It’s been a little while since I typed some thoughts down, almost two months. A lot has happened. I’ve met a new assortment of international students, many of whom I’ve found tremendously fun and interesting. A particular woman from London has captured me and I couldn’t be happier about it.
But trailing positive new experiences are sullen ones. My grandfather, Khoo Kay Chin, 95, passed about two weeks ago. Lucky enough, I’ve barely had to face much familial death so far, this is the closest family member I’ve had pass. And now I can feel the full weight of it.
I’m so glad I got to see the old geezer in July. It was the first time in probably more than a decade, the first time I’ve been an adult and seen him.
Being in Kuala Lumpur with both him and my grandmother, I got to yell some words into a surprisingly lucid, but a little rusty, aged ear. He smiled just as anyone would, laughed like anyone would, he seemed to think like anyone would. And writing this… I think of those moments where he’d be sitting in his black leather chair with a towel on the seat and he’d just stare into space… waiting, so lucid it looked.
Well, wait no longer my friend. But the chair, your wife, your sons and daughter, your grandsons and granddaughter are sure to miss you.
I’m glad I saw him.
Death is a quirky, sad, and sometimes beautiful thing. It’s something we all face, something we adamantly run from, and something that rips emotions out of complacent and caring hearts.
I say beautiful for the ones going “naturally”, the ones that Earth has gently patted on the bum and said “you can go now” to. It is, in my eyes, completely sinister though, the instances where fathers, sisters, mothers, etc. are simply sniped from the midst of an otherwise joyous and smooth existence, torn from the cushion of a soft patch of grass.
Anyway, this continues to be a tune in my head. It makes me think about what all this life stuff means, and how deeply I care for those closest to me.
BUT! This kind of thinking seems to get a little tiring, and reading it may lose its charm after about four paragraphs. Or maybe not, but a deeper foray into death is for another time. It’s not a subject that you should half-ass.
I do miss home these days. Last semester, was different, it was entirely smooth, no turbulence at all. Though I knew I would love seeing my family, I felt completely fine being in Bhutan. But walking up the freshly paved Royal Thimphu College road, these days, I feel a more physical ache to be back in the States. There’s only a little more than two months until this semester ends, two months that will no doubt pass me by in a blur.
And then I’ll have my feet on the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean, or I’ll be sitting above Horsetooth Reservoir, perched and quietly wondering if this were all some soft dream.
I understand that I’ll cry on the plane “home”. I know I’ll be fragile, cracked by the thought of leaving those that I’ve come to love here in Bhutan.
But for now, I’m going to cherish the time I have here, void of any trepidations about when I set off for “home”.
I’m going to continue to use this time to breathe Bhutanese air, walk through clouds, drink milk tea, and speak Dzongkha. It’s a period of time where I can fully indulge in practicing what I want to do… write, draw, read, play music, and the like.
And then, once the clock is up, I’ll wonder what it means for my life back “home”. What’ll this be to me? A beautiful dream, a fragment of my heart, a chapter in a story…
I’m cherishing this experience. Each day when I wake up to see that distant golden Buddha, meditating on the mountainside, I feel lucky beyond the sky and earth.
I am so very thankful. I have such a wonderful opportunity to learn here through culture shocks and unfamiliar situations, through different perspectives and new philosophies. And like Bhutan itself, I get to grow here, ever so slightly into the leader I hope to become.
And in two months… I’ll have to move on, not forgetting what I’ve gained here, but saying goodbye nonetheless.