Beyond the Sky and the Earth
A Journey Into BhutanBook - 1999
In 1989, Jamie Zeppa, a naïve, well-educated twenty-three-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, commits to a two-year teaching contract in Bhutan against the wishes of both her fiancé, Robert, and her controlling grandfather. Following orientation here and in Bhutan, Jamie is unceremoniously dropped at a remote Bhutanese village to teach Grade Two. There, she battles fleas, landslides, rats, kerosene stoves, leeches, and illness, and believes she will not survive two weeks, let alone two years. With help from her eight-year-old students, Jamie overcomes her culture shock and fear, makes some friends, and soon begins her love affair with Bhutan. She writes letters home full of wonder and discovery--of the country, of herself, and of Buddhism. As she spends more time in this strange and beautiful country, Jamie finds herself attracted to one of her college students, Tshewang, with whom she eventually has a child and marries. Like Karen Connelly'sTouch the Dragon, Beyond the Sky and the Earthis the compelling story of a Westerner trying to fit in to an alien culture, and trying to bridge cultural and political divides that may be insurmountable. The doors of Paro airport are thrown open to the winds. The little building with its single stripe of tarmac is set in the middle of dun-coloured fields dotted with mounds of manure. The fields are carved into undulating terraces edged with sun-bleached grass; intricate footpaths lead to large houses, white with dark wooden trim. A young girl in an ankle-length orange and yellow dress, two horses, three cows, a crow in a leafless willow tree. An ice-blue river splashing over smooth white stones. A wooden cantilever bridge. Above the bridge, on a promontory, a massive fortress, its thick white walls tapering towards the top, a golden spire flashing on the dark red roof. My bags are lying alone on the tarmac outside, beneath furiously snapping flags. I haul them in. I have arrived.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c1999.
Branch Call Number: 954.98 Zep
Characteristics: 303 pages