“Hello! Can I practice my English with you?” she asked. I heard this high-pitched voice from across the street and when I turned around, all I saw was a small wooden shack that served as a mini grocery store in this tiny town in Bhutan. “Over here!” she waved. Her beautiful big smile greeted me and she introduced herself as Sonam, a Bhutan-born Nepalese girl whose family ran the store.
That afternoon, I met her two sisters and we chatted about boys, American movies and funny stories about their teachers. I think kids are the same all over the world.
During a drive to a nearby monastery outside of Punakha, I met this wonderful Bhutanese family who shared that they’ve never had a family picture taken of them. I took a few shots and then I mailed them copies when I returned to the U.S. The funny part was that they insisted I had to be in every picture! “You are now part of the family,” the patriarch said to me. They were so kind and hospitable, inviting me to tea and biscuits afterwards.
My driver knew a handful of English phrases including “Hello,” and “It’s time to go,” and “You may eat that.” Although his English was limited, he was always so gracious during the 12 days I was in Bhutan, and we learned to communicate by reading each other’s facial expressions and using a lot of sign language.
I loved the kids I met along the way! One time, I walked in the middle of a field to see the town stupa. Suddenly, around seven children showed up out of nowhere and we had a blast taking photos and singing songs.
I enjoyed visiting the temples in Bhutan mostly because of the people-watching.