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Saturday, March 31, 2012

First Day Of School In Bhutan

Chumey Middle Secondary School
For what seemed like the longest seven months of my life, I had been anxiously awaiting to experience my first day of school in Bhutan, which was on February 15, 2012.   You probably wouldn’t have known it if you read my other blog entries, but I came to Bhutan to teach my heart out to Bhutanese students of all ages.  The months of anticipation leading to this day felt like the longest roller coaster ride of thrilling emotions.  Therefore, I was beyond ready to discover what exactly I had signed up for or what my life would look like for the next year.  I consciously tried not to do too much research about the schools because I didn’t want to get discouraged by reading others stories about corporal punishment, teaching with bare essentials or experiencing anything that was different from teaching in America.  I wanted to create my own experience and not go into the school with preconceived notions.  However, not thoroughly researching and having a clear idea about what schools were like in Bhutan set me up for a series of surprises. 

The first surprise began when I met my coworkers a few days before school started and I asked them, “What should I expect on the first day of school in Bhutan?”  They all had similar answers, such as the principal will announce it in the morning assembly.  Then I would try again, “What do you suggest I prepare for the first day of school?”  They would smile and say, “You don’t need to prepare a lesson, just prepare what you’re going to wear.”  Although I liked this answer, I felt very perplexed!  However, I was determined to not revert back to my perfecting, worrisome habits.  Instead, I adopted their stress free, go with the flow attitude.  I told myself that it would be a lovely surprise and that I had enough teaching experience to get me through any long day of school.  Of course, I also got a little spiritual and asked for a greater force to help guide me through my day. 

My BEST First Day of School Face with Rosy Pink Lipstick
When I woke up on the first day of school, I felt like it was Christmas morning; I was eager to discover what surprise “presents” awaited me.  I took my coworkers advice and thoughtfully picked out my “first day of school outfit” and I put on my best face with rosy pink lipstick.  Then I happily danced around my bare room, in and out of my 12 inch mirror to a little bit of Lady Antebellum (country music artist).  Once I felt all pretty, I walked to school with a little country in my step.  I would have turned back for some tissues had I known what I was about to experience during the morning assembly.

I walked up to an open courtyard filled with excited children dressed in ghos and kiras.  Like any first day of school in the world, you could feel the excitement and nervousness in the air as the students hugged their friends that they hadn’t seen for awhile.  I felt like I was one of the new kids and I classically searched for my new best friend, Madam Sonam Choden, to stand next to during the assembly.  I was so overjoyed to be there that I had to refrain myself from giving her a big hug.  She ushered me to the front of the courtyard with all the other teachers, looking out on the children (grade k-10).

The teachers face the students
This courtyard of students is unlike anything I have ever witnessed in America.  For instance, in the numerous American schools I’ve experienced, the students sit or stand with their classmates and teachers in no particular order.  On the other hand, in my Bhutan placement, all the teachers stand in a horizontal line facing the students.  The students are in a "u" shape facing their national flag as well as the huge display of their God of Wisdom.  Our Bhutanese students wear school uniforms and every girl’s hair is perfectly pulled back in a ponytail with a red scrunchie.  The students are organized into several alternating clusters of girls and boys.  Each group represents a competing “house” and has a house captain (leader) who proudly stands in front of their group.  Furthermore, each house is composed of a mixture of ages and they stand shortest to tallest in staggering rows of five, so you can see all their cute faces.  I was at awe looking at this neat configuration of students.

As I stood there gaping at these beautiful, round faces, I could feel about a thousand eyeballs staring back at me.  Maybe it was because I was the only one is Western clothes or with rosy pink lipstick that caused me to stick out like a sore thumb.  When the principal introduced me as their American guest teacher, I found myself waving to the students like I was on a pageant float.  I blame it on the rosy pink lipstick.  So silly!
Students Face This Glass Display,  Flag Pole is Behind It. 
Then two older boys with the most serious faces walked in the middle of the courtyard and gazed intensely at the God of Wisdom.  The courtyard fell silent and I was just about to ask Sonam what in the world were they doing when one started to clap a steady flow of beats.  All the students quickly cupped their hands into a prayer position in front of their chest.  Next, the whole school started singing a prayer in unison while the boy continued to clap out the beat, which was one of the most heavenly melodies that I have ever heard.  I wasn’t expecting this and I hurriedly put my hands into a prayer position too, trying to copy them.  After a few minutes, the boy’s claps increased and the singing turned into chanting.  It sounded like an army of monks and it gave me goose bumps of excitement. 

I Face the Backdrop of Green Trees
As fast as the chanting started, it seamlessly transformed back into the beautiful prayer. Finally, just when I thought the whole thing was over, they dropped their praying hands and took on a strong military stance with fisted hands to their sides.  I didn’t know what was going on and once again I mirrored their stance.  Then I was blown away as they began to passionately sing a soft melody straight from their hearts (national anthem).  At that moment, I felt as though someone was opening up the top of my head and pouring bucketfuls of pure gratitude into my body.  It was electrifying!   

Although I didn’t understand the words because it was in Dzongkha, it was angelic music to my ears.  I felt so grateful to be having this experience that I repeatedly whispered thank you over and over again, hoping to be heard by whatever force got me here.  The students beautiful voices with the backdrop of green trees covering gigantic mountains nearly brought me to tears.  I was soaking it all in and I thought, who hired me? How did I get here?  Is this real?  It felt so magical like I was dreaming or falling madly in love; the kind that last forever.  After they finished singing, I turned to Sonam and asked her, “Why didn’t you tell me that I was going to experience the most beautiful thing ever?  Does the school do this every morning?”  She nodded yes and beamed at my marveling expression and watery eyes. 

After the assembly, Sonam escorted me to meet my fifth graders.  I wondered how good their English was, what exactly would I do with them since I had no school supplies and what did my classroom look like.  This was the second part of my surprise that would make some folks pass out… To be continued in the next blog entry.

Students in their uniforms.  Hands in prayer position!

Above view of morning ceremony

Morning Assembly

School Captain and Prayer Captain leading the morning prayer


The God of Wisdom
Students face the God of Wisdom

The Clock Tower

Overview of the School

Backdrop of Green Trees

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are You Happy Here?

This picture says happiness:  Little Jimmy, A Pink Bear and Snow Fall
“Are you happy here?”  Is the number one question that I am asked on a daily basis in Bumthang, Bhutan along with “How do you find it here?  Do you like it here?  Are you adjusting here?”  From the store clerk to ALL my students and coworkers, I am not exaggerating when I say that almost every single Bhutanese person I have met has asked me one of these questions.  And if the stray dogs, rats and cows could talk, I would bet a million dollars that they would be asking me, “Are you happy here, moooo.” 

I was feeling extra happy this day!
At first I thought, Thank goodness I am really overjoyed to be here so I wouldn’t have to lie to everyone and pretend to be all jolly.  This is so strange, why does everyone keep asking me this over and over again?  Then I realized that the main reason why Bhutanese people are asking me these questions is because they are extremely thoughtful and concerned for the well fare of others.  It goes hand in hand with their Buddhist nature as well as the country's Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy.  In fact, it’s perfectly normal for the same person to continuously ask me if I am happy here about three times a week just to make sure that nothing has come up and destroyed my bliss.  I have grown to look forward to these daily questions and every time they ask me if I am happy here, my face turns into a chipmunk as an enormous smile inflates my cheeks. 

Coming home
These questions never get old for me because I see it as an opportunity to remind myself over and over again that “Yes, I am very content here!”  I also like when they ask me such questions because sometimes I will share my personal story about how I came to be so cherry in Bhutan.  I tell them about my two wise spiritual teachers in California who taught me about energy medicine, meditation, intuition and a lot about living a fulfilled life.  I share that before I came to Bhutan, I was really nervous and scared to leave the only life I had known.  So I asked my spiritual teachers who could talk to their spirit guides to give me some advice about moving to Bhutan.  They each separately reported to me that I have been in this area of the world before and had passed through it in my past lives (I also had a past life in India).  One of my teachers told me that when I arrived in Bhutan, I would feel like I was coming home and that I would be very joyful.  She also knew that I would feel so safe and that eventually I would look back at my fears about coming and laugh.  Although I have so much respect for her, at that time I was feeling so anxious and I wasn’t too sure about her prediction.  Could I really feel like I was coming home to a country that is so vastly different from the only one I ever knew? 

Peering out the window
On clouds in heaven
Scattered Villages
Now I feel bad for doubting her because her prediction turned out to be incredible.  The moment I peered out of the airplane window looking at these gigantic, snow capped mountains encapsulating tiny villages scattered throughout endless forestry, I knew that everything was going to be ok for me and that she was correct.  Gliding into Bhutan on that plane felt like I was on the clouds of heaven looking down on loved ones, remembering a place I treasured.  It turned out that Bhutan is home for me!

Goosebumps!!!
In Bumthang I’m often in a state of awe at how I feel like I have always lived here.  I also get goosebumps every time I travel along the mountains because I feel like I have done it a million times.  Since I left America, there has been a major change in how I live, and everyone including myself is surprised at how quickly and easily I have adjusted.  I think that I have adjusted so gracefully because everything seems familiar to me including the language, food, festivals, faces, school life, etc.  It seems like ever since my feet touched the ground in Bhutan, my soul has been singing a “welcome home” song.  Therefore, I now believe my spiritual teachers foretelling, which all of them have came true including the one about getting a new family of friends (Madam Sonam, little Jimmy, Dawa, Norbu the monk...).  

I want to be a Bhutanese Monk like my friend Norbu
As a result of being so darn happy in Bhutan, I believe that I have definitely been here before.  I don’t know if this specifically means that I was a Bhutanese in one of my past lives, but I do know for sure that I want to come back as a Bhutanese monk in my next life!  Then as a “real” Bhutanese person, I will get the chance to ask some chilip (means foreigner in Dzongkha), “Are you happy here?”

(If anyone is skeptical about past lives like I once was, I recommend reading, Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss [Oprah dedicated a show about it], which may broaden your perspective on the topic)



These places all seem so familiar to me



Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Peeping Tom


A Peeping Tom! (This isn't Templeton, he's too scary to take a picture of)
Bathroom Sink Pipe
Rats Entryway
My Buddhist efforts to love the rats went out the window when my coworker got bit in the face by a rat while she slept and especially since my rat, Templeton, has been a very, very NAUGHTY rat.  He usually waits until I’m sleeping to slip into my house to find whatever I forget to tuck away, such as my bar of soap that he chewed up.  My neighbor tipped me that he was probably coming in through my bathroom sink pipe like her rats do, so I found some stones to wedge perfectly into the pipe to try to block him from entering my sanctuary (see the picture).  However, I discovered that Templeton is massively buff and can easily push out those stones. 

The Stones To Plug The Rat Hole
Some mornings I find the stones thrown across the bathroom and in a panic, I look around to see if he’s still there, but fortunately he’s not a morning rat.  Even though I know the stones are clearly not stopping him, I re-wedge the stones back into the pipe to give me a peace of mind since the stones signal me if he’s there or not.  Every time I go into the bathroom and find the stones still tucked in the pipe, I feel at ease and I can go the bathroom in peace.  For now these stones are my “rat signal tool” until I can find some duck tape to hold the stones into place.  Then, we will really see how strong he is. 


The Setting!
So one night, as I was bathing in my red tub, I heard one of the stones being thrown from the pipe and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the other stone whist pass my head.  OMG I knew this could only mean one thing:  HERE COMES TEMPLETON AND I'M NAKED!  My head instantly snapped toward the pipe, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach, I clinched onto the edges of my tub and screamed in horror as his fierce triangle nose came sniffing out of the pipe.  My first thoughts were Oh my God I'm in the nude and he wants to dance again…I have no protection broom, I’m trapped, he’s going to do one of his back flips into my tub and bite my bare butt…ahhhhh  

My shrieking, wild scream held him at a standpoint and now all I could see was his long whiskers twitching out of the pipe.  Then he slowly stuck his head out and was literally just staring at me with his black alien eyes.  I was absolutely frozen with fear in my tub waiting to see what his next move would be.  If you remember from my last blog, he’s an Olympic, acrobatic rat.  So to my surprise, he didn’t perform any graceful summer saws out of the pipe; instead he remained still, calmly peering at me from the pipe.  At that moment, I realized that this rat is a freaking pervert!  My intuition about his male energy was right; this was definitely a boy rat.  Now that I think about it, he had to hear me splashing around in my tub and came to check me out.  As Americans would say, “WHAT A PERV!” or better yet, “WHAT A DIRTY RAT!”

Another Angle of the Scene
Now I sat in my tub feeling a little awkward as he was gazing at me.   I thought, I really need a cat, I really need a cat... if I had a cat this would not be happening.  Then a light bulb went off in my head and in a state of desperation and fear (I hate to admit this), I turned into a cat.  I started meowing over and over again as loud as I could at him hoping that he would think either I was a cat or there was a cat in the bathroom that would eat him and he would run away.  As each meow poured out of my mouth, I felt more courageous and my meows became louder and fiercer.  I finally was able to let go of the sides of my tub, stand up and I even started to add loud claps to my meows.  I sounded and looked like I escaped from a mental hospital.  I don’t know if my neighbors herd me or not, but if they did, I can only imagine that they must think that I am one strange foreigner.

Finally, my frantic meows and claps worked.  He took one last look at me, gave me that famous devilish grin and scurried down the pipe.  Errr I can’t believe my acrobatic rat is also a “peeping tom” rat.  What type of rat will he be next? A cross dressing rat?

Meditation Time!

Meditation Time!
I think that it’s healthy to be able to laugh at your insanity, but at the same time have the willingness to change for the better.  Thus, I will be the first to acknowledge that I turn into one crazy gal at the sight of a rat, but I refuse to stay erratic forever.  In fact, this year in Bhutan, I hope to let go of all my unnecessary fears including the ones that haven’t come to the surface yet.  So since I’ve cured my fear of the Bhutanese stray dogs, I’m confident that I can get over my fear of these fat rats with a little help from a divine source.  After I did some serious reflecting on how I came to be all uptight about rats and everything else I’m deathly afraid of (spiders, bears, etc.), I sincerely asked the heavens above to show me a way to let go of all my silly fears as I am ready to end my unpredictable behavior. 


Buddha Meditating
 At Buddha Point

Then a few hours later out of nowhere, I felt like one of my books that I haven’t noticed in months was screaming my name and the urge to pick it up had become overpowering.  I have already come to know this feeling as the “whispering” of some higher force (God, Buddha, guides, intuition, universe…) that speaks to my soul.  It happens to me every time I ask to be shown a higher way and I have countless experiences that would make some peoples' hairs on the back of their neck stand up.  Sometimes the “whispering” directs me to amazingly specific answers to my questions that are contained in books, an email, a conversation or someone will randomly hand me an article and ta-da the answer is right before my eyes.  So when I felt an intense urge to open my book, I was not too shocked that the random page I chose to read was a meditation exercise to release fear and reprogram beliefs.  If anyone is interested in shifting their beliefs, I summarized a short version of Sanaya Roman's meditation exercise that I was "led" to:

(I can just hear my sister saying what a complete waco I am for sharing this meditation, so I hope that it's not too eccentric for you all.  Enjoy!Before you begin, put yourself into a higher state through breathing and clearing your mind.  


Picture yourself growing smaller and smaller while taking your consciousness like a dot of light into the core of your cells.  Now you are the dot of light in the nucleus of your cells.  Ask your DNA to release any programs, decisions, or beliefs that are not serving you and your growth (At this point, I released all my useless fears including the one for poor Templeton).  You do not need to know what these beliefs are; simply ask for them to be released.  Send love through your heart to your DNA and surround it with light.  Mentally tell your DNA that you want to reach your highest potential in this lifetime.  Ask for its assistance to bring in new programs, beliefs, and thoughts that will make it possible to reach your highest potential in this lifetime…when your finished return your awareness to the room...  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

If It Bites You, It's Good Luck

Err all my documents disappeared off my computer while I was trying to upload my videos.  Some of the documents included my blog entries about school in Bhutan.  It's taking time to rewrite my lovely first days of school here, but I'm trying to connect with an IT in the U.S. to help me retrieve them and also to get my videos uploaded.  I learned my lesson: back docs up daily! In the meantime I wrote this for fun.

An Acrobatic RAT!
This isn't the real acrobatic rat, mine is much bigger

Exhaustion had finally creped upon me, urging me to go to sleep early for just one night.  I couldn’t fight it anymore and decided to get ready for bed.  There I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom mirror thinking about how tired I was when I felt something touch my foot.  “Oh great, not another ghost incident,” was my immediate thought.  I looked down expecting to see nothing since ghosts are usually invisiable, but to my surprise I saw a huge, brown, matted ball.  I had to strain my eyes a few seconds before it moved and I realized it was a wild, rabies looking rat.  This rat was so fat it could have been pregnant with octuplets.  However, I feel that it has male energy so maybe it’s just obese.  It had a long nasty tail, a fierce triangle noise, and I discovered it was a special type of rat: an acrobatic rat.

This looks like an acrobatic rat
As soon as I realized that I was face to face with an enormous rat for the first time in my life, I did this weird galloping jump and my toothbrush went flying into the air.  At the same time a huge uncontrollable scream came out of my mouth along with all the toothpaste that I had accumulated while brushing.   I was actually choking at this point, but my gargled screams were still making its way out through my thick mouthful of toothpaste.  This scared the rat and he jumped a few feet high too while doing some olympic summer saws.  He was so springy that he would leap into the air doing these amazing triple backward flips that caused him to fly into my legs, which would make me jump even higher and shreek louder.  It was quite a dance we were doing.  I was scared of him and he was scared of me.  I jumped, he jumped.  I screamed, he squilled.  The funny thing was that we were both too startled to run and we kept jumping around.  After what seemed like an eternity of awkward dancing, he ran into a corner and I ran as fast as I could to the kitchen all while choking on toothpaste.

In the kitchen, I stood there shaking and my heart was pounding.  I was hoping that one of my neighbors would have heard me screaming and would soon come to rescue me.  Unfortunately, no one heard me.  I started to laugh at myself because I thought that if they did come, I would look like a “toothpaste vampire” panting with toothpaste dribbling down my mouth and off my chin. 

Finally, I had calmed down and was thinking, “How in the world was I going to go back in the bathroom with a jumping rat in there?”  Then just when I started to talk myself into believing that it was a cute little mouse that was terribly scared of me, the dang fat rat ran into the kitchen, had one look at me and we started round two dancing.  After a minute of further jumping and screaming, he ran into the corner near the door.  Now I sat perched up on the cement counter pleading with the rat to go away.  I begged, “Please go away, plleeeaaassssee…”

Either he understands English or hates my whining because he started to inch his way out of the kitchen and paused in the hallway looking at which way was his best option.  I yelled, “Nooo, not the living room,” which leads to my bedroom and there was no way I wanted to share my room with the world’s only Olympic rat.  I yelled, “Go right, in the empty spare bedroom, you can have it, I will never go in there again, please take it, just don’t go in my bedroom, oh pretty please with cheese on top.” 

I swear to you, this rat looked back at me with a devilish grin and ran straight into the living room under the door curtain so that I had no idea where he made his way to, such as my bedroom.  I sank with a heavy sigh knowing that he probably ran into my room and that we would be dancing all night.  I went back into the bathroom with a broom just incase he wanted to come back for round three and I could use the broom to shew him off.  I looked at myself in the mirror and sure enough my face was covered in minty toothpaste including strands of my hair that were now glued to my face with toothpaste.  Then I angrily found my toothbrush in the squatter toilet.  I had no energy to hunt down a rat.

All the way to my bedroom, I loudly tapped the broom on the ground in hopes that he would hear me coming and find a place to hide to end the square dancing.  With my protection broom I looked under my bed from across the room, hoping that I could shew him out, shut my door and sleep in peace.  However, he was nowhere in sight.  Of course I wasn’t brave enough to look behind the dresser.  I climbed into bed wondering if he would do his acrobatic jump onto my pillow to kiss me goodnight, I mean nibble my face off.   

Such a long tail & triangle nose
In the middle of the night, I could hear him rumbling behind my dresser several times.  Every little noise caused me to jump, even a moth scared the crap out of me because I thought it was him flying into the room.  After all, he is an acrobatic rat.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep and I am now beyond exhaustion.  Also, getting up in the middle of the night to pee was the worst.  I prayed that he wouldn’t tap my foot again to say hello and jump on my legs for a midnight snack.  I took my broom with me tapping all the way.  I had the same routine in the morning.  The next day after school, I told the other teachers about the gigantic rat being bigger than a kitten and about its record breaking jumping abilities, but no one seemed to believe this and they all laughed.  I asked them to come over to catch it, set it free in the forest, and to plug up its entryway into my house.  This is were the conversation got really interesting and I had to ask them to re-explain it to me several times because it had me in bewilderment. 

Revengeful Bhutanese Rats!

First, they all told me to leave it alone.  It was no big deal!  They explained that if I was mean to the rat, I would make it angry and that’s where my problems would begin.  What problems?  They warned me that rats have feelings just like humans, so if they get mad at you, they might come back with their friends when you’re not home to destroy your possessions.  They will eat your favorite clothes, ruin your electronic cords, put holes in your rugs, poop everywhere, and so on.  Revengeful Bhutanese Rats!  I’ve never heard of rats doing “pay backs” on people.  I started to worry if I pissed off the rat by screaming in its face.  I wondered if the rat was in my house at that very moment tearing up my most prized possession in an attempt to pay back this frighten American who cried, “RAT!”  

My Bhutanese friends gave me a solution.  They suggested that I give it a name and whenever I see it, I should call it by the name, talk nicely to it or just ignore it.  Some of my coworkers leave crackers out for their “house rats” so that the rats leave their vegetables and clothes alone.  One of my friends said that she scattered tons of rice on the floor for them when she went away for several weeks and asked the rats to take care of her place while she was gone.  When she came back, she discovered that they had a huge party by the amount of rat droppings they left, but they didn’t destroy her stuff.  Keeping the rats happy by bribing them is a solution instead of killing them.  Most Bhutanese people practice the Buddhist philosophy of living a compassionate life and not harming living things.  It’s a sin to kill a rat or any living creature.  Therefore, just like with the stray dogs, they live with the mice/rats in peace.  I haven't seen any places that sell rattraps or rat poisons to kill rats like we have in America. 

Rats have a bad Rep in America
It’s not uncommon to be sitting in a home in Bhutan and see a mouse scurry by and no one freaks out.  In America, if a woman see’s a mouse in her home, she might scream like she’s being murdered and head to the nearest store for mouse traps.  I also know some American men that would also scream like a girl if they saw a rat.  In fact, I’ve seen some hysterical videos on “America’s Funniest Videos” of people screaming their heads off seeing a rat in their home.  I don’t know what it is about these little creatures that can scare a person.  Lately, I have been thinking about what caused me to act the way I did in the bathroom with Templeton (my rat’s new name from Charlotte's Web) and why I had been tapping my broom around like a crazy person.  I’ve come to conclude that for the most part American’s view of mice/rats is different from Bhutanese views of rats.  I was taught that a rat is a nuisance, dirty, disease-carrying rodent and should be exterminated if it moves in your home.  This belief is filed somewhere in my brain.  Therefore, when I see a rat, the file magically appears and the chaos begins.  Although this is what I have been brainwashed to believe for three decades, in my heart I don’t want to kill the rat and I think that the Buddhist philosophies are more in line with my values. 

Now at the age of 29, I’m living in Bhutan and I’m trying to reprogram my beliefs about mice/rats to adopt a more Buddhist approach, which I love.  I’m telling myself not to be scared of them, if they come in for a visit just ignore them and don’t scream or run around in fear.  Instead I will say, “Hello pretty Timpleton” (remember I named the dang rat) and I'll remember whatever I do  DON’T PISS OFF THE RATS.  However, I will not feed them because I don’t want them to keep coming back and then get all revengeful on me the day I forget to feed them tea and crackers.  I don’t have a lot of stuff here, so it’s easy to keep my place clutter free and I have no goodies for them to eat (it’s all locked in my fridge including spices and all my clothes are out of reach).  So I’m hoping they won’t have any reason to come other than to say hello.
She dropped them off on the other side of the river...

If It Bites You, Its Good Luck

Later on that day, my friend confessed to me that last year she trapped a bag of rats from her home and dropped them off on my side of the river because they won’t cross the cold water to get back to her house.  She thinks that my fat rat is one of hers and I’m thinking about catching him to give him back to her as an early Christmas gift.  Ha-ha.  I think that she felt guilty or sorry for me because she was the only one who helped me find out how the rat got in.  We checked everywhere, but we couldn’t find any rat holes and my bathroom drain has a tight mesh over it.  Finally, she gave me the worst news about the rat’s entryway, which was through my front door.  The good news was it also left through the front door.  Yes, there is a huge gap under my door for creatures to squeeze through, such as snakes and mice.  It’s like my front door is a 24-7 open invitation for any critter to come in.  I’m not quite sure how I am going to fix it, but it’s on the top of my list.  As I pouted about the front door, my friend tried to make me feel better and told me that if the rat bit me above my waist, it means that I would have good luck.  On the other hand, if it bit me below the waist, then I would have bad luck.  Holy moly, I don’t want it to bite me anywhere, even if it will bring me good luck.  
This could be good luck!
Fortunately, I haven’t seen the rat again and I don’t hear him scurrying around my house at night.  I’m hoping that my “toothpaste vampire look” or the weird dancing scared him off for good and he won’t come back with a gang of friends to “pay me back” in any way.  My new Buddhist attitude is starting to kick in slowly and I no longer peek from room to room with a broom for unnecessary security.  Ok, maybe sometimes I take the broom with me when I take a bath in my red tub, just in case it gets thirsty or frisky.  However, I know that the real test on my new Buddhist ways will come when we meet face to face again.  I will keep everyone posted because I’ve been told that having mice/rats in my home is unenviable.  It’s only a matter of time before I might dance again with Templeton, the acrobatic rat.  Sigh!