What am I taking with me?

On July 10th, 2018, a day before I met with the rest of the group in New Delhi, we were given a journal prompt. “What is happiness? What does “happiness” mean to you? What does it look like, sound like, feel like?” Sitting in BaiYun Airport (Guangzhou, China), I quickly jotted down some ideas on what I thought happiness meant.

“Happiness feels like a dream, a world where all you can feel is your stomach sore from laughing. It sounds pure and light hearted and thinking about it makes you smile.”

Today is July 24th. I am once again sitting in BaiYun Airport, except this time I am waiting to head back home. As I think about the most recent blog prompt “What am I taking with me”, the first thing that comes to mind is the default; I have taken away new knowledge of the Bhutanese culture.

Over the past two weeks, I have learned about the history of Bhutan and got to explore the beautiful nation. However, the things that make me tingle with nostalgia and longing to return to Bhutan are not the facts I learned, but rather the memories I created in Bhutan. I long to go back on our purple bus and laugh with my peers, and I wish to have one more meal with the ELC students. I try to relive the time where I laughed until I cried, the time where we played soccer against our Bhutanese friends. I am taking away with me the tears of laughter, the inside jokes, and all the memories I made in the brief two weeks.

Happiness feels like a dream, a world where all you can feel is your stomach sore from laughing.

Happiness looks like playing basketball on the concrete court with Ishaan, Adrian, Alex, Sangyel, Rabsel, and Karma.

Happiness looks like trying to wake up Kinga in the morning.

Happiness sounds like the loud music from Hugo’s speaker mixed with the laughter of Claudine, Tenzin, and Zoe.

Happiness looks like sitting on the floor with the entire group eating a family style dinner.

One of our guest speaker described happiness as something that one can reach for, but never be able to touch. Over this trip, I feel that I have been the closest I’ve ever been to touching happiness. What I’m taking with me are the memories that led me close to happiness. Thank you, Ms. Staff, Ms. Strong, Susannah, Adrian, Ishaan, Alex, Hugo, Zoe, Claudine, Tenzin, Lucy, Grace, Alice, Skylar, Miraya, Kelly, all the ELC students, Lucky, Dawa, CJ, and so many more for making trip this such an amazing experience. And although this experience is coming to an end, I hope that in the future, we can come together and continue this journey towards happiness.

- David