THE PROMPTS FOR THE MONTH
WEDNESDAY 1st KEY: My key to the front door. The only one I have in Bhutan
THURSDAY 2nd TREAT: It's a rare and delicious treat to eat Dolsot Bibimbap at San Maru in Thimphu but we had a lot to celebrate today. Maybe financial insecurity is a thing of the past now
FRIDAY 3rd PURPLE: Just about my least favourite colour is purple but the centre of this fuschia blooming at school right outside the teachers common room is very pretty and a purple that made me smile on a rough day – my students’ exams start on Monday and I just have the here we go again horror feeling.
SATURDAY 4th REFLECTION: an archive shot from Cambodia because we have been talking about it lots lately and today is just too busy with final exam preparation for seniors and the junior school concert, to actually stop and reflect or even take more than concert photos
SUNDAY 5th ON MY TO DO LIST: today was edit, select, print and display the photos from last night's concert at school so the kids all get to see themselves on the pinup board tomorrow. Done now!
MONDAY 6th MISTAKE: It seemed an appropriate prompt today as my exam came first and I got the paper back to correct today. Though I do look for each mistake since we correct not just grade, I do also look for positives and write detailed comments about what is good and how to improve. No wonder it takes 5 hours to complete just the essay section!!!
TUESDAY 7th CUTE: This was taken at the PP-III annual concert “Celebration of Childhood - Dances of the World” on Saturday night, when I was as usual being official school photographer. There were a million to choose from for this prompt but these 5-year old PPs were simply adorable and their contemporary, stylized Japanese costumes were beyond cute…
WEDNESDAY 8th WHERE I STOOD: was in front of the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu after circumambulating three times and spinning the giant prayer wheels. We don't often stop to do it but we do often pass by. Seeing this prompt and knowing its exam time and end of term made me think it would be a good idea today. Thanks to Ian for taking the photo
THURSDAY 9th FOUR THINGS: Just about everything I cook begins with these four things. Tonight it's noodles in miso soup
FRIDAY 10th PARTIAL: This is a partial illustration from one of the loveliest Bhutanese children's books. I have bought several copies as gifts and treasure this copy, which is signed by the author. "Tshegho- the garment of life" is written by Kunzang Choden and illustrated by Yoko Ishigami
SATURDAY 11th ME TIME: After 5 hours of paper correction today, veggie shopping and washing there hasn't been a whole lot of me time. However Ian is setting up for "we time" and a movie after dinner
SUNDAY 12th STAIRS: We took the long way round and strolled through the Dzong on our walk today, inspired by this prompt. I knew I'd find these impressively steep wooden stairs with the smooth patina created by thousands of monks’ feet. These ornate stairwells characterise this traditional architecture
MONDAY 13th BEGINS WITH M: Both mountains and monastery begin with 'm' and this is an especially sacred monastery with the view of the mountains which is most visible in winter when this archive shot was taken
TUESDAY 14th PILE: This is a pile of "murukku" a favourite 0% cholesterol snack from India which I am rapidly becoming addicted to and which I feel I deserve after a very stressful and distressing day. Bring on summer break
WEDNESDAY 15th THE FLOOR: we have a large open plan living area in our apartment and the floor is divided into separate living spaces with mats, carpets and furniture
THURSDAY 16th VIBRANT: This is a small part of my collection of accessories made from vibrantly coloured traditional Bhutanese textiles
FRIDAY 17th MY NAME: Stationery is a fluid commodity in a school environment so I label most of mine with my name and on orange paper and invariably get it back
Second option on today's prompt "MY NAME" I had this seal made in China over 25 years ago. All the best books I have bear this mark and have travelled with me to several continents
SATURDAY 18th SOMETHING ALIVE: after behaving like zombies for the last 2 weeks during exams, my class X were very much alive when we all went out for pizza tonight. They are a great bunch and fun to be with
SUNDAY 19th NO FILTER: This is one of the three "Gyeltshens" which hang in our apartment. When we first got the apartment I promised myself I'd buy some and they were one of the first totally decorative items we put up. I don't even know what they are called in English but temples and monasteries all over the Kingdom have them and I admire their festive bright colours
MONDAY 20th WATER: I love that the simplest form of offering is pure water in at least one of the 7 offering bowls on an altar. In boarding schools students feel honoured to be the one responsible for replacing the water in all 7 bowls on the classroom altar every morning to show their devotion. This is an archive shot from Samtengang when this new statue was purchased, so the offering is a little more elaborate with rice and incense and flowers. Even the poorest of the poor can offer water and for that very reason it is such a beautiful ritual
TUESDAY 21st LOOKING UP: at one of the giant prayer flag poles into the gloomy monsoon skies on my walk home from school today
WEDNESDAY 22nd DELICIOUS: I am so glad that this prompt inspired us to make one of our favourite celebratory dinners tonight. I finished correcting all my exam papers today, after putting in an extra 56 hours in the last two and a half weeks and that is certainly cause to celebrate with a delicious vegetarian kofta dinner
THURSDAY 23rd FAR: Trashigang and Rangjung in particular are never far from my thoughts and though it might not seem far on a map, at about 500 kilometres, it is a two day minimum road trip and I am jubilant that we will be heading back there for the first time in two and a half years and maybe the last time ever, in exactly a week
FRIDAY 24th GOLD: These are gold painted and tucked into the wall chorten in Changangkha Monastery. I once again climbed the steps on the way home from school today inspired by the day's prompt. I don't even know what to call them in English let alone their purpose in Buddhist belief, but gold they are
SATURDAY 25th I SHOP HERE: Inside the Centenary Farmers Market in Thimphu there is a small section that sells locally made incense power and pre-rolled sticks as well as other religious items. Although I shop here every Saturday for local, organic vegetables, today I also made a small purchase from this stall
SUNDAY 26th HANDWRITTEN: I love that each package is handwritten and that living in the capital means we can actually buy fresh tofu. Lovely handwriting too
MONDAY 27th LOUD: Motorcycles are not big in Bhutan but these Classic Royal Enfields and the Thunderbirds, with their loud exhausts are become more prevalent on the streets of Thimphu and even rival the rabies infected, howling, barking dogs, (of which I'm too scared to attempt to photograph) at disturbing the peace.
TUESDAY 28th QUIET: It was actually so quiet in here this morning I could hear the tiny little mouse scurrying between cardboard boxes and it got itself trapped in the waste paper bin searching for food now that there are no students leaving lunch scraps about in the classroom where it usually lives. I come early for the peace and quiet in the office hoping to bowl over my end of term tasks but it's quieter than a mouse in here these days. I miss the students
WEDNESDAY 29th SUNSHINE: We didn't see a lot of sunshine today as the sun played peekaboo with the looming monsoon clouds but there were intense periods of bright light, which I managed to capture over Memorial Chorten on the way downtown after school
THURSDAY 30th STRIPES: The 'kira' I wore to school today for the final day before holidays has a monotone stripe pattern with a bit of diagonal going on. It is the oldest one I own and still a favourite as it is so traditional