Dancing in the Moonlight

We are currently 3 1/2 hours away from landing back in the U.S. after our visit to Bhutan and brief time in India. I have tangible things that I am bringing back home with me such as the bracelet from the 8th century nunnery where I took an art lesson from Buddhist nuns in Punakha, Bhutan. I also have the wooden carving of a Thunder Dragon given to me by one of the girls at the ELC school. Other than these physical objects which serve as reminders of my time in Bhutan with my 13 Andover peers and Ms. Strong and Ms. Staff, I also have the experiences and moments that touched me the most. My brief time spent interacting with Bhutanese people, both young and old, showed me their intense devotion to spirituality and patriotism. The kindness shown by the students at ELC, our tour guides, those who welcomed us into their homes for tea or a meal, will not soon be forgotten. The gentle way that Bhutanese people hand things to one another, with their palms open and a slight bow, even if it is just a microphone or pen, has stuck with me. They demonstrate immense devotion to the nation with the presence of a picture of His Majesty or the Royal Family in every room and how highly they speak of His Majesty. The people who we had the pleasure of interacting with practiced mindfulness in their everyday life: from walking, to eating, and in learning. Being able to interact with community partners in Thimphu taught me the power of a single person; individuals who have made substantial change despite the fact that they have had individuals who doubted them. I am also taking with me a myriad of memories. From now on, whenever “Dancing in the Moonlight” comes on, I will think of that time we all had a spontaneous dance party in the courtyard. When I see or think of archery, it will remind me of the time we played the national game of Bhutan in the woods of Punakha. If I see a chili pepper, I’ll remember eating Ema Datsi (the national dish of Bhutan) with my Andover group and trying to pretend that we could handle the heat. Although my time in Bhutan was short and I cannot attest to all Bhutanese people, those who I did have the pleasure of meeting showed me patience, generosity, devotion, and hope. The ELC is a new school (only 2 1/2 years old) and it has faced much scrutiny in its beginning stages. Nevertheless, Principal Ma’am Deki and the other charismatic teachers there, continue to work to be inspired, to improve, learn, and adapt to the ever-changing world. I hope that I can do the same throughout my life, both in and out of the classroom.

- Kelly