Renewing my Lhakar Pledge

Last year, Students for a Free Tibet came out with a new campaign called the Lhakar Pledge where they asked people to make a pledge to do something for Tibet every Wednesday (how perfect does Lhakar Diaries fit into this?!). When this campaign came out, I remember pledging to practice my Tibetan every Wednesday.

Having moved to Canada from India when I was six months old with my parents, and living in a small town in Ontario, away from a large Tibetan community, it was difficult to hold on to my language. Going into kindergarden, I didn’t know any English, and had to stick with my two cousins Wangdu and Jigme who were in my class since we all only spoke Tibetan. Years later, the story is flipped and I find myself sticking with people who speak English since my Tibetan skills have deteriorated since my sandbox days.

I won’t go into my whole life story, since I’m sure many who grew up in the west have a similar story (maybe in a future Lhakar Diaries post!), but I will renew my Lhakar Pledge I made last year about practicing Tibetan every Wednesday, which I didn’t do such a great job keeping with work and school, and a sprinkle of laziness.

Being at Kalachakra the last two weeks in DC, and speaking to so many Tibetans from around the world (and non-Tibetans who spoke Tibetan!) including people from Tibet – I saw how important it was to be able to communicate in Tibetan, especially when you’re trying to explain why they should be signing a particular petition or what type of work SFT is doing, and also discovered that I was actually able to hold somewhat of a conversation in Tibetan (all those years of shapales from my parents while they forced me to learn my ka, kha, gha, nga’s actually worked!) which was really encouraging and helped me to remember my Lhakar Pledge.

Can I just throw out there that for me, when people lecture me that I should learn or speak in Tibetan (which I get at least a few times a week), it doesn’t work. As bad as it sounds, it makes me want to rebel and NOT want to learn Tibetan.  Does that happen to anyone else? Or does being told you should speak in Tibetan actually work for people???

Anyway, before I go into a rant, here’s my renewed pledge: I will practice Tibetan for at least one hour every Wednesday above the Tibetan lessons I am already taking to make that extra effort… for Tibet… for me.

Here are just a few of the many books I've accumulated over the last few years while promising to myself that I'd learn Tibetan. Not a good sign that most of them still look brand new.

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