Friday, July 15, 2011

the last days

This post was written on July 10.

Packing up is always a good time to reminisce. And it also affords a great opportunity to marvel at HOW FAST TIME FLIES.

As I took the paper flowers off of my window frame, I thought, “How is it possible that Graceamma Teacher made these for me in SEPTEMBER?!” And then found myself remembering what a sweet gesture it was, all over again.

I removed the various cards and letters I’ve gotten from friends and family off of my walls, really looking at some of them for the first time in months. The just-because letters, like from Michael Jones; the Christmas cards, like from Lesley Boyd; the thinking-of-you notes, from family and other friends. Cards I’ve received from Buchanan students, including my favorite ever Thanksgiving cards. They all feel like they were received yesterday.

I peeled off various pictures that I had taped up, thinking with a smile that I’ll be seeing some of those people soon. I laughed to myself while looking at the picture of Natalie and I in China holding McDonalds French fry boxes (you can tell by our faces that we are REALLY thrilled to be having some American food in China), remembering the time, ten months ago, when little Vava and several others were in my room and, pointing at the McDonalds’ logo, asked, “Madi chechi, what’s that??” Sorry McDonalds, your brand recognition hasn’t reached Kerala…

I found the notebook that I took notes in during YAV Orientation—how interesting to read some of them in hindsight; to clearly remember writing those words, and yet know how long ago they were written.

…After finding many reasons to smile while packing, I am now sitting in the hostel study hall with a few of the TTC students. They are working hard preparing their ‘teaching manuals’ for their upcoming ‘teaching practice’ at area schools. I’m so proud of them :)

In other news, while I will continue teaching my classes at Buchanan right up until leaving, I taught my last ever 4th grade classes last week, as well as my last ever classes at the boys’ high school…two things that I WON’T miss. Other than the teachers, and some of the students—in their quiet, well-behaved moments, that is. Susan Teacher, the headmistress at one of the Lower Primary schools where I was teaching, gifted me a saree as a going away present, which I’ll be wearing some time this week. I’ve been wearing sarees a lot more frequently, recently—ever since I figured out how to put one on myself, they have been a welcome substitute for the same 7 or 8 churidars that I’ve gotten tired of wearing all year!

You might remember me saying that Jim, Maggie, and I would be leaving our sites on Saturday, July 16. Departure day, however, has now been changed to Friday, the 15th. That morning, Buchanan is having a ‘send off’ for me; that afternoon, at 2pm, I’ll go. It’s going to be a dramatic day.

So, I may or may not post again before leaving Buchanan. Most likely not. Lots to do; places to go, people to see. Last ever bucket laundry :) More and more packing. Cleaning. Etc etc. We’ll arrive to Thomas John Achen’s house on Friday, where we’ll stay til Monday, when our flight leaves for the US. I’ll be arriving to Florida on Tuesday, July 19.

I apologize if I don’t respond to emails/facebook in the upcoming week or so, minus the occasional status update or maybe a blog from Achen’s house. Because I’ve got forever to be home and talk to all of you there, and only a few days left here.

“Today give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -Unknown
Update: Obviously, it took me a while to post this one. Left Buchanan this morning and currently at Thomas John Achen's house. More soon.

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