I wake up early in the morning, around the crack of dawn. I wave to my neighbours like Kuzampo. Say Kuzampo. I’m all ready to go, books banging in my bag. Everybody in my village show me love.
But really, people here wake up with the sun. Due to either sunlight coming through the cracks of my wooden windows, my natural time clock, monks chanting an hour earlier, labourers building my neighbours house or all of the above, I wake up at 6:00 AM no matter what I do. The next order of business is using the washroom, which is a classic Indian squat toilet with a large hole in roof to allow convection currents of air. Unfortunately, the hole allows rain to wash away at the wall and make the floor a muddy lake. The next order of business is internet. My internet is about twice as fast between 5 and 7 am because no one else uses it around then. Since I ran out of Oatmeal the next chore is to make some food, which is always weird because rice for breakfast is still weird for me. My next chore is doing dishes with the water I haul from ten minutes away. I have become excellent at conserving water. This is because I am quite lazy and the water facilities in my village are constantly dry. It is actually a serious problem. I have a set of buckets which I use as a kitchen sink, waste bucket, shower, toilet flusher, etc. Showers involve a mixture of boiled and unboiled water, and my dirty partially roofed bathroom. I round out my morning with the task of dressing myself. Putting on my Gho takes between 5-20 minutes depending on my wakefulness, dexterity, care for appearance and attitude that morning. I am quite proud that I can put on the Gho passably to come to school. People no longer laugh when I walk by. Although it is not put on well enough that teachers will ask to redo it if important guests come to the school.
My daily commute is a 7 minute walk through part of the village, a farm, and through peoples property. A tremendous view of the Pema Gatshel (It means Lotus Village) valley can be seen when I walk past the two cows that scare the dust out of me when they moooo at nighttime. Villager’s constant stares have turned into Kuzampos and smiles. This makes me happy as I arrive at the school.
We start the day with a morning assembly at the outdoors assembly ground. A few of the other teachers have blogged about the centering and beauty of this ritual. I will play devil’s advocate. I really enjoy the meditation, 5-minute prayer and national anthem. The following speeches by students and the teacher on duty often take about 30 minutes, cutting into class time. I feel for the students who seem to get berated with unwarranted advice everyday, but maybe it is good for them. I then have three classes before lunch with a spare and one or two classes after lunch. This part of the day goes by very fast. The students are hilarious and hard working. There are some challenges, but that is a discussion for another day.
After school ends I have one hour to do some more prep and go home and change. I coach volleyball 4 out of 6 days in a week (2 days boys and 2 days boys). It starts right after evening prayer ends at 4:30. I really enjoy it though. I feel really good about giving the girls, as fellow BCF teacher put it, a fair go. I will also do my best to inject some Canadian-style sport into the community. Often I find that the laughing, supportive team atmosphere that every team I have been on is missing during sports here. A match for fun ALWAYS has the score kept. I crave more silliness and more pushups for missed serves. After volleyball, I do my best to attend the evening study sessions. I do this to intervene in the copying/plagiarism epidemic. This is accomplished by actually helping students who are far to often too shy and reluctant to ask for help. Often, teachers have to attend required dinners/celebrations for baby showers, birthdays, promotions, departures, etc., which interfere with normal schedules. I am not one to deny free food, but I am starting to find that I cannot fulfill both the professional and social obligations of being a teacher in Bhutan.
By the evenings I find some energy to make some sort of meal. (My personal favourite is called throw-everything-in-a-pot-stew. I take every thing I have and throw it in a pot and hope for the best). That is, I make a meal if someone has not invited me for dinner, which happens quite often. I am also pleased to announce that I figured out how to make Japatis or tortilla like things. The are the closer to bread than the bread you can find in the stores here in Bhutan. I finish the day quite exhausted, reading or watching movies and curling up into my sleeping bag.
I wrote this, not because it is overly interesting, because I was told that years down the road I will want to know what my day-to-day life was like.
This blog is fine. Expecting anymore from a blog like this would be expecting a lot. Being disappointed is your own fault. Some blogs have much more ornate photos, which when compared to the text of my blog, come off as trying too hard. As for video blogs, SCALE it Back buddy.
(watch Terrible Planet: Deer Are Fine on Youtube if you do not get that last paragraph).