I have been in Bhutan for more than 24 hours now, and it is, without a doubt, the most beautiful place I have ever been. It is almost unspeakable how tall the mountains are, how clear the sky is, and how beautiful the people are. So many people have said, “Welcome to Bhutan.”
I and the other people on the program are unique and so lucky. We are chillips (foreigners), but we get to stay in Bhutan for almost four months on a special visa and see things that tourists don’t get to see. We get to learn in and about this place and immerse ourselves in a way that not even other SFS students have because this is the first semester program. We get to eat chillies and rice at every meal and drive through the country along mountain roads and learn about the plants and animals that make this country one of the top ten biodiversity hotspots in the world. I am deeply grateful for this experience, and I promise to carry the wisdom that this semester provides into my life elsewhere.
Right now I am sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Thimphu with two other students who are writing blog posts. There is a photograph of the king and queen of Bhutan on the wall, and old copies of The Journal of Bhutan Studies on the table. I just went for a night walk around Thimphu and we found a soccer stadium and an annual crafts market.
The group of 21 students is continuing to get to know each other, but we know that we’re going to be pretty tightly bonded within a short time! We have an incredible amount in common, which makes sense because we are self selected. It is so refreshing to be around other young Americans who are actually interested in things, care about the planet, and read! We are going to start a library of all the interesting books we brought.
Internet is very spotty. We will be in Thimphu for three days and then traveling to Bumthang on Friday. I’ll try to post more (possibly tomorrow) with pictures!