Friday, September 30, 2011

Porn is Illegal in Bhutan


This weekend we had Blessed Rainy Day, which is a day when you bathe in the rain to cleanse yourself of sins.  It was a day of baths, prayers, picnics, and hilarity.  My friends and I went for a hike to a monastery in the rain.

I think since getting here my taste has changed in several ways.  As much as it is great to be independent, blah di blah… it’s not awful to have a guy who can help you do handy stuff around the house.  Bhutanese men take this to a whole new level.

As my friends and I stepped into a clearing during our hike, we could smell freshly cut wood.  We approached a handsome, smiling, young man carving a large piece of wood with a machete.  We asked him for directions and then as we were leaving, threw in, “and by the way, what are you making?”

“My family forgot to bring a ladle for our rice, so I am making one.”

I guess what I am trying to say is, if this small family-oriented society in the mountains had a Brawny commercial, there would be no sexy blonde man wiping down your countertop with a paper towel, then picking up a small puppy.  Paper towels are hard to come by and rabid puppies, not so cute.

However, there would be a smiling man in the middle of the forest carving a four-foot wooden ladle to feed his entire extended family a gigantic pot of rice.

Believe it or not...


I lie.

So, I have been trying to instill honesty into my students.  In fact, there is a giant sign in my class, which reads, “Honesty is the best policy”.  The first story I told them was the story of me lying to my mother as a child about stealing money from her purse to play store, and how I was rewarded for telling the truth with fake money to play with.

But this week I came to the conclusion that … sometimes I lie for the right reasons.  As I reexamine my childhood embedded with lessons of honesty, a few moments stand out that have really defined who I am as a person.  Both of these times, a person I trusted lied for the right reasons.

1)   My grandmother once threw a Baby Ruth into the pool and convinced us someone left a giant turd behind.  Nobody likes being submerged in any body of water near a soft nosed brown trout.  We were horrified.  One point Grandma.
2)    On the first day of 5th grade, my childhood dog was very ill.  After breakfast my mother told my sisters and I to go and say goodbye to Chelsea because she was going to take her to the vet that day to be put to sleep.  Ten years later, I found out Chelsea died as I was munching my Cheerios and the loving Kathy Adams took us out to pet a dead Golden Retriever so that we wouldn’t miss our first day of school.  Kath even pet the pooch herself so she could move it back and forth to simulate breathing.  Off to school we went.  Moms know best.

I now find myself in similar situations.

1)   I found a new hobby for my free time… phantom texting.  I enjoy sending texts from my unknown number and signing them with different names… beware.  You may have 37 people show up at your house in clown costumes because “you” invited them.
2)   School is no better.  The children go through fads of bringing toys that are not allowed to school.  Every now and then, due to school policy I confiscate toys.  Finally after one student asked if I give the toys to my children, I tried to convince the class I actually throw theme parties with the toys on Saturdays.  So far I have had a slingshot party, a balloon party and soon I’ll have a Pok√©mon party.
3)   When the statement “that is dangerous”, may not motivate an impulsive child to stop doing something, I sometimes find myself starting a sentence with, “I knew a guy who…”  Sometimes the guy I knew fell through a roof or got an eye poked out.  One common denominator is that there is usually blood and guts involved.

If there is anything I learned from mom and grandma, it’s that lying can make your life more hilarious and simpler.

Monday, September 26, 2011

California Dreamin’… PG-13


Let me give a disclaimer for this post.  I know that the thing to do when you are living in a secluded mountain area is to blog about your “vivid dreams” and relate them to the person you are becoming though your experiences.  That being said...  yah.

Last week I had a “vivid dream”.  An old male friend and I were running down the streets of Encinitas to a bar… the bar, is still unclear to me.  I say that the dream was “vivid” because we were clearly intoxicated in the dream and as we sobered up, the dream became more clear… so “realistic” is more like it.  The bar we went to was darker than The Cliffy, was in near proximity to The Leucadian, was cozy like The Office, and I am sure had a name shadier than The Back Door.  We guzzled DRAFT BEER with friends until we were buzzy and…

At this point I would like to hit the pause button so that baby kittens won’t die.

Later in the week I went to a meditation class in which the lama spoke of allowing thoughts and feelings to arise then fade away.  He spoke of coming back to the feelings later and instead of asking why they were happening, noticing what they felt like.

I have been pushing the dream out of my thoughts now for a week, and I think it is time to revisit it.  Tonight, instead of blaming my dream on the fact that I am craving a Draft Beer (among other things), I am going to meditate on the feeling of intoxication and wonder if I can stumble across any hints as to where the hell I was.

You know you are in Bhutan when… (5th & 6th Grade Teacher Edition)


You stop class to mediate a disagreement that occurred while your 6th grade students were playing “fight club” in the boys’ bathroom.

In the staff room, a teacher approaches you and explains that two of your students wrapped bird shit in a candy wrapper and convinced a third student it was chocolate.  You laugh a little.

You see one of your sixth graders drinking from the outside tap, despite the fact that students have been told a million times to drink the filtered water 20 paces away.  Instead of scolding him, you say:
“Well, looks like you’re gonna get worms.”
“Yes Mam.”

You walk to the back of the class to find one kid laughing as his neighbor rocks out with his **** out.  You decide that the humiliation of his sixth grade teacher seeing him masturbate is punishment in itself.

You have a group of students illustrate the adjectives “filling”, “more filling”, “most filling”, and the students draw 3 different sized glasses of beer.  You refrain from saying, “That’s why I drink whiskey.”

A student writes a “Rape Song” instead of “Rap Song” and later titles a story “Magical Hores” instead of “Magical Horses”.