A Lonely Journey to the US (Part I)

It was 5 AM when I woke to a chilly weather of Zilukha hill, Thimphu, Bhutan on October 7, 2007. I was bound for New Delhi and beyond to the US for studies. My flight from Paro International Airport, the only airport in the kingdom of Bhutan yet, was at 10:00 AM. I could hear Anna (sister) Karma already in the kitchen preparing breakfast and doing the dishes as I tried to ‘wipe’ off my sleep. I stepped off the bed slowly without disrupting Ata Sangay who was slept just next to me. He had come the other day all the way from the border town of Phuntsholing taking a day off to reach me till Paro.

After I took a brief shower, I woke him and let him in to the shower. Anna Karma had already prepared the breakfast of rice, pork curry with several other side dishes.
“Khochung (“Uncle”; she calls me like her daughter would call me as), eat well now. You may not feel well in the plane otherwise,” says my sister handing me a plateful of rice. I could already feel my poor early morning appetite, so I made her reduce the load and settled with the half of it.

Countless thoughts ran into my mind as I sat on the couch waiting for everybody to get ready: how will I travel myself, how does Paro valley look like (I had never been to Paro until that fateful day!), what if I get lost at Delhi Airport, how will I stay with new people…so on and so forth. As I pondered over those thoughts, Ata Sangay had already started journey with my huge black luggage bag on his shoulder, soon Anna Karma and Baby (niece Karma Lhazin Tshering) followed. All three of them were accompanying me till Paro Airport. Finally I pulled my handbag containing travel documents, and shook hands with Khotkin Nima as I bade farewell to him.

Stepping down the staircases from the third floor I felt very cold and sad!

“A lonely journey had just begun,” I thought.

For the last time, I dialed to my girl friend who was then studying in Nima Higher Secondarly School and residing in Langjophakha, a valley overseeing the majestic 17th century fortress known as Tashichhodzong, which houses the throne room of the King of Bhutan, the main secretariat, and summer resident of HH Je Khenpo (the Chief Abbot) and central monastic body.

I listened to the ring tone of my Nokia phone (my first phone, a gift from Ata Sangay for passing class 12 successfully) as it connected to my girl friend’s phone.

After a few rings, she picked up “Hello!”

“Hello Sonam?! I’m leaving…stay well!” I tried controlling my emotion.

“Aii! Safe journey my dear. Please don’t cry!” I didn’t know I was silently crying over the phone until she said not to.

“Yaya (okay), bye!” I hung up the phone seeing my Ata, Anna and Baby already waiting in ‘our car’-a yellow topped and white bodied Maruti Taxi.

...to be cont'd

P.S. I have just started compiling my journals, so please leave your comments and necessary corrections below. Thanks!


  1. Transitions are always scary :)It was really a huge and exciting step you took...Being alone somewhere ,US above all the places is really really scary.I am sure you have done Ok through out( Hope there are no stories of getting caught in excessive partying....ha ha) Looking forward for your next post....:)

  2. Yes indeed, it was both scary and exciting.....at the same time! Please check me back for next part is coming soon.

    Thanks for reading Anu!


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