Descending to the Kingdom of Heaven

Our descent into Bhutan left my mind numb. I recall the airplane dropping in altitude and hugging the deep green valleys, preparing to land on the short runway in Paro. Small houses with a distinct and traditional build were tucked away in the passing foothills, scattered and separated by vibrantly green rice fields. The steady flow of Himalayan hills was suddenly interrupted by an enormous rocky peak… The scene before me was surreal, and I knew at once that it would be impossible for me to properly describe this journey. I now write three days after our arrival, and the foremost thought on my mind is that Bhutan has left me breathless. And I mean that in both the awe-inspiring way, and the high-altitude, no-oxygen, I-can’t-breath way.

I am lucky and grateful to be a part of the second Wheaton College group to live and study in Bhutan for a semester. There are a total of twelve of us: eleven students and a professor. Many of us got quickly familiar with each other through the long and frequently uncomfortable trip from Boston to Bhutan–which ran close to 30 hours. And between roaming the streets of Paro, visiting ancient temples, receiving divinity from a noble nun, stumbling through rice-patties under the brilliant stars, and adopting an abused dog…. we are now all pretty well acquainted.

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