Postcard from Burma

Postcard from Burma
Electricity Update. Now that the Rainy Season is over we seem to have
electricity only about half of the time. It has generally been out in
the early morning, most of the afternoon, and on and off, but mostly
on during the evening. With a good battery in my computer, a
rechargible flashlight and candles I am not particularly
inconvenienced. There is no longer a need for the A/C. Often the
electricity goes out during my 4:00 English class. That's OK, except I
generally show a documentary DVD in English (they have a few here) one
day a week. Sometimes it gets postponed or we watch it a bit at a
time. I like to make tea with my little water heater; sometimes I have
to wait, or start it only to have the electricity go out.

Weather Update. It has been quite chilly in the morning. We are now
one month into the Cold Season, in which the prevailing winds come
down from Tibet. During the night temperatures plunge to below 60. All
the monks, including me, wear shawls to breakfast, wrapped around both
shoulders, and sometimes over the head as well. I like it, but many of
the monks seem to think it is a hardship, they look like they are
trudging in a blizzard through the snow. A different idea of what cold
is. It warms up during the day to a nice temperature. Since there is
no such thing as hot running water in Burma, except in international
hotels, I now take my shower in the afternoon.

Dog Update. Wigglet never became pregnant. Recall that she had been in
heat a couple of months ago. Wigglet's mom has become a regular
visitor to my apartment. She is very friendly, but very greedy (she is
the chubbiest dog anywhere around) and stubborn. One morning as I was
leaving to breakfast, it was still fairly dark out and the electricity
had gone out, she slipped unbeknownst into my apartment and I was
surprised to find her in an obscure corner when I returned maybe half
and hour later. She decided thereafter that she was my roommate, and
would practically force her way in every time I opened the door. I
would have to forcibly drag her out but then she would whine at the
door. One day in her distress she decided to chew my sandals, which
until that time I would leave outside the door. She has relaxed a bit
now but I still keep my sandals inside the door just in case. There
are three new puppies living with their mom around the side at the far
end of the Guest House. One of them has a lame leg and is scrawnier
than the others, so I've been giving it some pieces of meat after
lunch.

Cintita Update. I will be moving down the the Sitagu Center in Yangon
at the end of December and remain there for my final two months in
Myanmar. Sitagu Sayadaw had asked me to stay until March so that he
could continue to teach the Mahasatipattanasutta. But he has been so
busy, he has not been in Sagaing very often. In December he will
travel to India, then to Hawaii, then to Minnesota and Austin. His
last excursion took him to Israel for an Interfaith conference, among
other places. So he has made arrangements for me to study with another
monk in Yangon. Maybe I can find someone in Yangon to make a trip to
India with during those two months; it will be easier to get there
from Yangon. I will pop back up to Sagaing for Sayadaw's birthday,
February 27. Moving to Yangon means I will have to halt my English
class earlier than anticipated

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