guess who’s back. DANI’S BACK.

WHOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Exactly a week ago, my plane touched down in Los Angeles after a two month trip to India.

Landing at LAX at sunset

Landing at LAX at sunset

It’s been a whirlwind week back in the United States, and I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time poring over Britt‘s posts from this summer, getting misty-eyed about how amazing and inspiring my best friend is, and pondering what I could possibly say at this time to sum up the last two months of my life AND riff off all the inspiring things Britt had to say in my absence.  It’s nuts to me how much my girl has been through in the last few months: shooting a million projects, juggling a million jobs, being in a million plays, taking care of her health, enduring major life upsets, leaving her day job, closing down a theater, and just continuing to be hilarious and charming every step of the way.  I don’t know about you guys, but it makes me dizzy just thinking about it!

And that is saying something, because India can be pretty dizzying at times.  Honestly though, the reason it has taken me a week to write a freakin’ post is that being back in America has been more overwhelming to me than touching down in India.  Look you guys, they even have a bunch of charts on google to demonstrate reverse-culture-shock:

Graphs mean SCIENCE

Aight, so a lot of that is hooey…  Or at least I can say that a lot of that wasn’t the case for me personally, but still THERE ARE CHARTS PEOPLE.  And I was only gone for two months!  That’s nothing!

But now….

And I’m slowly readjusting to bleach blonde hair and fake tits.  YAY LOS ANGELES!!  Britt, there are so many fake bitches down here! (No offense to all the fake bitches.  I am sure you are all wonderful beautiful people at your core.)

In all seriousness, folks, this city is waiting to embrace Britt Harris and lift her up to the heights of glory, because Los Angeles has never SEEN such an original, authentic, intelligent, beautiful, insightful, creative, REAL woman in all of its days.  I can now safely say that I’ve been all over the world and never met someone with such unbridled passion, creativity, and drive, and it is really, really special.  I’m jealous that you all have had internet for two months and have been able to keep up with all of her exploits.

Meanwhile, I keep going back and forth between this…

and this…

For the past week I’ve been alternating between sleeping/taking care of my self and partying-like-it’s-1999.  My body can’t decide if it wants to sleep for 10 years or take Los Angeles by the horns and ride it like a drunk middle-aged lady on a mechanical bull at a square-dancing bar trying to forget her past.

I don’t know y’all.

The second month of my trip was spent in Stok village, which is near Leh, Ladakh, in Northern India. What????

ladakh map

Ohhhh! Thank you, cartoon-y map!  That’s where it is!  As you can see, Ladakh is actually part of the political province of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which is part of India.  J&K is frequently subject to political violence and activism, since there have been border disputes between India and Pakistan for years and years and years–pretty much since India became a country when the British left. Ladakh is the part of Northern India that is largely isolated, both culturally and practically, from that political unrest, and is home to about 200,000 Ladakhi people who are mostly Buddhist and much more similar to Tibetans in language, religion, and culture.  Ladakh is often called “Little Tibet,” but in my opinion that’s kind of like calling Canada “Little United States”… a somewhat true/offensive generalization. 

Anyway!  Where was I going with this?  Are you all bored with my pseudo history lesson yet?

Oh yeah! So Ladakh is this stunningly beautiful and sublimely peaceful little slice of heaven nestled in the Himalayas between two incredibly contentious political regions:  China-occupied Tibet and the Pakistan/India territory fight in Jammu and Kashmir.  I lived there for a month with this guy:

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Khen Rinpoche Geshe Kachen Lobzang Tsetan with me and Tarah, my friend from the USA

Khen Rinpoche is an incredible human being, and meeting him was a karmic and life-changing stroke of luck.  I am sure I will talk more about this later, but he taught me about Buddhism (and life) and taught by example how to live with deep compassion for all sentient beings, and use the life you were given to bring compassion and love to the planet.  I’m weeping now just thinking about it.  

So try to imagine with me, for a moment, going from life in a peaceful and remote village with a bunch of Buddhists where this is what you see every day, 

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To LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.  LA is essentially the breeding ground of America’s largest export:  AMERICAN CULTURE (which could not be any different from Ladakhi culture if it tried).

Thank you, Ke$ha, for personifying everything that I am trying to say. 

So yes.  Dear, sweet, beautiful blog readers.  For the next few weeks before I start the second year of my MFA in Acting at USC, I will be presenting you with a series of blogs which will attempt to share with you some of my experiences from my summer in India, to make up for the fact that I did practically NO blogging while I was gone.  I have nothing but love and appreciation in my heart for anyone who is willing to plunge down this rabbit hole with me and help me to digest these experiences and apply them to my life as an actor in the city of angels.

PEACE OUT!!

dani

dani goes to india

In two days I’m getting on a plane and leaving for India for 2 months.  

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Wheee!!!

 As Britt and I have mentioned about 10,000 times, and as is currently evident by the fact that Britt is living on an air mattress on our friend’s floor after losing her house, we are gypsies at heart.  Because that is the case, when I chose to go to grad school until 2015, I made a deal with myself.  I could only go to grad school if I used the two honest-to-God summers that grad school includes to travel.  I had to find ways to go places in this big crazy world before life sets in and bitches start coming after me for student loan payments.  

To be honest though, India wasn’t really on my radar.  Despite things like this…

And this…

Taj Mahal, India…

And this…

…It had just never crossed my mind to go there.  

But then, back in January, I got to talking to Tarah.  

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This is Tarah. (And Britt and Sedale and Amaka)

Tarah has just finished year 2 of her MFA in Acting at USC.  Put another way, she’s a year ahead of me in the program.  Here’s a picture of Tarah without sunglasses on, lookin’ all serious n’ actor-like n’ whatnot.  

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she’s amazing. just try to deny it. impossible.

Tarah was telling me about how for years now, her good friend Khen Rinpoche has been trying to get her to come up to Ladakh in Northern India and see the school that he runs there–The Siddhartha School.  She decided she was finally going to go this summer so she could attend the school’s anniversary celebration, but she was nervous about traveling abroad for the first time alone.  We talked for a long time that night, and somehow, in her infinite generosity and love and wisdom and amazingness, she invited me to go with her.  

OmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigod. Seriously?  What?  I said to her what I usually say when people say things like, “We should get lunch sometime” or “We should be friends” or “You should come with me to this cool place” which is

“Be careful about inviting me.  Because I’ll go.”

5 months later, we’ve done all the preparation we can muster and now we are itching to get on the plane and just go.  

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Okay well we’re not actually going to paaaarty.  As they say.  We’re actually going to do some of this:

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yoga!!

As Tarah and I planned our trip, we realized it’s not actually cost-effective to go to India for a short amount of time, because the flight over there is expensive, but it’s super super super cheap once you’re there.  So the longer we stay, the further my tiny summer budget will stretch.  Cause let’s be real, I’m living off my leftover student loan money, y’alllllll.  Anyway, we both had an interest in studying yoga, and Rishikesh, India is not far South of Ladakh, and it’s the yoga capital of the world.

So.  We fly into Delhi on Sunday night, and after a brief visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, we’ll journey North to spend a month studying yoga in Rishikesh and a month visiting Ladakh.  We’re hoping that by the time we fly home, we’ve figured out how to levitate so we don’t have to take a plane.  

Flying - GIF

In all seriousness, though, I could not be more grateful and excited and humbled to be making this journey.  We’re as well-prepared as you can possibly be, and I feel so blessed to be Tarah’s companion on this trip.  I’m ready to go to India with a savvy mind, a free spirit, and an open heart.  Let’s doooo it. 

I will post as much as I can to TwoEvilActors while I’m gone, but I’m sure Britt will have plenty to tell you about until I come back, and once I am back in the U.S. it won’t be long until the Two Evil Actors are reunited in sunny Los Angeles.  Until then, namaste…

xoxo

Dani