“Dad was in the hospital & without stable family support, mom took the bold steps to leave her 3 kids in the foster home. We rarely saw her again. My older sister & I were kept together, while my twin sister was at a different home. Dad had our custody & it was not common in those days. He could have put us up for adoption but he didn’t. He came to see us every other weekend. We were well cared for but never felt at home. At the age of 9, dad finally took us home to live with grandparents & him.

At 13, I suffered from kidney failure & was diagnosed with seizure disorder & ADHD as an adult. My twin sister had polio. Dad was a plumber & his money went in our hospital bills. For the working class, girls got married at 17, but my health issues helped me evade it. It was a long tumultuous childhood: From never knowing my mother or getting asked to the prom to being one of those lonely kids in the hallway.

With ADHD, it was hard to study. At 30, I graduated college & till 34, I worked as a cocktail waitress. That’s where I met Al & his wife. I got close with his beautiful wife. She even invited me to visit them in their city. But she passed away. Years later, Al wrote to me, & we met for the first time after her death. I fell in love with him & we got married.

For a girl who didn’t even have a boyfriend in school, it was one true love story. We had 30 beautiful years together. His wisdom & support allowed me to continue studying & explore my spiritual path. After Al’s death, I set on a journey of healing from a lifetime of scars & pain. I went to India first & came to Bhutan for 3 months in 2019. It was an experience like no other. The Buddhist lessons conveyed to me by my guides in the form of their talks & manners made me realise how special the country is.

In this covid, people in Bhutan are suffering & I made this choice, pulling in a large savings to come to Bhutan, hoping this might make a difference. This trip is also in memory of Al. Despite hardship, I think its past karma that I could be here & happy”

On this World Tourism Day, we applaud people like Fran who are going out of their way to show that tourism can play a part in healing the world.

#HumansofThimphu #HumanStories #Thimphu

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