It seems I’ve got a routine going.
It’s a mix of drinking milk tea, sitting in class and taking the 3:30 bus down to town. Depending on the day, I’ll wake up for Dzongkha class at 7:30 or a little earlier to go into town for my internship.
Sometimes I’ll don my gho, black socks, and my dress shoes to feel more Bhutanese than I already appear. This way, I can walk the streets of Thimphu and neither the dogs nor the locals will know I’m from across the world. I’m steadily working on my Dzongkha repertoire so I can not only walk the walk but talk the talk.
On the weekends, I might go for a hike to a nearby monastery, or hop in a car and drive to a neighboring dzongkhag. In a week I’ll head to Bumthang, a dzongkhag in the north of Bhutan. Every Bhutanese I ask says it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Each day is decorated with a flow of colorful conversations. Like the cacophony of prayer flags that adorn the path up to Taktsang or Tango monastery, some of the conversations are vibrantly new and others are white after years of being eroded by the wind.
But whether all the conversations add much or not, the people are wonderful. Each one, Bhutanese or international, provides a distinct perspective. While our opinions on the world are often similar, all of the friends I’ve made here are on vastly different trajectories. And I can tell they are thinking, which I like. While one may be attempting to go on tour with his rock band another is hoping to start a sustainability project in Switzerland. Another may be looking to teach primary schooling while someone else is aiming for a government job in Bhutan after they graduate.
It’s appealing to me, being around a variety of people. I feel the cracks in my mind filling, slowly developing into a more holistic landscape.
I do wonder about the people I love back home. What are they doing? How are they faring? Every so often my friends will jump across the world and into my brain turning me nostalgic. But it seems easier to dismiss homesickness than I expected. I haven’t yet felt the urge to cry for a plane home.
Maybe that means I like it here.
I’ve been trying to figure out some avenue to prolong my stay in Bhutan. I’ve yet to discuss with anyone back home, but I’ve been workshopping the idea with my roommate and some international friends. Before I landed in Bhutan the idea of travel was such a domineering escapade but now that I’m here traveling looks only like a place to stay and a plane ticket. Like my last post expressed, it all seems much more possible these days.
These kinds of thoughts lead me to ponder what I’ll do after I graduate. The options seem, not endless, but more varied than before. I considered the only route for my employment to be working at some sort of publication when in reality the whole world is offering jobs. Things such as Workaway or teaching English abroad are at every westerner’s fingertips.
I’m thinking… trying to come to some conclusion as to what I should do. Should I stay on the Royal Thimphu College campus, overlooking the valley of Bhutan’s capital with Bhutanese peers by my side? Or go home to see things in a new perspective?
Maybe I should hike up to Takshang again, past the mules and their shit, up to the prayer flag covered bridge. I might get an epiphany on how much Bhutan means to me and how much I want from it.
It might be nice to wake up a couple months from now, put on my gho, and drink some milk tea.