Sunday, April 5, 2015

oNe PhOtO a DaY:

 wEeK oNe MaRcH 2015


MONDAY 2ND PART OF ME: I guess this photo from archives taken by my husband, when we were travelling, really shows the parts of me I like best. Two of my greatest passions in life are photography and teaching and I can’t imagine either of them not being a part of me. This shot encapsulates both and more than that I really like it and the fact that joy is radiating out of my being.

TUESDAY 3RD OPEN: The lower entrance today at school looked more welcoming than ever, with the doors flung open and a special welcome arch erected to signal the school’s gratitude to the sponsors of the exhibition of photographs depicting His Majesty the 4th King’s relationship with India currently on display in the hall. 

WEDNESDAY 4TH GEOMETRIC: The detail of the welcome arch woven from strips of cloth in the 5 colours of Buddhism reveal a very geometric pattern.

THURSDAY 5TH OUT THE WINDOW: Just when I thought that spring was really on its way, we have had a really cold week but this beautiful, late afternoon view from my bedroom window when the last rays of sun strike the distant snow capped peaks still makes me smile.

FRIDAY 6TH REMEDY: No matter what life throws at me a good book is always a remedy and an escape. Even here and with quite a digital collection, we are still accumulating a stash of books that are teaching and learning resources as well as some purchased for pure pleasure. 

SATURDAY 7TH SWEET: Although I don’t really have a sweet tooth since we bought an oven last year, I try to bake a treat for our lunchboxes each week and I went right ahead with Banana Cake this weekend even though there were still a few rock buns left from last week

SUNDAY 8TH YOUNG: This young beauty was dancing as a part of the International Women’s Day celebrations in Clock Tower Square today. She might well have been the youngest dancer involved but she sure knew all the moves and had poise and grace.

 wEeK tWo MaRcH 2015


MONDAY 9TH MAKE: The doors of the PP (Kindergarten) classrooms are all decorated to make the children feel very welcome. This one particularly appealed to me and it must work as I have seen very few teary departures this week even though the little ones have been coming to school for only a week now.

TUESDAY 10TH FLORAL: The floral pattern in this tego (traditional Bhutanese jacket) seemed Chinese inspired to me and sure enough when I asked the fabric was bought in Singapore. It still looked fabulous with a hand-woven kira and Madam Anjana has just the personality to pull it off

WEDNESDAY 11TH HAPPY PLACE:  This playground for the exclusive use of the lower primary students is a very happy place

THURSDAY 12TH DETAILS: These offerings made by the monks for many different Buddhist rituals are incredible when viewed up close and the details of the intricate weaving in the coloured threads are revealed. This particular one was taller than a person and found in Changgangkha Lhahang near our home

FRIDAY 13TH COLOUR: This pattern of very complimentary colours is an embroidered design on a ceremonial scarf or “rachu’. All Bhutanese women wear them on formal occasions and I spotted this particular one at school assembly and asked the girl wearing it if I could snap a shot

SATURDAY 14TH FAVOURITE: Just some of my favourite colleagues at Druk School this morning when we were all waiting for the General Teacher-Parent Meeting to begin. They know how to have fun and enjoy themselves whilst still being totally professional and giving one hundred percent.  I am glad to be on this team!

SUNDAY 15TH SMALL: These fragile and delicate individual cherry blossoms are small but still striking

wEeK tHrEe MaRcH 2015


MONDAY 16TH AFTER: every assembly students are supposed to march with arms swinging off the sports ground and back into their classrooms but very few do it with the enthusiasm of this class VI student. Being Monday it was also a formal assembly so each boy wore his ceremonial scarf known as a ‘khabney’, while the girls each donned a ‘rachu’

TUESDAY 17TH HOBBY: Football is a hobby for many and watching it is an obsession for many more. I’m not a big fan but the Bhutanese National team won its first ever match against Sri Lanka earlier this week and that should finally move them from the bottom of the international ranking. Today there was a rematch in the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu and it was attended by huge number of people including all the seniors from my school. This is a shot of the team warming up

WEDNESDAY 18TH TEXT: This text along with many others is displayed in the corridor at my school.

THURSDAY 19TH PRIVATE: This is a private walled housing estate which I suspect is for ministers of parliament but I am not exactly sure. It is quite near where we live but I have certainly never seen anything like it anywhere else in Bhutan.

FRIDAY 20TH HAND-DRAWN: This hand-drawn picture of me was produced by one of my students in Class VIC English. I love the details that she got right after only a month of classes: the earrings, the hair colour, the favourite jacket, the rings and the piece of green plant, I wore when I didn’t have any clothes the right colour for green day last Wednesday.

SATURDAY 21ST SUN-FLARE: through the trees and with a yellow prayer flag flying on the walk to Tango Wangditse Temple. (taken a day late as the sun never actually appeared on Saturday)  

SUNDAY 22ND LEAVES: holly leaves in the sunshine on our walk to the same temple

wEeK fOuR MaRcH 2015


MONDAY 23rd TOO MUCH: Even with way too much haze (caused by fires not pollution) it is still possible to spot the bright orange exterior of Druk School from across the river at Lungtenzampa MSS where I was judging the ‘wall magazine’ competition today

TUESDAY 24TH A TREASURE: I guess that must be me gauging from this note, which was left on my desk at lunchtime today and written by the principal! She did write the date of my birthday, which she only discovered later but it was her use of words that made me think it matched this prompt.

WEDNESDAY 25TH HALF: Before coming to Bhutan I hardly ever saw or bought pomegranates but now I regularly cook with them. Just replace the sultanas or raisins in any sweet recipe with fresh ripe pomegranate seeds. They taste great and even look fabulous cut in half awaiting use.

THURSDAY 26TH I LOVE: I love teaching. I love my current school and I especially love being in a school with PP students for the first time in my teaching career. Although I don’t actually teach them myself I love watching their antics and interactions 

FRIDAY 27TH SOMETHING WHITE: The ‘Legeys’ (cuffs), ‘Khabney’ (ceremonial scarf) and ‘Khadar’ (blessing scarf-worn around the neck here) must be whiter than white to show respect on significant occasions in Bhutan. This is the teacher responsible for inculcating traditional values in my school, being the perfect role model on the occasion of our school purification ceremony (Rimdro) today.

SATURDAY 28TH GIVE: Nature gives us so many gifts of beauty to appreciate and right now I am finding signs of spring everywhere and appreciating that it truly is warmer. This magnificent magnolia is blooming right outside our bedroom window and was not destroyed when the building it was once in the garden of, was demolished a couple of weeks ago.

SUNDAY 29TH ZEN: This is a shot from archives taken in Rangjung in 2011 and it really embodies the Zen concept: that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith alone. This young boy was a newly arrived novice at the monastery and despite not being able to read the prayer book (wrapped in orange in his arms) his devotion to prayer and mediation was only momentarily distracted by the presence of 2 foreigners at the Parinivarna ceremonies.

wEeK fOuR MaRcH 2015


MONDAY 30TH ON MY TABLE: As usual on my table at school are a lesson plan book for each class, my timetable, water, a pile of special books for reading programs, my school diary, a pencil case, bookmarks, notes to self and an ever growing mountain of students’ exercise books to be marked (please don’t tell them but when some are late with their homework I almost feel grateful) Luckily this was taken after lunch so my hot-case has already been stashed in my bag.

TUESDAY 31ST TWO TONE: I don’t know the exact name of these tiny little chorten shaped memorials that are placed in all kinds of nooks and crannies in Bhutan ranging from cliff-faces to the space between the spinning prayer wheels in wall of them, but I do know they are always two-tone and displayed in huge numbers. I believe that they are made from the ashes of cremations as a final tribute to the person and a way to release their soul. Please let me know if I have got that wrong or if you know the proper name for them in English

WEDNESDAY 1ST LUNCH: Everyday I eat lunch with my class IX English group in their classroom and they set up little groups of tables and delight in chattering and sharing their lunches with each other. We have a Dzongkha lopen (teacher) with us to ensure that they pray before they eat and observe correct Bhutanese etiquette but it is still not so formal and a real pleasure to see them interacting and be part of it. I love the joy in Red Dorji’s face in this photo. (she is the girl at the back right)

THURSDAY 2ND BUILDING: The watchtower in Paro now a museum, with restoration after the earthquake clearly visible. Still a very striking landmark building

FRIDAY 3RD THIS IS GOOD: Tshechu is good enough to attract enormous crowds and Paro Tshechu is no exception. This is good and no one ever grows tired of it. This is better than good it is sensational.

SATURDAY 4TH I STOOD HERE: This is the entrance to the very impressive Paro Dzong but with the Tshechu going on in the adjacent lakhang it was all but deserted when we took a break from the crushing crowds and enjoyed a moment of solitude inside in the sacred courtyard

SUNDAY 5TH EGG: No Easter celebrations here in Bhutan but it would be hard to beat Tshechu anyway. However we did have eggs, chillies, tomatoes and asparagus on toast for breakfast. It is still a pretty good celebratory meal.

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