Biography of Britta Das
Perhaps this should be the page where you could find out about me, Britta, the physiotherapist who went to Bhutan. Then again, if you read the book, you will have gotten to know me better than any webpage could ever describe.
For those just browsing the site, here are my condensed life facts:
I was born in Germany in 1971 and lived in Wiesbaden until the age of nine. We then moved to Switzerland for five years before immigrating to Canada in 1985. I completed high school near our home north of Toronto, convinced that I would become a veterinarian. A couple of intriguing courses in human biology changed my mind, and after two years at the University of Guelph and another three at the University of Western Ontario, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy.
My professional life started at a sports clinic at York University - until a five week trip with my Dad to India, Nepal and Bhutan gave me the travel bug. I applied for a working holiday visa to Australia, worked in Tasmania for three months, and then backpacked through Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
This brings us to 1997 - the year I joined VSO and worked in Bhutan.
Why I wrote the book
In the spring of 1998, my unexpected and abrupt departure from Bhutan saddened me deeply. Although Bikul came to Canada with me, I was in no way ready to say goodbye to the mountain kingdom.
For many months, while we tried to readjust to life in Canada, my mind stayed behind in Bhutan, reliving the months, wondering where I had gone wrong, wishing that we could go back. Yet, the illusive diagnosis of my illness kept us in the West.
So I began to write about my adventures, first in little paragraphs accompanying my pictures and then, as the words began to flow, connecting it into chapters. My original manuscript must have been twice as long, with many more friends and patients mentioned, but as the editorial pen took over, I had to focus and condense the pages.
In the end, I hope that I was able to share some of my impressions of Bhutan with the reader, to give a glimpse of this extraordinary world.
To the people of Bhutan, I ask for your forgiveness for any errors or misinterpretations that may have sneaked into the book. It was my intention to be wholly truthful to my memories, only changing names and identities where I felt it was absolutely necessary to preserve privacy.
The Bhutanese people showed me a way of life that I would have only dreamed of before, and as I am writing these lines, I cannot help but wish that we were still in Bhutan, with our minakpa friends and patients.
And if you were to ask me now what experience has changed my life the most, I would think that it was a fascinating, turbulent, eye-opening, charming, adventurous year in the kingdom of Bhutan.