Year of the Fire Monkey

It seems appropriate that our first post is to wish you an auspicious Losar as Tibetan New Year starts. It would be a gross understatement to say that 2015 was an extremely hard year for Nepal, with a devastating earthquake in the spring, and then a human made political disaster in the fall which completely derailed what little recovery had been made. So we are happy to be moving past this and into the year of the Fire Monkey.

We know a little about monkeys. When we lived near the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, these mischievous creatures were frequent visitors. Every year, they devoured all our peaches and mangos just as they became ripe, leaving nothing but a few green ones with one bite taken out, thrown on the ground. And I’ll never quite forgive them for destroying my beautiful pea plants. A pack of them invaded pre-dawn one morning, ravaged every ripe plant, all while sitting on them to ensure that nothing would grow back. Even our fearless Tibetan mastiff steered clear of the dozens of monkeys that sat hunched over like vultures picking away with grunts and smacks. We taught our children not to antagonize them, and to look away and go in the house when they came into the yard. In fact, when we moved the US, the first thing our then 5 year old daughter said when she got out of the car was “don’t look at them, don’t look at them”. She later learned the difference between monkeys and squirrels.

It’s a year to be careful; both fire and monkeys can be unpredictable, and wreak havoc and destruction to carefully laid plans. But without fire, we would have no warmth. It is intense, and passionate, and brings vision to our canvas. Monkeys are ingenious and playful, adventurous and irrepressible. So let’s be careful, but let’s also rejoice. This is a year when anything can happen.

Happy Losar to all! Live, love, help when you can.