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Lhasa: Yesterday and Today

by anonymous

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One of the benefits of having a friend is that he will retain some memories of you, even after you have long forgotten them, and remind you of a particular moment at the right time.

"Isn't that you who have long yearned for such a life?"

I was chatting with one of my best friends through MSN.

"To live half a year's life in one of your beloved places - half working, and half traveling."

I was utterly shocked. I never remembered when and where I once had such great aspirations. But through the hint of this brother of mine, yesterday came alive once more.

A view of the Sera Monastery, one of the 'great three' Gelukpa university monasteries included in the list of China travel plan.

Such a great ambition was the main content of one lengthy speech of mine, addressing important life issues, of dreams and of the future, some ten years ago in a small, shabby restaurant in downtown Beijing. Other than the three best friends from my younger days, who were apparently startled at the ingenuity of my plan, there was a plate of dumplings and several empty bottles of beer that could testify as eye witnesses as well.

So life goes on, ten years have passed. Here I am, stationed in Lhasa (an optional tourist destination for China vacation deals), the holy city, to work for six months at the local radio station.

"I must thank you, brother, you know, I almost forgot that I once had such an adorable dream…if it wasn't for you." I typed back, feeling a little emotional.

"There are places in the world where we all dream of living, at least for a period of time. Tibet is such a place. And you are the envy of us to be the first in the brotherhood to tour the holy land," he continued.

"Indeed," as I typed, I took a long look at the Potala Palace just outside my window, "especially after realizing that I have realized one of my dreams, even after I had forgotten it."

"You should remember, dude," my brother continued, "in that plan of yours, you will only be sustaining your life on the holy plateau by working part-time, but now you have a decent full-time job, in this way, your life is actually going better than you planned. I am happy about that."

Caught off guard by this remark, I turned my head towards the window, focused my line of sight upon Potala Palace (always included in packages of top 10 China tours) glowing under the sunlight and silhouetted against the azure skyline, I took a deep breath, contemplated, and smiled.

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