A couple of days ago, I dropped into a local Tibetan shop and started talking with one of the owners. Whenever I get the chance to, I love to ask ethnic shop owners about their background and how they ended up here. This being a Tibetan shop I was curious, of course, about her roots to Tibet and what her journey had been like.
She was 9 years old when she left Tibet, her family fleeing via the Nangpa La Pass. She didn’t go into great detail, but as we can all imagine from stories we’ve already heard, it was not easy. Her family made it safely to Nepal, and from there she was schooled in Nepal as well as in India.
Later on in life she married. It had always been her and her husband’s dream to come to the US. During the early 90’s, when the first Bush was in office, his office had given Nepal the offer to allow 1,000 Tibetans to come to the US. Because of the large Tibetan community within Nepal, the government had a lottery, the woman’s husband was chosen.
It took her another 4 years to make it here to the states, where she is more than happy. She lives now, in a quaint village here on Cape Cod, and they both run a great little Tibetan Gift Shop.
We chatted a bit about His Holiness the Dalai Lama and how important he is to the Tibetan community worldwide. We also talked about China and it’s control over Tibet. She was not as optimistic as I thought she would be, and it was kind of disheartening to hear her say the words she was saying.
She told me, when it comes to the possibility that Tibet may one day be free, “It is too late!”
While I understand her perspective, the Chinese will never give it back, they are to proud for that. At the same time, I felt a bit sad, like she had given up any hope. She did say something else though, it and it put a little bounce in my step, it gave me something to look forward to and aspire to continue doing.
She continued on, although Tibet may never be free, it is up to the one’s who know about Tibet to continue talking about it. Tibet will never disappear from our hearts and minds, so we have to keep talking about, educating people about it, etc.