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All images copyright to Kimberlee Adolph

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating the New Year

February 14, 2010 marked the turning of the Chinese calendar and dropped us into the Iron Year of the Tiger. Just about every store was locked up and the merchants were away celebrating with their families. I had been lucky enough to earn an invitation to a family picnic with one of the rangers, Rinzin. His wife, their 2 sons, another family of friends, and DS Rai and his wife were all gathering in the park to celebrate. We totaled about 15 people and enjoyed the sunshine and company.

I was surprised at DS Rai as his fun-loving side came out and the serious boss he is at the office faded away. We sat around the blanket snacking on Bhutanese crackers and rice fried chips underneath the shade of Blue Pine trees. He was full of stories from his recent trip to America and was anxious to trade notes with me. He absolutely fell in love with San Francisco! Most of the adults drank ara or beer, but I was still feeling the effects of the previous night on the town and was content with water or tea. The kids were off playing games and wandering through the forest. Strange how some things between the two cultures can be so similar.

DS Rai introduced some games he learned at the leadership conference and everyone was laughing and playing. We settled down again for lunch around 2:00 and little girls were again dancing for our entertainment. It was an unexpectedly calm and relaxing day… very much what I needed. The sun was even shining enough for me to get the beginnings of a sunburn! How warm it seemed when it couldn’t have even been above 60 degrees.

The sun drifted behind the mountains and a brisk wind picked up signaling our time to go. I have become much less nervous and self-conscious since being here, so when DS Rai asked me to supply the closing song for the picnic, it took no prodding for me to jump up. So for the second time, I arranged a circle of Bhutanese and taught them the hokey-pokey. I couldn’t help the smile that crept across my face on the ride home…

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