I have to say, that although living among Buddhist nuns and following all their rules was slightly stressful, the experiences I had as a volunteer made the discipline worthwhile. During winter break, I was fortunate to be able to spend some time volunteering in the hospital founded by the Buddhist nun.
It’s hard to believe that just a couple of days ago, I was living in a temple with Buddhist nuns. Each morning at precisely 3:50 AM, I would arise at the clapping sound of two wooden sticks. Along with about 40 other young women, I had 10 minutes to prepare for the beginning of a new day (mind you, there were only four toilets and two sinks for the forty of us young women). Now how did I find myself in such a living situation? In retrospect, I think it had to do with a touch of fate and a yearning to return to a place that once provided the tableau for one of the most memorable experiences I ever had.
This year, I celebrated Christmas in a plane—a plane that would take me from my small town in Northern California to the island of Taiwan. The 12 hour journey from the West Coast to Taipei was rather uneventful; I suppose I was expecting the flight attendants to break out into Christmas songs or deliver gifts to all the passengers but none of that happened.