Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thinking ahead about the festival

It has been a while since I last uploaded a post. I am currently in Thimphu, Bhutan. Tomorrow is the big Asia Pacific Forestry Commission conference that Bhutan is hosting, and at the helm of the organizers is Kinley Tshering, a UM alumni.  Just yesterday Tempa and I saw off our advisor and friend Dr. Scott Mills (from UM WBIO) at the Paro airport.  He is following his wife Lisa and kids Nick and Linnea who have all been here for about 5 months or so, enjoying every minute of their stay here (their words).

Well, we have been busy for a while - an international conference and workshop on wildlife monitoring techniques at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) that brought a lot of folks from UM here; then a quick sojourn into the mountains with Scott to look for snow leopard scat; launching Bhutan's first Ecological Society - well, that's quite a few.

I have been thinking about the Chilies and Happiness festival this year. We would like to continue the tradition but this year Passang and I will be the only Bhutanese (the real ones - I know there are many of you who are almost Bhutanese) around. I think it might make sense to hold the event in September - many people feel October gets a bit chilly (cold chilly, not ema chilly).

I am sure all of you who are in Missoula are enjoying the great Missoula Summer. I will try to upload a post once in a while.

Till then.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mission Mountains

I thought this blog would probably stay dormant until close to the time of the next Chilies and Happiness festival in 2010. Then again, I thought why not put up occasional updates and thoughts in case anybody is reading it.

Yesterday, I took Passang (Journalism MA student from Bhutan) to Flathead lake before highway I-93 gets all snowed in and not so pleasant to drive on. When my family was here we used to drive up several times, to visit Flathead lake and Polson, Glacier National Park, and for skiing in Big Mountains in Whitefish - and to visit friends who live around there. The Buddhist center in Arlee (EWAM) is a nice stop on the way. My wife and I love the drive past Arlee, especially by St. Ignatius, where you can get a beautiful view of the Mission Mountains.

We had lunch at EWAM and then proceeded to Polson, where we visited with an old friend and had some chai. Passang and I went by the lake and met with a group of very enthusiastic elderly folks fishing. They were very eager to show us their bounty of lake trout. It was fun chatting with them, and talking about Bhutan, and listening to their fishing stories - everybody has one, right?  On the way back, this is what we saw (picture above) - the reason why this is indeed one of my favorite drives! It reminds me of the drive in Tibet, right after you cross the Everest region, and on the way towards Nepal. That is another scenic drive my wife and I were on a few years back.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Festival Video

Here's the video on YouTube that gives you a glimpse of the festival.

Chilies and Happiness: Year 3


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Success! Thank You All

Way to go everyone! Thanks for all the help and teamwork. While it was a bit windy (and therefore no bonfire), the event was a total success! We had a very good turnout, and everyone was very happy, thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere, music, food and games. I am glad we had enough food for everyone. And the hot chai was perfect for the cold afternoon. There are so many people to thank, that I will not list the names here, but we do thank you all. I will figure out a way to share the pictures and finally put up a vlog on YouTube very soon. Keep an eye out for that. Thanks everyone for a great day!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back in Missoula Again - Ready to Go!

Yes, I am finally back in Missoula. Great to see that Mary Nellis from FSSS has all the food organization under control. Everybody else has also pitched in to get things going. Passang and Neil, with Robyl, has the arch underway (I just saw it today at the farm); Ari and everyone else have been busy with the flyers and handbills - and we are already getting a lot of questions about the venue, time etc. (they should really read the flyers and handbills! - but we are happy to oblige of course). Ellen's ready with the Costco card to get purchases done Friday with help from Jeanne, Mary and many helpers. And the Bhutanese are all set to put on a good show on Saturday. Josh (PEAS Director) also put in a phone call for some archery equipment - looks like its all coming together. Oh, we also got an offer of venison contribution (true Montana meat) from a well wisher. There's a lot of updating to do, I know. And I have been lost in my travels and work. But I WILL definitely put up more pictures of the days to come, and finally will put up a vlog of the event!

We had an update meeting today at 5:00. Thanks for coming - we took stock of what we have so far, and what else needed to be done. Best of all - no stress. We want this to be an enjoyable process. Its all about fun after all.

Keep up the good work. 2 more days ONLY till the big day!

(Random picture: Tshojong Dzong, Lunana)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Falling behind

Sorry about the delay in posting the last couple of days. I was traveling, and now I am in New York for a series of meetings and such things. Mary Nellis had already checked out kitchen space etc. and Ugen and Neil were asking around for information on the arch. That's all good. We need to get moving. I have responded to Mary by email on the kitchen. Regarding the arch, you all should get in touch with Robl and I will send you his phone number and have him give you a call as well. More to come soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What lies ahead

Props to all who could make it to the Oval yesterday, and to those who were there in spirit. Apart from the two girls and a guy 'funny dancing' near the grizzly, the background music was alright. But, we did manage to get the following sorted out, in terms of dividing responsibility:
1. Food - Sangay Wangchuk and Mary Nellis
2. Welcome arch - Ugyen Namgyel and Niel Larubbio (plus Rob Lindig)
3. Sports - Passang Norbu and Wangchuk Dorji (plus Robl and Ari?)
4. Transport and Mobility - Ellen Cheng/Robl
5. Music and Sound - Tshering and James Randall?
6. Publicity - Ari LeVaux and Tshewang Wangchuk
7. Prayer flag printing - the Bhutanese ladies
8. Bon fire - TBA
9. Overall coordination - Ari, Tshewang

Hope this covers most of what needs to be done. Dr. Sarah Halverson suggested we subdivide the Food group into 'Harvesters' and 'Preparators.' I think that is a good idea as we will have to coordinate with Josh about the harvests. But we leave it up to the Food group. Thanks Sarah for announcing the event in your class.

If there is anything, please leave comments below.

PS: blog post courtesy of free wi-fi at MSO airport. 

Random picture - (Yak caravan leaving Tshochen, Snowman Trek)