Getting Here, or In Gratitude

Hello All, due to fatigue and a very lousy internet connection, and soon to be non-connection, I am posting this without editing or links. I hope you get the gist. No photo blogs until I can find a better hookup. See a few photos in the twitter feed (below.)

 

Looking from the outside, it probably sounds as if I am moving to Bhutan, and I’m the one who has planned and packed and shopped, which I certainly have, essentially nonstop since the moment I knew I was going. It hasn’t been just me, however. There is no way I would be going without the love, labor, and generosity of others, in large and small ways. Really, though, a lot of people are coming along with me, via their generous spirit.

And lots of you have asked about this, the how did you get that gig?

I happen to know the right people. Donna (who used to work for me) and Buzz, her husband, worked as planners in Bhutan about 5 years ago. Two years ago I was visiting with them and decided I wanted to go. They sent a letter for me at at the time, but there wasn’t a positive response and I couldn’t go then yet anyway. On July 1 (an eclipse, for those of you who keep track of such things) I received the final date on a legal matter. I contacted Buzz, he sent another letter, we got an immediate reply, YES, and Buzz got a phone call. I said YES, and here we are.
Aside from all my reading on the internet, and the four books by expats, the only reason I know anything about what I am getting into–at least on a practical daily living level–is due to the generosity of those who have already been there, and the wonders of social media: Reed College alumni (LinkedIn) Cynthia Whitehead, who was the lead on writing the environmental law of Bhutan 1999-2000, and gave me my first lesson putting on the kira and Stephanie Guyer-Stevens, radio documentarian and soon to return to work for RENEW; Angela, via Buzz, recent city planner; and via Twitter, Lisa Napoli, Radio Shangri-La, Lotay, local tour guide, and, for very last minute advice, including a reminder about decent sunglasses, Andrea, who has a nice blog on her time in Bhutan.
Holly and Bob worked faithfully for me closing up Chandler & Chandler Landscape Architects, despite the fact that meant losing their jobs, part time though they were, and my friend Louise stepped in late, but just in time, to take on mail pickup and bill paying in my absence. (As a total aside, it is costing me about $500 a month for CCLA, due to the fact I need to maintain my insurance coverage, licensures, and certifications. Sometimes it is just better to have a job and be able to quit it . . . )
My brother Josh stepped in and said he could move my office trailer to his place so I wouldn’t have to pay storage fees for it, and he hauled it up there and set it up for me. And, because he did that, I was able to move my apartment into it, and save storage fees for that. He also loaned me the mouse piss car, which was very useful for moving things around. Michael loaned me his BMW Z3 so I could have air conditioning and wouldn’t smell like mouse piss when I went to appointments, and have a little thrill at the same time, purring motor, top down, moon up, smelling the tar weed, dairies, grape must, eucalyptus and dried grass. You’ll be glad to know he also signed me up for Global Rescue service, so if anything dire befalls to me, I can be flown home.
My mother and first sister in law packed much of my apartment, as they had done already three times, three years ago, during the Year of Moving (and general economic collapse). Friend Mimi helped as well and provided post apartment housing and meals and hates these public acknowledgements, but tough.
From friends and teachers: unquantifiable support and encouragement. Much more about this should be said.
And, finally, my mother’s neighbor, Kristin, to whom I said, as I was driving away, “I trust you’ll keep an eye on my mother,” immediately put her hand to her heart and said, “of course, absolutely.”
I know you are all watching over me. Thank you.

It’s the small things

I was asked today if I was scared about the move. No, I’m not actually. But, I’m worrying about the small things, like what I am going to wear to work. If I wear the national dress, the kira, as I’ve been advised, I will be challenged on multiple fronts. One, I will have to take more than my usual five minutes to dress (ten minutes on an ironing day, twenty for a date.) Two, I might have to wear bright colors. Three, I might have to wear all of those colors at once. Four, I might have to wear multiple patterns all at once. Five, how will I stay out of the mud? Six, running? It doesn’t look possible. Seven, wait, is this a dress? And finally, eight, seriously, putting the kira on looks way beyond my coordination capacities. Check out these photos (click next to see the assembly sequence.) Somehow, I don’t think the government is going to send over a dressing aide each day. I’ll have to take dressing lessons.

So, I’ve those challenges to weigh against the strict Drukair suitcase weight limit. Do I waste my precious kilos on work clothes because I am worrying about my aesthetic limitations? Or, save some of those kilos for my camera, chocolate, hiking boots . . . and express my inner color-pattern maven? And I do like the idea of having a blouse covered in dragons.

(Small note to potential subscribers. You’ll have to confirm your subscription by clicking a link that will be sent to you from wordpress. Some folks who said they subscribed aren’t listed. Still figuring this blog business out myself.)

After packing, Bhutan

If you have found yourself on this page, you are probably one of my loved ones who wishes to keep track of me while I am in Bhutan. If you have just wandered in, I am moving to Bhutan in a few months to work as a landscape architect for the government. That’s the short story, and I intend to document the longer one here. I imagine the blog will be pretty quiet as all the gazillions of things I have to do to get ready are happening, and until I figure out internet access there.  While you are waiting, sign yourself up for email notifications off to the right of this, and when I post something you will be notified by email.