A year often seems like a long time. If one is waiting for a visitor then it could be too long. If I look back at my years they are recognizable pieces of time but not so large. For many spending a year in Bhutan would be unimaginable, but for me it was tied to teaching for one full school year and so it made sense. Being involved in school creates many opportunities while at the same time limits them due to the constraints of the school schedule. Working with a group of students and faculty as well as living in the community has opened the door to knowing many people much better than a traveler ever could. It has also provided many insights into Bhutanese culture, society, government, and religion. The parts of the country I have visited have been chosen carefully as my time to travel has been limited. I have gotten to know the area around my village of Gaselo on many afternoon walks. The Punakha Valley and its surrounds have provided endless day long excursions which have filled my weekends many of which are a short 1½ days. Even last February with nearly a year ahead of me I tried to make the most of opportunities as I knew my stay in Bhutan was finite.
Nothing spells out the end of a school year like final exams. My “question papers” have been prepared for several weeks and now is the time for students to take exams and for me to start
Early in the year one of my colleagues, Pema, was traveling to Thimphu regularly to be with his wife when their second child was born. After the arrival of their baby I congratulated Pema on the birth of his second son. He shrugged it off and told me that births are not such a big event in Bhutan but deaths, on the other hand, are celebrated elaborately and the anniversary commemorated with a family gathering for three years. The lesson here is that endings are dear for the Bhutanese. I began to realize this as I witnessed several dinners to celebrate the departure