After four months in Gwalior, India (in the state of Madhya Pradesh) we leave today and go back home. About 7,339 miles apart, two flights away, about 23 hours of travel. It’s all it takes.
With mixed feelings we’ve been saying our goodbyes for the past few days. It wasn’t an easy experience for us to live in India for the past 4 months or so, but it was certainly beautiful.
We had never traveled for this long as a family, with two young children, and I am very glad we did. It is an experience we will never forget.
We made new friends, and we met so many people. All the students at the school talked to Lucas and Siena at some point of our stay here, and they were always so nice to us. They wanted to hear our stories, see pictures of our home, and hear what we had to say over our days in India, as well as our days in Portland.
With more than 500 people to say goodbye, my heart fills with emotions. So many emotions that is hard to put into words.
We met beautiful teachers, without whom we could not have survived our days in Gwalior. They showed us the ropes on how to live up in The Fort. From where to buy pots and pans, to where to buy vegetables and fruits, and where to buy fabric to have nice, comfortable Indian clothes made. And how to get help in the house, and in our garden. Where to get the newspaper and milk delivered and where to find the monkeys. And how to get a taxi and pizza delivered. All important things that made our days easier and more fun.
We met many other teachers that let us into their classrooms to learn new things, new crafts and skills, all of us. Lucas and Siena felt welcomed by them and will always have fond memories of their mornings spent with them.
There are many stories that make us think we were not going to make it for four months in this new place. But we knew coming into this trip, that it wasn’t going to be easy. Mark and I had been exchange students before, as a teenagers, and we knew of the culture shock graph, and how the emotions direct your days. But what I hadn’t thought, was that all four of us were going to be in this fluctuating graph, at different times of our stay. Which made Mark and I be on our toes and aware of Siena and Lucas’s feelings as well as each others.
Those harder days go by, and they are followed by beautiful days, and other days that probably nothing really happened. But there weren’t many. We always had something to do. Something we had never done before. Like walking down The Fort to go by vegetables in the dozens of carts in the city. Or get a ride in the scooter or motorcycle from the school to the house. Or learn to play a little more of cricket, or how to make paper mud or pay a new rhythm in the drums or the bongo. Learn few words of Hindi, or remember to ride the bike on the other side of the road. See monkeys jumping and peacocks yelling on the walls of The Fort. And to see so many new places I had never imagined I’d see. Each day, we had something new to talk and share. So many somethings that we will never forget.
But it’s the connections with people, that makes your stay invaluable. Those friendships that who knows what happens in the future. I don’t know if we’ll ever see our new friends again. India and Portland, are so far away. But now a days we can probably see each other online, using technology that when I met Mark more than 25 years ago, I wish we would have had.
We met so many beautiful people, kids who taught us so many things. From songs, to dance moves, to games, and about their families, and about India. And we learned also how to be kids here in India.
It is very hard to say goodbye. I can’t remember everyone’s names. Too many for me. I wish I knew them all and I also hope we get to see lots of them some time soon. We will miss them so very much, and I for sure miss their smiles. I will miss hearing their stories, and where they are from, and abut their parents, and answering all their questions about our home in Portland, and seeing them each day with their smiles in their faces and their “Good morning, Marcela Mam“.
It is hard for me to say goodbye. Really hard, to be honest. I said goodbye to Mark as a teenager and young adult, too many times, for someone in love. And though we always met again, it was always hard. And now I don’t have to say goodbye anymore, only good nights.
Today, our day has come. The day to be brave and realize together with Siena and Lucas that all adventures come to an end. No matter what it is, or how it went, we are closing our chapter today. We’ll be ready for the next one I’m sure, or at least I hope we will. But not before a good rest at home for a while. A long while. I am ready to be home, be in what’s known to me. I am ready to see our old friends, and share what we’ve learned and the amazing-ness of it all. But I also want to hear what their four months were like while we were gone, because we missed them too.
So, I guess I must say goodbye now. Hopefully not a goodbye for long. Maybe a we’ll see you soon would be a lot better and I would prefer that. But for sure, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for everything each one of you did. It made our stay and our experience in India what it is. Thank you.
I will continue to write about the travels and our days in India for a while, until I feel I’ve covered our days here. But I’ll write them from home in Oregon. I still want to make sure we remember everything, or at least as much as possible from our days here in India. So it’s not real goodbye from the blog. Maybe this way, it will keep us connected longer. But I also know our new friends in India want to see what our days look like in Portland, so I will share those too, for sure.
As we were closing our days this past week, we were invited to the Junior School’s Party. And I am so glad we could go. It was so much fun, and I felt it was the perfect way to complete our stay in India.
I leave you with this video.
Thank you again for everything. We will certainly miss you all. –marcela