L to R: Bree, Danny, Kelsang, Karma, Gurkyap in Boudha.
"I was very sad when I got the news of Kelsang's death, and have been sitting with the news and thinking about him all day. He was truly a genuinely sweet person, and always put others before himself. My first trip to Nepal I was taking Thangka painting lessons with Karma, and Kelsang and another Japanese artist were the main painters that I would spend my days with. It was a lot of quiet time but we got to know each other pretty well through that experience. He did the finishing touches on my painting, which they insisted that an experienced artist do, mainly he handled the final touches on the face of the Chenrezig I was painting. I am honored to have that memory and piece of art from him. The next year I came back and he became a much bigger role in my time in Nepal. He became our liaison for every daily item we would do. At that point I was pretty versed in getting around Kathmandu and felt resistant at first to having someone help me with it. But his ability to get fair prices and take me further into the local style and culture of living in Nepal became quickly invaluable, and it just became the norm to always have him nearby whenever we'd do anything. Even if we felt we didn't need him for an outing and wanted to give him a break, he would insist to come along and help with the basics. We became really good at spending time with each other, got to know how to handle long stretches of down time and silence, as well as fun lively trips around the city, long conversations, and lots of card games. There is a wonderful feeling when you get to a point with someone who you don't share the same language with but can share a clear line of humor with, and he and I got to that point where we could give each other a look or a sound or simple comment in reference to something and just start cracking up. We shared a lot of laughs together. I will miss him deeply and really hope to meet his wife and grandson someday, and introduce them to my family too. I hope to go back to Nepal and see people whenever a good opportunity comes up, and when Kora is a bit older, but I can't help but think how hard it will be to land at the airport and not see Kelsang there, and not start the trip with his help getting a taxi out of the airport.
Kelsang, Cho Cho, you are very loved and I wish you the best in whatever path is next for you, many tashi deleks for your journey, your memory will live on in everyone who you met and shared your love, generosity and kindness with. "