I’m a little less than two months out from stepping on a plane to Bangkok. I’ll squeeze my parents tightly, giving them both a final embrace before I wave goodbye for about seven months. I’ll do the same for America as well; I probably won’t hug America (I don’t know how I’d do that), but I’ll say goodbye for sure.
I’m reading what I can about Bhutan. Beyond the Earth and Sky is what the book I’m reading is called. It’s about a teacher, Jamie Zappa, that goes to eastern Bhutan to teach second graders back in 1989.
I wonder what has changed about that place since 1989. Maybe a lot, maybe a little, but I have no clue what to expect. Because I don’t think I’d understand no matter how much I study the place. I can read twenty books and watch hours upon hours of documentaries about the place and I won’t be able to see what is coming. It’s not the place that will surprise and challenge me, but the fact that what I know now is going to likely have a tremendous clash with what I will experience.
It’s not the place that will surprise and challenge me, but the fact that who I am is going to have a tremendous clash with what I will experience. Not good, not bad, but something different.
That’s what I can’t prepare for. I can only look ahead and peer at what it might be.
I don’t want to sound like the six months in Bhutan are going to be some unbelievably heavenly and immense experience, but to some extent, that’s what I feel like it will be. I’ve never been away for that long, and I’ve never been in another culture by myself.
The only phrases I really know in Dzongkha, the language of Bhutan is “Kazoozangpo La” and “Tashidelek!” meaning “Hello” and “Good wishes!”
I’ll learn more. I’ll read more. I’m not trying to study Bhutan so much so that I’m not hit with a surprise, but I want to go in with an arsenal that’ll let me land guns blazing so to speak. I want to be able to have the knowledge to do things out of my comfort zone and see the amazing sights cover Bhutan.
Oh and what an adventure it will be. I’m excited to get some travel in my veins. I want to exercise my learning muscle and experience things I didn’t even know existed. It’s scary to know that the trip will be full of fucking up and tripping over my assumptions. I wonder what emotions will take hold of me throughout the experience.
February 21st I fly to Bangkok. And then a week later to Bhutan. The country in between India and China, that lays across the Himalayas. The Land of the Thunder Dragon. What seems to be almost a Buddhist heart to the world.
Something new. I can only wonder where does this road lead? Or “Lam dig a thay jow mo?”
Tashidelek to anyone reading.