Thursday, August 1, 2013

You Got To Make it Through The World If You Can

“Everywhere you look it’s like a jungle book” Zeke

Last night Principal La hosted a Puja at his house. A puja is a prayer session that drives away ghosts and ensures prosperity. This is done in every temple and household throughout Bhutan a ritual that is not superstitious rather a regular part of life. Principal La was in high spirits and I felt honored to sit next to him and Karlos adjacent from Lama. The Alter was behind us which is prominent in every home from the simplest abode to the most fancy. On this alter pictures of HM, Guru Rinpoche, peacock feathers and Miss Conch. When I stumbled into a shack in the forests of Yangtse the residents had no furnishings but a simple alter with seven bowls of water, the simplest offering. That transcendental experience with Yeshi refilling my suja a thousand times and offering anything she had will remain with me forever. Much in the same spirit Principal La and his family made a fine supper and the mood was mirthful as all Tsenkharla family drank gabbed and laughed through the festivities. It’s always the same format with tea followed by beer and ara then food, once one is done eating its customary to split. It’s a lovely and tribal community here as folks sat on the floor in gho, and bare feet (the woman ate in a separate room) longhouse style. I’m very glad I stayed a second year since it takes a whole year to acclimate and partially adapt. The second year one can truly get down to business although that business gnawed at me awfully hard today, a long day as students were over doing homework for two hours and on their way out I caught one of them stealing milk. Of course milk is inconsequential but it bothered me none the less even though I understand their desires. I always feed them snacks and try to entertain them but I do expect honesty on their part. I feel for these boys, one of them never knew his father but two of the three boys who were here tonight I have caught pilfering including an I-pod that was later returned damaged. Listen to the old fuddy-duddy rant but today was a BEAR without the grin as I flopped in class nine or more aptly they were terrible listeners causing discord in the classroom. Bhutanese teachers use blunt force and get the results of a quiet classroom. I don’t want to teach frightened children but I do expect their attention and respect. Classroom management is my glaring weakness and although it’s improved it’s a struggle as I am not endowed with a commanding presence. My strength is enthusiasm and I feel I’m a good champion for the students but teaching is an art form with endless nuances and you either have aptitude or not. Those in the second category have to fake it until they make it. Well folks I haven’t made it yet and I’ve never been a good fake. Nevertheless this is an ideal and challenging environment to grow my career and I promise y’all I’m trying my best (or at least 99.9%)      

It should be noted here that there are far more successes in the classroom than hardships and I have hatched several ideas to improve speaking and listening and will keep you informed. Hey we all have a tough day on the job now and again and it would behoove me to consider what I do a playful vocation and then hoo boy.

Found solace out in the woods among giant leaves that could harbor techno colored pipe puffing catapillars and a summers boquet of arrangements while we wait....  

Three Good Things:

1.       Little Sangay Dema saying “What are you doing Tim?” making me laugh my arse off.
2.       Tashi Gyelston surprising me with Emadatsi from the mess.
3.       Communing with Tsangma up at the fort.   

Aloha from the Land of Terror (Or was it the terror of life?)

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