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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are You Happy Here?

This picture says happiness:  Little Jimmy, A Pink Bear and Snow Fall
“Are you happy here?”  Is the number one question that I am asked on a daily basis in Bumthang, Bhutan along with “How do you find it here?  Do you like it here?  Are you adjusting here?”  From the store clerk to ALL my students and coworkers, I am not exaggerating when I say that almost every single Bhutanese person I have met has asked me one of these questions.  And if the stray dogs, rats and cows could talk, I would bet a million dollars that they would be asking me, “Are you happy here, moooo.” 

I was feeling extra happy this day!
At first I thought, Thank goodness I am really overjoyed to be here so I wouldn’t have to lie to everyone and pretend to be all jolly.  This is so strange, why does everyone keep asking me this over and over again?  Then I realized that the main reason why Bhutanese people are asking me these questions is because they are extremely thoughtful and concerned for the well fare of others.  It goes hand in hand with their Buddhist nature as well as the country's Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy.  In fact, it’s perfectly normal for the same person to continuously ask me if I am happy here about three times a week just to make sure that nothing has come up and destroyed my bliss.  I have grown to look forward to these daily questions and every time they ask me if I am happy here, my face turns into a chipmunk as an enormous smile inflates my cheeks. 

Coming home
These questions never get old for me because I see it as an opportunity to remind myself over and over again that “Yes, I am very content here!”  I also like when they ask me such questions because sometimes I will share my personal story about how I came to be so cherry in Bhutan.  I tell them about my two wise spiritual teachers in California who taught me about energy medicine, meditation, intuition and a lot about living a fulfilled life.  I share that before I came to Bhutan, I was really nervous and scared to leave the only life I had known.  So I asked my spiritual teachers who could talk to their spirit guides to give me some advice about moving to Bhutan.  They each separately reported to me that I have been in this area of the world before and had passed through it in my past lives (I also had a past life in India).  One of my teachers told me that when I arrived in Bhutan, I would feel like I was coming home and that I would be very joyful.  She also knew that I would feel so safe and that eventually I would look back at my fears about coming and laugh.  Although I have so much respect for her, at that time I was feeling so anxious and I wasn’t too sure about her prediction.  Could I really feel like I was coming home to a country that is so vastly different from the only one I ever knew? 

Peering out the window
On clouds in heaven
Scattered Villages
Now I feel bad for doubting her because her prediction turned out to be incredible.  The moment I peered out of the airplane window looking at these gigantic, snow capped mountains encapsulating tiny villages scattered throughout endless forestry, I knew that everything was going to be ok for me and that she was correct.  Gliding into Bhutan on that plane felt like I was on the clouds of heaven looking down on loved ones, remembering a place I treasured.  It turned out that Bhutan is home for me!

In Bumthang I’m often in a state of awe at how I feel like I have always lived here.  I also get goosebumps every time I travel along the mountains because I feel like I have done it a million times.  Since I left America, there has been a major change in how I live, and everyone including myself is surprised at how quickly and easily I have adjusted.  I think that I have adjusted so gracefully because everything seems familiar to me including the language, food, festivals, faces, school life, etc.  It seems like ever since my feet touched the ground in Bhutan, my soul has been singing a “welcome home” song.  Therefore, I now believe my spiritual teachers foretelling, which all of them have came true including the one about getting a new family of friends (Madam Sonam, little Jimmy, Dawa, Norbu the monk...).  

I want to be a Bhutanese Monk like my friend Norbu
As a result of being so darn happy in Bhutan, I believe that I have definitely been here before.  I don’t know if this specifically means that I was a Bhutanese in one of my past lives, but I do know for sure that I want to come back as a Bhutanese monk in my next life!  Then as a “real” Bhutanese person, I will get the chance to ask some chilip (means foreigner in Dzongkha), “Are you happy here?”

(If anyone is skeptical about past lives like I once was, I recommend reading, Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss [Oprah dedicated a show about it], which may broaden your perspective on the topic)

These places all seem so familiar to me


  1. Hello Sabrina, I sent you a message on FB but for some reason it didn't show. I will try to send it agan.

  2. Hi Sabrina, Sonia Dad & I read your blog We are happy to see that you are happy. It is a beautiful country
    That is so sweet of your new friends to ask if you are happy they must be concerned and care about how you are adjusting. Sonia and I are listening to some good oldies motown on her computer we miss you much love you.until your next blog bye for now.

  3. Pretty tight!! How do they perceive Americans over there?

  4. I'm not too sure, but they sure do like this American lol. Overall, people are really nice here so I think they have positive perceptions of others in general. Most of the Americans that travel here are on the wealthy side since you have to pay about $250 a day to the royal government just to be in the country, so they might perceive them as rich. Also if Americans come this far they are usually very interested in their country and happy to be here, so I think that they perceive them as kind. It will differ from village to village because some villages get more American tourist than others.

  5. I know! I don't have anytime to write or do anything... work work work:-(

  6. Good morning how are you?
    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.
    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.
    For all this I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Bhutan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Bhutan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:
    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)
    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.
    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

    1. It took me awhile to get the stamps and to reach the post office, but I mailed them off today. It should take several weeks to reach you. Hopefully the stamps make it into your hands and are a nice addition to your collection. Tashi Delek!

  7. When Im reading I smile to my self sometimes laugh out loud!You can be so funny at times.The pictures are beautiful the people are amazing I know you are happy I seen it the first day.The big smile on your face no doubt about it.You have your angels with you.Just enjoy every minute!Love you!

    1. Awe Tia, that was such a nice comment. I'm glad that I can make you smile and laugh even when I'm half way around the world. I love you! You are one of my angels!

  8. I am filled with joy when I read your blogs. They inpire me. How is your meditation going?

    1. Awe then I will keep posting for you:-). I'm super busy working 6 days a week and when I'm not working I'm attending pujas (ceremonies), baby showers, and all kinds of fun things. So I'm not meditationing as dedicatedly as I once was. Drop your email off to my mom's place and we share pictures. I want to see the baby! I can't wait to see what he looks like.

    2. Ok Great! We have so much to catch up on xoxo