Gift giving: don't expect effusive thanks
As I unpacked my suitcase, I pulled out the nice soap and journal I had brought as gifts for my new Tibetan roommate. “Here, I brought you something,” I said. She took the things, looked at them, said, “Oh, thank you,” and set them aside. She never mentioned them again. I was a little disappointed, and I worried that I had gotten off to a bad start. Finally, a German nun who has spent years living with Tibetans told me that Tibetans don’t react effusively to gifts—that would imply attachment and greed, which are contrary to Buddhist ideals. Since then, I have been very glad to know this, as it has saved me from disappointment when I have received similar reactions to my gifts.