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Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said "I Do," and Found Bliss Paperback – April 1, 2011
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“As engaging and magical as Bhutan itself, written with heart and insight, Married to Bhutan is a wonderful memoir and a great journey.”
— Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Theif
“Married to Bhutan is wonderfully wise and endearing, much like the Himalayan kingdom that is its subject. Leaming’s graceful, witty prose captures the magic of Bhutan, a place where happiness is more than just a nice idea. It is a way of life. “
— Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss
“After reading this book, I wanted to marry Bhutan—and Linda Leaming. I was inspired by Linda’s open-hearted embrace of such a completely different culture and way of life, take lack of plumbing as just one small example. In the end, her book is about openness and love and how they are expressed in the caring actions of ordinary Bhutanese people. Linda shows us the beauty of Bhutan and expresses a tenderness toward her earthly in-laws that inspires me to open my own heart more and helps me realize that we are all bigger and more capable of love and adventure than we can imagine. “
— Cyndi Lee, Founder, OM yoga
“Paradise exists and you can find it within the pages of this book, which provides a delightful and charming trek through the happiest, most beautiful, and most serene place on earth, Bhutan. A must-read for all those who know that the best journey¹s take place in multiple dimensions simultaneously.”
—Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret
About the Author
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Author Linda Leaming first visited Bhutan in 1994 as part of a trip that included many other countries. Bhutan's stunning landscapes, friendly people and sometimes difficult but overall relaxed lifestyle won her heart, so in 1997 Leaming left her job, family and friends to work as a volunteer English instructor at a small art school. It was there that she met her future husband, a Bhutanese thanka painter.
Reading Married to Bhutan is a mini-escape in itself, and it's both funny and informative. Leaming spends eight pages illustrating the leisurely manner in which things get done in Bhutan by describing how she went about purchasing handmade envelopes, Indian glue and sealing wax so she could mail a few letters. This involved many stops and much post-transaction drinking of tea with the shopkeepers. The mission ends at the post office where she could select from stamps so beautiful and unusual they are collected by people around the world. Leaming reports that the Bhutenese have printed stamps with reproductions of Japanese and European paintings, 3D stamps of the lunar landing, and stamps with Gandhi, American astronauts, Princess Diana, dragons, flowers, Buddhas, yaks and birds.
Linda Leaming honestly and compassionately builds a beautiful bridge to another culture. She relates her experiences in a self-deprecating, often funny, way, and yet always holds a sensitivity for her surroundings. Her curiosity and reverence are contagious. I normally finish books very quickly, but I made myself read slowly, in my own nod to the pace of Bhutan.
I also loved her observations about Western culture. She gracefully avoids the easy temptation of making Western life intrinsically bad and her new life in the East automatically good. Instead, her different circumstances bring perspective to her prior life. At one point she embraces her new connection to nature by stating, "To truly see something, we don't need to rely on senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing. For clear perception, we need to rely more on natural, not reasoned, impulses."
I encourage you to pick up Married to Bhutan. It is an insightful celebration of life, love and travel. Like me, you may find yourself swept away by this quietly magical book.