A lot of the time, Yeshi isn’t really here. He spends much of his downtime on his phone, looking at photos and videos from home. Friends and relatives send pictures and films of the people and places he once knew. Best of all he likes to watch the yaks out on the high pastures – the tinkle of the bells around their necks evokes long days out in the wilds, made infinitely better by big momo parties like this one, which features at least one brother and plenty of old village mates.
Yesterday, to get him off his phone, I took him to the Thames Lido. Tibetan people love water but they don’t really swim. This is unsurprising, when you understand that Tibet is a landlocked country with an average altitude of 4,500m. Rivers are plentiful, but definitely not for swimming, so the opportunities to learn are few and far between.
But the jacuzzi is a familiar place. Yeshi’s father’s hometown has natural hot springs, and when he was little Yeshi and his family would sometimes decamp there. Historically, Tibetan people have enjoyed hot springs for their medicinal and therapeutic qualities. Some also serve as religious ritual sites.
When it comes to self-care, however, Tibetans rarely think in terms of time out of their normal routine. Contrary to popular perceptions, most people do not spend their spare moments in solitary meditation or extreme yoga poses.
For Tibetans, self-care is usually an outward-looking action. It’s about showing compassion and kindness towards others, a practice that ultimately serves our own sense of well-being as well.
And food plays a major part. When he’s not absorbed in the latest video from home, Yeshi spends most of his days off planning the next meal. He always says that taking the time to cook and eat well, preferably with all members of the family around him, is the ultimate in self-care, a bankable source of happiness, and that the more instrumental you can be in that process – the more that you yourself can contribute – the more rewarding the experience as a whole.
For Yeshi, days off merge into days on. He’s looking after you all the usual hours this week, as follows:
Wednesday – Friday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Saturday: 12-3 (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Looking forward to seeing you soon,
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Weds – Fri: 5-9.30pm
Sat: 12-3pm 🥢 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318
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