Archives for posts with tag: Thimphu

The below twitter exchange made me so so so happy today! ( and yes Rainbow Rowell  is the author of the book in the picture from  last week’s post)



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One of many outdoor teas with our students.

Once upon a time I did my dissertation field work at an educational institution in rural Bhutan. As part of the condition for being there I had to teach classes in a brand new program and worked with a group of young enthusiastic first time teachers, who became important allies and eventually good friends.  Many of them stayed on at the institution even as a I finished my degree and returned to the capital.

We stayed in touch. When they are in the capital ( which is a full two days away by car) we meet up for drinks or a meal and swap news and gossip. When they are not in the capital we still electronically share classroom stories, resources and inside jokes. But this week I had the rare and wonderful pleasure of getting to spend three whole days  with two of these friends. As academics we were officially invited to participate in a three day workshop held at a fancy hotel downtown.



Just like in the old days we found a table in the back that gave us the room to whisper, make jokes and safely roll our eyes at the occasional displays of pompous-ness and sexism ( amazing how often the two of those are correlated). But the workshop also proved to be well organized, interesting and provided plenty of opportunity for rich discussion. I was consistently glad to be able to be having these conversations with my smart and frequently irreverent friends.

So that is what I loved this week the opportunity to be able to catch up with old friends at an engaging workshop. It was sort of  like a holiday for nerdy people.










Stochasticity by Utsav Khatiwara

Flecks of star dust


In you and I

And every time you smile

We are drawn closer

Even in an expanding universe.

One of the things that has made me happy in the last couple of months has been the coming together of a poetry anthology ( “folded into a paper boat: a collection of poetry from Bhutan”) that I helped edit for our family publishing house Riyang Books. I loved the opportunity to get to know the two other editors better, I loved reading the poems and getting to know the poets, I loved the poems we finally picked and the beautiful cover my brother designed and than I loved  the cake my sister made for the launch earlier this month. She decorated it with 13 tiny little boats to stand in for the 13 poets ( including Utsav) featured in the book.

This project had nothing to do with my career  nor does the publishing house  expect to turn a profit (we might not even break even on this one) . We did it, I did it because I love poetry and the idea of there being more of it in the world is a very good thing.



Every winter in Bhutan I miss the mild warmth of Arizona at that time of year but in the spring time when Thimphu turns pink and white and yellow and neon green, I am happy to be here.


When I lived in Eastern Bhutan about four years ago I spent all spring pointing out flowers and tree and interesting plants. Finally one of my friends ( who was often the person I was addressed when I said, ” look at that flower!”)  asked me if I thought I was John Keats ( the English romantic poet). Honestly I am not even that familiar with his poetry but it was such an unexpectedly funny comment that its continues to be an inside joke that comes back every spring.

Here is what he put on my Facebook wall as soon as things started to bloom in Eastern Bhutan ( where he sadly still lives, a two day car ride away)




Inside jokes, specially long standing ones like this one are such a mood booster. I can’t even explain why but this made me smile for days.

It took me a couple of days to put my response up on Facebook. I have to say that having an excuse to take spring time photos is no hardship!




Spring time and old inside jokes are a combination I have come to love and they both make me so hopefully about all the potential that the year has for beauty, for friendship and for fun.  I love that feelings so much. So much.

Last Saturday we woke up to the first snow of the year. Here is Rocklee considering the snow fall from our back door…

The snow fall was not very heavy but it was the first snow of 2014.  Here is our patio with a dusting of snow.

We decided this was the perfect excuse to stay indoors,light a fire and watch movies. Here is my sister, Rocklee and Kitty taking a nap in the warmest room of the house.

Rocklee did spend some time outdoors getting wet and so he came back in smelling not so great. Here he is climbing on the couch for some family time while everyone else is covering their nose!


After several years of mild Arizona winters I most definitely do not love winter cold but the excuse the snow gave us to slow down and relax and just hang out, I do ❤  that, I ❤ that a lot.

My amazing siblings ( along with my sister’s boyfriend) recently pulled together an amazing 5 day short film festival.  They had 32 films, both local and international, live music every night, workshops during the day and good audiences for almost all the events. It was intense and exhausting and hugely successful.

But rarely still for a large scale event  in Bhutan– it was informal and inclusive and fun. I can’t even begin to explain how much there is a tendency towards the super formal in Bhutan. And while for some events it make perfect sense, for an event like this that was about art and pleasure and community the informality was just the right tone.

The picture below of the Minister of Communication being served tea on opening night sort of highlights how laidback and casual the event was. The serving girls are wearing t-shirt over their kira. There is a group of kids playing in the background (later they took over the empty bench near the minister). Seated in front of the minister are my causally dressed sister and the projectionist.


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Informality– what’s not to ❤


PS also video put together by my siblings to advertise the event:

This time of year I love walking down the hill to catch the bus to work because this is the view along the way….




































( Thimphu, Bhutan.  Jan 2013)