Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pass Out The Hatchets

“Well the first days are the hardest days don’t you worry anymore.”

Today is sunny and clear. I was reading on my stoop and some grade 10 students came by with some grammar questions regarding usage of (a vs. an.) I knew the answers but not the rules behind them. It will be a mission to find a grammar book and study the rules of the language I teach. Grammar is not my strong point so this will be a great opportunity to nail down the foundation of our language. I’m sure this will help my writing and blogging also. I swept my floor today and will clean all surfaces once the water returns. It runs from 6-7 AM on the days its available at all. So I set my alarm. I received a package today and still have one on the way. I believe the one I received was the second one sent so the first one might be in Thimphu at headquarters. So mom if your reading this I haven’t received the one with all my medicine yet. I realize the tone of my blog has been a bit negative but I want you all to know that I don’t regret being here for a second. I am getting very excited to teach and am speaking at my friends wedding on his behalf tomorrow. (That reminds me, I need a white scarf to present) The staff each contributed some money for a gift which is common place for the numerous parties. I have a lot to do as far as housework, shopping, and banking. My principal dropped by today on a courtesy call. He assured me I could go to Yangtse next week. I still can’t get over how beautiful it is here and am looking forward to establishing a consistent routine. I have to be vigilant about cleanliness, health, and my PMA (positive mental attitude) I am getting some cooking lessons next week so I can be self reliant, which is one of my primary goals for sojourning here.

I am thinking a lot about my teaching strategies and approach since knowing all my students names might take some time. As well as establishing clear and consistent classroom guidelines and expectations. I just had lunch at Karlos’s and can you believe the Bhutanese enjoy eating with their hands. As I’m writing this a huge blast of dynamite shook my house echoing up and down the valley for about 20 seconds, their doing some hydro project down there. Today I can finally see to the end of the valley which is blocked by a small range in Arunachal Pradesh India. Theirs a glimmer of snow on the highest peaks on the Bhutan side of the border. I talked to Becky again today before using all my minutes up and getting disconnected. She was telling me stories of her interactions and observations of the Brokpa people from Sakteng, a place that was closed to tourists for 30 years until 2011. She is fortunate to be able to interact with them and says they have rugged features and are very happy people. They come into the village where her school is to trade goods before trekking a few days back to their indigenous community. As for Thshenkharla life plods on at its natural pace and students and teachers are in good spirits. I am really enjoying “Death Comes to the Archbishop” by Willa Cather. The story itself is simple enough but the descriptive and sparse writing is remarkable. I finished “The Divine Madman” a novel translated into English by Keith Dowman. He was an example of “crazy wisdom” enlightening beings through his sexual escapades and drunken revelry. He also was an adept known for performing miracles including creating Bhutan's national animal, the Tonkin. He did this by putting the head of a goat on the body of a cow. I am very drawn to Drukpa Kunley since he possesses many attributes and qualities quite opposite then my own.

I went out exploring, walking the road down towards the town and river 9 KM below. I always feel good walking in Bhutan. Tonight I went out with Karlos for his last night as a "chronic bachelor" Karma's little boy was running around like a wild animal at one point picking up a hatchet slamming it into a log. This didn't even raise an eye brow from the folks sitting around the wood stove! I had some fun playing with the "wild child" before taking my leave in a light rain.  

Here's a poem about my favorite indoor spot in Bhutan above the ruins at the temple.

Where the secrets all our told
and the petals all unfold- Attics

There is a secret attic
far from the reach of any demon
where a shaft of light filters through
sweet incense smoke
and the mural depicts your story
in silver, blue, and gold
secured from all earthly form.
open your heart and you will be,
the sound of thick air
older then dirt

Love Tim

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