than mine yet in that small period of time, the same.