My blog has been fairly neglected of late and not because I haven't found the need to write, but rather because thinking and reflecting has been taking up much of my time. I always try my best to stay away from negativity and I want this blog to embrace the positive aspects of my life here in Bhutan. But I also want you to know the truth. And the truth is, honestly, that it isn't always all rainbows and butterflies. I remember looking at other people's life from the outside and thinking - wow, it must be so amazing living over there experiencing all those different things. And it truly is! But at the same time, when you're in it, it just feels normal. It almost feels as if you were still back home, except that back home has suddenly changed into a different environment with different people. Its like a new kind of reality. I absolutely love living and teaching here but life can easily get you down in these circumstances when you get sick and there are no doctors or when you've literally been eating potatoes for a whole month (no other vegetables).
I truly feel that having these sometimes harsh circumstances has really made me learn so much about myself. I feel that I've always been in touch with myself and I thought I knew myself fairly well, but that was before I came here and experienced all of this. It feels as though I have been stripped down to my true self - and there is just no space for anything else other than what I truly am. I no longer feel the need for wearing make up and my hair dye is growing out. I own a total of maybe 5 dresses which I wear on a rotation basis, the same ones every single week. I don't have a mirror and I only occasionally see myself in the photographs Dylan has taken, but my appearance has little value of late. Clothes are simply for comfort at this stage. When I am around others I don't think about being anything other than myself, I always thought this was true back home but really, I would find myself pretending to be an enthusiastic, energetic person when really I just am quiet and calm. I guess this is pretty easy here because everyone is so accepting and they give you space to just be you without judging - there's no "why are you quiet today, what's wrong?".
This can be quite scary and I've been questioning myself so much wondering if I'm maybe just turning into a crazy hippie. I used to consider myself as the least emotional person you'd ever come across. I would bury my feeling in fear of being weak or not in control. This is not the case at all in Bhutan. I have no where to hide and I cry often. I cry when I'm happy or sad or frustrated or confused. And I cry like a baby! It seems as though the tears are washing away the layers. I am so afraid to return "home". I'm afraid I will break down in a grocery store after seeing all the dog food options when all people have here are rice and potatoes. I know the Bhutanese are happy with this life, but it just feels so wrong how so many people back home do not understand or appreciate what they have. They cannot see their excessive life that is killing our planet and I am terrified I'll go insane upon return.
Let me be clear, this post is not a judgemental one. When I lived in South Africa I mindlessly went about things. I complained that the grocery store had "nothing" when I returned home with bags and bags of produce. I rushed to work every morning and rushed home to do everything before bed, only to wake up the next morning and repeat it. Things are very different now. Its funny that once you see the truth, you cannot unknow it - even if you try so hard. I know my body can survive without meat so why would I let any animal die for my tastebuds pleasure? I know I can live in a place where I can go to sleep at night sure that no one will break in and rape me, so why would I live in South Africa?
My thoughts and feelings are very deep and true at this point, and I cannot escape this truth.