National Bird- Raven
Favorite Food- Anything with chilies
Fridge settings-Winter, Summer, Monsoon
Toilets- squat (bring paper unless adept at the Asian bidet, water bucket and a scoop)
They drive on the left, so step off a curb and look RIGHT not left (that lesson comes quickly).
At day 23, life here is starting to feel normal. Everyone is settled into a pleasant routine.
With only three sets of clothes each (one for wearing, one for washing, and one backup) Jen’s day usually starts with some laundry. You have to hang it out early, so it will dry before the afternoon weather rolls in (cold fingers hanging up wet clothes in 30 degree temps). Our little washer is on the balcony with the clothes line. It took some practice figuring out what the “fuzzy” cycle was about. Also, to power the washer Jen has to unplug the microwave, and run the extension cord from the electric blanket through an open kitchen window, but the chore no longer produces the profanity it did early on.
On teaching days her and the kids bundle into a taxi and head across town to the school where they teach English Literacy and Yoga.
Without the rush to make morning assembly, they usually choose to walk back home, picking up ingredients for the evening’s dinner on their meandering. Back at the apartment, Jen is still the teacher, and it is time for the girls to do their own schoolwork.
On non-teaching days, the girls all head straight to the pine forest above the apartment. Schoolwork is still on their schedule, only now their classroom comes with a view. They always seem to negotiate time to build a fort or play among the prayer flags at the end of their lessons. After, it’s back down into the valley for the day’s shopping, a visit to the telecom office, or perhaps a coffee with another volunteer.
I normally catch up with the gang around 3:00. After snacks and snuggles, we try to go out on some adventure together in town. A trip to the National Library, Tashi Dzong, the archery grounds, or just a taxi ride up to the telecom reflector tower.
Evenings… the same dinner, bath, hair-combing, teeth-brushing routine as home. Except it is Indian cable that provides the background chatter instead of DirecTV. Occasionally a power outage triggers some flashlight games. And a game of Uno is never far from reach.
We certainly are lacking many of the comforts of home here. We’re cold a lot, and we haven’t yet found a decent slice of bread. But there is something to the simple life here. It’s like the difference between those diabetic desserts and those made with real sugar and lard. One is richer and more satisfying.