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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Apple Of My Eye In The Kingdom Of Happiness


In the Kingdom of Happiness, there is a little eight-year boy who I spend most of my free time with and who is the apple of my eye.  His name is Jigme, aka Jimmy, and he is the nephew of my best friend, Sonam Choden.  I have often joked that Jimmy might be one of the cutest little boys in Bhutan with his deep dimples and funny smile.  However, I didn’t know that so many others probably had this same thought and that his adorable tiny face was the apple of hundreds of eyes.  

I discovered that Jimmy was “famous” when Sonam and I were shopping in a tourist shop in our village and Sonam jumped in excitement at the sight of a round magnet.  She yelled, “Sabrina, hurry, come here and look at this picture on the magnet.”  I glanced at the picture acknowledging that it was a photo of a cute toddler.  Then she said, “Well, don’t you know who this is?” 
Cute dimples
I stared at it a little longer, “No, I have no idea.  Who is this kid?”  

Then she laughed giving me a hint, “You know this little boy really well.” 

I studied the picture reading the small, white print that read “Kingdom of Happiness” on the top and “Bhutan” on the bottom.  Then it hit me, “Oh my!  Don’t tell me this is a picture of Jimmy.” 

Jimmy's picture selling on a postcard
(he is on the far left)
She answered in a beaming voice, “Yes!  It’s Jimmy when he was about two.  He was dressed in his bright gho outside a festival in Gangtey.  Someone must have thought that he was cute and took a picture of him.  Now this picture has been selling all over Bhutan for several years.  It’s selling on postcards, posters, magnets, etc. and tourists seem to love it.” 
At first, I wasn’t too excited with the idea of some stranger selling pictures of our little Jimmy and a flood of concern came pouring out of me as I demanded to know, “What do you mean someone is selling his picture?  Is that legal in Bhutan?  Did you give them permission? Who is getting rich off Jimmy’s face?  What are we going to do about this?”  
Jimmy's picture on the magnet
However, Sonam was relaxed and she laughed saying that she had no idea who was manufacturing the picture, but since it seemed harmless, she didn’t mind.  Still studying the magnet, it took me a few minutes to calm down as I started to think how darling Jimmy looked in the picture and how so many people probably smiled when they saw the picture of his precious face:  huge dark almond shaped-eyes, small button nose, stringy hair draping his big forehead and big ears on his round face with pudgy cheeks.  
As I continued to marvel over the picture, I could see how some tourists might want to bring that magnet home and stick it on their refrigerator as their happy memory of Bhutan.  In fact, on several occasions I have witnessed tourists passing through our school and at the sight of Jimmy, they whipped out their cameras to take his picture because there is something about him that is so darling.  So in the end, I agreed with Sonam that since the picture looked innocent and harmless, there was no need for concern and we joked that his little baby face did a good job representing Bhutan:  The Kingdom of Happiness. 

The apple of my eye
Thus, Sonam and I couldn’t leave the store without buying our very own magnet of Jimmy’s face (320 nu).  As we paid for the picture, we laughed at how expensive Jimmy was and we joked that we must had a million ngultrum worth of pictures of him.  Furthermore, when we took our magnets home and showed it to Jimmy, he didn’t think anything of it; he wasn’t aware of how cute he was and still is.  However, it makes me smile thinking that his picture may be on refrigerators all over the world from passing travelers who couldn’t resist his adorable Bhutanese face as a souvenir.  
Indeed, now I am one of those foreigners who owns a magnet of Jimmy’s adorable face.  It’s displayed in my room and everyday when I get a glance of it, it never fails to put a smile on my face and to bring me a dose of happiness.  I know that this magnet will be with me wherever I am for as long as I live.  It holds a very loving memory for me of my time spent in the Kingdom of Happiness.  I love my little “apple!”  

My big baby!
Memories in the Kingdom of Happiness

He is so cute!
He is really silly

Good Times

Jimmy's famous picture
Jimmy at two years old (same face as above)


  1. Aw jimmy was such a darling baby and now he is a cute child.I can see from all your pictures that Jimmy has a special place in your heart.You are very good with children.I wish he could someday visit our family and home in the USA it Would be so awesome!Good Bye for now take care love you & take care of the little famouse apple of your eye! Mom

  2. Ya Jimmy and I are buddies. The other day Sonam and I made him about 200 flash cards for sight words and after we practiced a few of them, he turned the tables on me and gave me a lesson in Dzongkha acting like he was a teacher too. He is very active and he keeps me on my toes! We go for walks, runs, and we even do kick boxing together.

  3. "Happiness in Sabrina's heart through the lens of this little cute Jimmy!...While this adorable Jimmy will remain an Apple of your eye as a cute little boy,it is hoped that some day you will proclaim that you have met with another Apple, who is young,handsome Bhutanese guy, who would probably meets your eyes, at best to become your sweetheart,in this reclusive Himalayan Buddhist land".....

    1. Pema you speak so beautifully! That is a nice thought and it brings a huge smile to my face:-). Awe this reclusive Himalayan land is a very romantic place. You never know where love will find you. I have hope!

  4. Aww, Jimmy is looking charming with those two cute dimples. Looks like you are already in love with him ;)
    Have fun and be happy!

    In between, you are looking beautiful with Kira. It matches perfectly with your black hair. Love it.

    1. Thanks again friend! Have fun in Australia and be joyful too. xoxo

  5. Very uplifting! God Bless You! And Jimmy too!

  6. Dang. Pretty trippy that he's the face of a nation.