Before arriving in Bhutan I had the purest intentions of blogging about my experience religiously. This is my eighth day in this Himalayan Kingdom and I can honestly say that I haven’t felt the slightest desire to confront the feelings I am experiencing at present. I am not an emotional person by nature and although I consider myself a deep thinker I have noticed myself avoiding the thoughts I tend to be having about being here. Not because they are negative in any way, but rather because of the intensity of them.
I was very nervous about the flight here as many people had described the turbulence and close mountain encounters as terrifying. I spotted the snow capped Himalayan mountains from the aeroplane window for the first time when we were descending for landing. There were tiny isolated houses so high up on the mountains it seemed odd that we would be flying beside them rather than above. The vast valleys and fields below us seemed to be rushing by all too close in a wondrous, magical way. It is safe to say that our landing was anything but what I had expected and for that I will be forever grateful.
I first noticed the elevated altitude upon arriving at our hotel in Paro for the first two days we were to spend in Bhutan. The hotel was previously a palace (yes really!) and it overlooked the breathtaking Paro Valley. Walking up the few stairs to our room instantly left me short of breath and I often found myself panting for air when simply walking up a small incline (this hasn't really improved yet). The inside of the hotel room was beautifully decorated in a traditional Bhutanese style and I fell in love almost instantly. The next two days were spent waiting for the other teachers to arrive, exploring the town on foot and eating eating eating! There is never a shortage of food here and miraculously I always seem to be hungry.
We made our way to the capital city of Thimphu with all our belongings somehow tied to the top of a bus and I suddenly caught myself overcome with emotion. I seemed to realise all at once that we were actually here, we had actually made it to Bhutan, and that it was all real. A lump seemed to automatically form at the back of my throat as I experienced gratitude with no where to hide. I was totally in the present moment and it was completely and utterly beautiful. Dylan and I had dreamt of this for so long and it was actually happening, we were and are literally living our dream. There is so much appreciation and awe at the moment and it is completely overwhelming.
We are currently busy with an orientation before we depart to our placements scattered all over Bhutan. There are sixteen teachers in total trying to learn as much as possible before we find ourselves alone in this new, foreign environment. All the while we try to purchase all the worldly things we may need for living a year in this country - mattresses, stoves, kira's and gho's (the Bhutanese national dress), the list seems to be never-ending. Dylan and I don't seem to be getting very far with shopping as we find ourselves too busy living. We can't seem to escape it here and it is the most wonderful feeling imaginable. In the past week we've done karaoke, played soccer with the locals, watched a Bhutanese band play Blink 182, found ourselves bar hopping unexpectedly to celebrate Dylan's birthday, made so many new friends! I honestly feel the need to pinch myself often because this is an adventure unlike any other.
I am so grateful that we get to call this adventure, this life, ours.