I get excited thinking about seeing all those who have been so important throughout my life like family and friends, and getting the chance to celebrate together during the Christmas season. I also think about the simple things like having a cheeseburger or watching the Discovery channel while being back in the home I grew up in. There is so much joy ahead, but I know it will also be difficult to leave. I'll miss the spicy food, the extra time for leisure, and the sights of this world that are unlike anything. Most of all though I know what will be the hardest to leave and its the people, who I will remember forever. All my new friends, fellow teachers, those workers and cooks who have treated us like royalty, and of course my students, who can be wild but so endearing and loving. I know over the next few months I'll have many emotions and a lot to process, but one thing I must keep reminding myself is to live in the moment and take advantage of every opportunity I have during the next 4 weeks of life in India. One great opportunity will be sharing our American celebration of Thanksgiving with our friends and neighbors. Us five volunteers will make an attempt to create a Turkey Day feast (minus the turkey) as a way to give a simple thanks for everything we have been gifted and to have a chance to share some of our cultural traditions with our Indian family.
Recently things have been busy and full of some fun adventures. To the right is a picture from a water park we got to go with the boys for the Boys' Town Orphanage along with some of our class 11 students. We had an unforgettable time that the boys still talk about a month later and this was all made possible by those who have supported us through www.gofundme.com/boystown Through the extraordinary generosity of so many people we surpassed our goal of $2,500 and are still in the process of finishing some great projects. Boys' Town has affected my life in so many ways and all those who have supported us have made a great impact on the lives of 35 amazing people.
Our volunteer group once again had the great opportunity to travel some more in India at the end of October along with a special guest, my sister Amanda! It was hard to believe that I was seeing her for the first time in 10 months coming out of the airport as I was buying a Sprite for her welcoming present. Bringing her to school for a week and sharing a little of my life here was truly something I'll never forget. Then we traveled to some great sites including the holy Ganges River at Varanasi, the Taj Mahal, and four majestic cities in the desert state of Rajasthan. The Taj Mahal was truly the greatest man-made thing I have every seen and was really a privilege being in such an enchanting place. Other highlights included tours of some amazing palaces (like the one to the left in Jaipur), a camel trek and night sleeping under the stars on the desert floor, and zip-lining through an ancient fort. There's no questions that traveling through this diverse country teeming with history makes me realize how lucky I've been along with a desire for some more great traveling in the future.
This could be my last blog while in India since I know my spear time will be limited over the next month, but I'll be sure to end with some final post/reflection about this entire year come December. Right now is really a fascinating and challenging learning experience for me. I;m hoping to stay focused on teaching and enjoying life over the next month, because the reality of the situation is that I leaving many people that I have truly grown to love like family and last few days with them are approaching. Maybe I'll see some again if I return one day, but unfortunately that would probably be a long shot considering how remote this place is plus the fact that a lot people here move sometimes every couple years meaning many of my closest friends won't even be here for long. This thought can be depressing and I'm sure tears will come before I board the plane, but it does actually really inspire me to have a great time and take advantage of everything so that I have no regrets. No matter what happens India and its people will always have a special place in my heart.