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Posts from the ‘Bhutan’ Category

A memorable dinner in Paro, 2005

 A memorable dinner in Paro, 2005

I love this photo and I’m so glad we had it taken as a memento of a wonderful dinner in Paro. A few years ago now but the memory is strong.


In 2011 I visited Bhutan for a volunteer literacy residency supported by the Australia Council. This residency followed on from my first visit to Bhutan in 2005 as an Asialink Literature Resident. I love Bhutan; always will. In this photo I’m with a group of friendly school teachers from the Mongar region and I’m doing my best to blend in by wearing the national costume – the Kira!

“Jane Eyre” and “Travellers and Magicians”

The other night we watched three episodes of the BBC Jane Eyre miniseries. We only meant to watch one but at the end of the first episode we’d just press play again and before we knew it, it was midnight and we’d finished the first DVD. I showed motherly discipline in saying it was bedtime, (midnight?) it was only then that I realised that E1 had fallen asleep on the couch. She’d been to a sleepover the night before and was exhausted.

At one point I commented that the show was really slow-paced but still completely engrossing and E2 said, “You just want to hang onto it.” E2 is 13 and hasn’t read the book. E1 is 15 and has read half and is now inspired to finish the rest. So, it can’t just be love of the book that makes you love the film because E1 and E2 both loved the film and they haven’t read the book. The only conclusion is that there must be something in the story. Something in the story makes you want to hang on. We sat there, three wide-eyed girls (well two, because one, despite her best efforts, had fallen asleep) and hung on every word as though these fictional characters are telling us something about our lives, which they were.

I was pleased to meet Jane again. She reminded me that you can be happy with what you have in life even if it’s very little. She had no friends, no family, no money. Really what she had at Thornfield was the absence of abusive treatment and cruelty, so given what had come before in her life that was enough for her. But it isn’t a story about deprivation, I don’t reckon. It’s a love story.

My girls tell me that they want “the bitch” in the plot. I resist “the bitch”, but there she was in Blanche. So, some things are constant over time. But if you have “the bitch”, you must have the “good friend” even if she ends up dying.

As things were looking grim for our Jane, E2 asked me if there was a happy ending. She needs to know in advance so she can be ready if the worst happens. I felt the same even though I already knew the ending from the book. I told her there was a happy ending, though not completely happy, especially not for the first Mrs Rochester.

So, there we all were. Staring at the screen wanting to “hang onto it.” This story means something to my girls. They need this story. It’s already a part of me.

Years before, in Bhutan, in Mongar I was visiting a school and I walked into an office to find a group of people sitting around a desk watching “Travellers and Magicians” on someone’s computer. I walked past to collect something and happened to glance at one of the young women watching. In her eyes I saw complete absorption in the story but something else as well that I couldn’t articulate at the time. Now I think she was “hanging onto it”. She was watching her story the way I’d watched mine.

There was a love story in “Travellers and Magicians” as well.

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