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Friday, July 20, 2012


I recently got back from my two-week midyear break.  During the break I explored eastern Bhutan and spent hours/days in buses, taxis and cars traveling to one place to the next.  The drives ranged anywhere from two hours to fourteen hours winding up and down the edges of the majestic Himalayan Mountains.  During those long hours I would stare out the window soaking in the lushish greenery while reflecting upon my first half of the year teaching in Bhutan.  I would get completely lost in swirling thoughts that seemed to travel faster than the moving vehicle I was riding in:  What have I contributed to my school so far?  Am I doing enough?  What do I want to focus on for the second half of the year?

The midyear break was a fat reminder that time is flying by and it shook me up a bit realizing that I am halfway to the end of my teaching contract.  I only have five months left, which feels like no time at all considering how fast the first six months had flown by.  It feels like it was just yesterday when I landed in Bhutan worrying about getting eaten up by bears and worrying about how I would use a squatter toilet.  Now six months later, all I can think about is how will I ever leave my precious students and how can I make more of an impact at my school as well as in my students lives. 

I also have been thinking a lot about what my new friend, Pema, wrote to me in one of my blog entries:  “Our life is very short and everything is impermanent…just feel that you are walking on the planet to shower the goodness of you to others.  You will be remembered by the number of lives you have touched upon in Bhutan and beyond.  Leave behind your footprints on the sands of time…”  Thinking about his words, I ask myself what footprints I am leaving behind in the sand and how many lives I am touching in Bhutan? I lie awake at night pondering about how my students will remember me?  Will they say that I am a good teacher?  Will they say that I am kind?  Am I making a difference in their lives?  I love them all and I wonder if they can feel how much I adore them.  I think about how I can shower them with more kindness during the remaining months that we have left together. 

Recycling at School
I am bothered by the want to contribute so much more, but only having several more months to do so.  The list of my goals constantly replays in my head: I need to find a way to get more books for the school library, I need to get the school more serious about recycling, I need to conduct a professional development writers workshop, I need to smile more, I need to tutor some of my students… I need to do this, I need to do that, I need… I need… I NEED MORE TIME!  I also know that I NEED to be more compassionate with myself and enjoy every moment that I have left in Bhutan. 

After I drive myself crazy worrying about all the things I want to make happen and whether or not I’m doing enough, my mind gently brings me back to the two sweetest letters that two of my class five students wrote to me right before break.  The letters are very precious to my heart and they never fail to choke me up a bit.  As those letters pop into my head, it’s almost like someone from above is reminding me that I am being too hard on myself at times and that maybe I am leaving my footprints in the sands of time.

The two  cutest letters:
Pema Choki - My Class Five Captain

Dear Miss Sabrina,

How are you? I hope you are fine with Madam Sonam.  I am also happy with my mom, dad and family.  I would like to say thank you for being our class teacher.  I will never forget you.  Miss had talent and hard work.  You are the nicest class teacher in the whole school.  Miss you are cute like a barbie.


Pema Choki

P.S.  Will you forget us?

Picnic at my house with my class five girls
Dear Our Miss Sabrina,

How are you?  I hope you are fine and well.  Today I am writing this letter to thank you for your good work in the class.  You are good and kind hearted like our God.  You will do hard work in the class and school when we are not understanding the question you will teach it again.  You are beautiful in a kira or pants and shirts.  I love you because you will not beat us.  In the class you will make a clean class and make new rules.
We sit in a circle and share curries


Your student Dechen Lhamo

P.S.  Do you like our school and students?
They huddle in my house looking at my photo albums


  1. Sabrina very beautiful photos ,Very cute nice letters from your students.Great to see that there is a recycling program going on! Yes time sure goes by fast especially when you want more out of each day and then its gone. Sometimes we forget how precious time can be and may not get that second chance to do or say to someone dear to your heart. So make the most of each day with your students and dear friends.And your family and friends here hold you in their hearts while you are from your mom.....

    1. Thanks mom for the great advice. Tell everyone that I said hello! Love ya all! xoxo

  2. Wonderful update Sabrina.
    You have a Huge heart. I hope you get done with the Workshops whilst you are in Bhutan and take good memories.

  3. Thank You! How's your summer break going?

  4. Hi Sabrina I can see how much your students adore you and how much of an inpack you are leaving behind.They will never forget you.You are special lol. You have done so much in that time and the kind of person you are loving and caring with a good heart believe me you will never be forgotten!Love you see you soon!

  5. Thanks Tia Angie and I can't wait to see you to give you a big hug...

  6. Hi Sabrina,
    Glad to read my own words you have quoted in your wonderful blog entry. It only really inspires me more by your wonderful thoughts than the very little thoughts of my own that may have inspired you a little. You are a great inspiration to your Bhutanese children, friends(me included) and the people around you. Infact, your moving thoughts have far-reaching impacts to many people far and near whose hearts are being deeply touched and inspired by your wonderful flow of thoughts that exude great energy and life.
    Wishing to meet you some day in Bhutan.
    Pema(male) not girl--LOL...

  7. Once again you words are so touching and uplifting. I wrote about your advice because it really had an impact on me and it makes one think about the importance of life. So thank you for inspirational words! I hope to meet you too!

    P.S. I changed my error of "her" to "him" LOL So sorry! Haha:-)

  8. It sounds like you've already made a pretty good impression on those kids. They'll be better for as you'll be.