Yesterday I sat down to morning meditation. Next to me was a 6 year old with a jack-o-lantern grin and shaggy long hair. He smiled and settled into his meditation posture, where he proceeded to meditate for four minutes alongside the adults and sixth grade students.
I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of someone so young enjoying the moment. And the fact that he sat perfectly silent for 4 minutes was impressive. In school, the Bhutanese believe it is important that children learn to live mindfully, embracing the present.
Avoiding the rat race of going through the motions is readily accessible here because that’s just how it is. On my lunch break I go out to lunch at a place called “FAST FOOD”, choose between 2 menu items, then sip tea and chat for 15-20 minutes while they cook the “fast” food. That being one of the few options leaves me no choice but to sink into a seat next to a space heater and enjoy the company of new friends.
That being said, while the present is all fine and dandy, I am constantly reminded of my friends back at home and frequently chuckle under my breath (trying not to look too crazy), while wishing my friends were here to share the moment.
· When I heard about the tiger they had to capture and put into a garage in Thimpu until it could be relocated, I imagined Lauren whispering in my ear: “WE CAN’T LEAVE THE BABY. THERE’S A F***ING TIGER IN THE BATHROOM”
· While dancing at one of the only nightclubs in Thimpu, (which burnt down last week) I thought of Mere, because not only is she is the best dancer of the Adams, but she would have found the Alvin and the Chipmunk Song hilarious!
· As I heard a little rat gnawing at the ceiling in my classroom, I thought of my neighbor Addie and the “Mouse House” diorama we made together. I think it would have gotten more use here.
· When I see the neighbor boys riding their makeshift skateboard, I think of Addie’s brother Jackson.
· While I was at my friend’s house, I couldn’t help but notice the JLO poster amidst the traditional knick-knacks and religious symbols. I thought of all my friends from the hood.
· Whenever I see someone with a red mouth from the beetle nut, I think of the time we all crammed coca leaves into our mouths upon hopping off the plane in Peru, and Heavy proclaimed, “I think we got some bad shit”
· When I am bouncing around on the winding roads, passing tractors and equipment that look like they haven’t been used since the roads were first built, I picture my dad who claims to be “building America”, and I wonder who builds Bhutan.
· Whenever someone refers to me as a daughter, sister, or cousin, I think of my mom, who is empty nested, but always has kids running in and out of the house.
· As I ran by the closest thing to a lab puppy, I could hear Mo sighing at how cute the Little Lewis was.
· Mr. Ramirez would have loved the Thai massages.
· When my legs and armpits get a little too hairy for comfort because showering is chilly, I think of Michele and remind myself, it doesn’t even compare to our 3-week backpacking trips.
· When I am at the shop where you can buy designer wallets and Machetes, I think of the Korrisons and all the times we joked about getting Machetes
· As I was giving a presentation on Positive Behavior Support I thought of all my ESC buddies and how horrified they would be to know Bhutanese schools are just banning corporal punishment!!
· When I see teen angst teenagers in skinny jeans and slicked back hair, I think of my friends who teach Jr. High/High School, and who, like myself, have an amazing appreciation for all things awkward.
· My co-worker wears a jean jacket with fur lining, and I constantly ponder what I can barter for it in one year, so I can bring it back to Waffle.
· My students love the mix on my ipod, which includes Dynamite, courtesy of Rachel, who lives for trashy mixes.
· As I sipped the Bhutanese wine, I felt no older than my underage neighbor (anonymous) who I bought a jug of Carlo Rossi for a few months back
· As I sip whisky apple juice at a bar, with an out of place Christmas tree next to the dartboard, I salute the Leucadian.
· Until Karaoke comes on, playing O Bla Di, O Bla Da, in which case I travel back in time to Saigon Slursdays
· Last but not least, when the King (K5) drove by my house last night, I thought of all those who not so secretly want me to come back royalty, or at least with a royal bun in the oven. You creeps know who you are.
I can’t help but want everyone I know to come visit me. Even those of you who aren’t too keen on roughing it or peeing in a hole (Aunt Patrice).
Much Love from Bhutan