9 Sept (Sat): Very so cute la!

Saturday morning, James gave a presentation on his use of statistics in his research. He gave the talk in the large lecture hall, which was full of math and computer science students and faculty members: quite a high-profile event, with photos subsequently circulating through the community. (Not that we have seen them.) But it’s a good thing he wore his gho!

Zoë and I went on the walk Namgay showed us earlier. We saw…

In the afternoon, Jeremy and I went to the temple. Some young women asked us to have our photo taken with them before we went in.

Once we got inside, we found Ugyen’s wife and sister and children there, along with Chimi Wangmo from Jeremy’s class. Jeremy was so happy to see them all. But the space was so crowded that prostrations were challenging: one of the younger girls kept standing on my hair, which made it hard for me to stand up again.

When we came out of the temple, we were waiting for the monks to exit before doing the three circumambulations of the temple. I began speaking with a group of high school girls, and when I looked around, Jeremy had vanished. A few minutes later, he appeared around the corner of the monastery, in the midst of a cluster of five monks, all chatting happily. I excused myself and went after them: by the time I found the nerve to take a photo, several of the monks had pulled away to complete other tasks (check the butter lamps, help with washing up):

By my third time around the temple, a young monk with just a few wiry hairs growing out of his chin broke away from Jeremy and came to chat with me. Where were we staying? For how long? How did we feel in Bhutan? How old was Jeremy? Where did we get our clothes? He was clearly a little nervous in talking with me, but so pleased that we were appropriately dressed. In his words, “When you wear our national dress, you look very so—how do you say?—cute la.” (La is a word used extensively here to indicate respect.) So there, y’all. You may think we look funny, but we have it on good monk authority that we are very so cute la!