We’ve been back at home for more than a month now. Our bodies are not confused by what is day and night anymore. Our schedules are changing and we are trying to make sense of our new routines.
As we gather with friends now, I notice and really love seeing each one of us tell our stories. The telling of our own experiences. We tend to remember and retell the same ones (to different friends!) those we enjoy the most or remember most vividly.
For Lucas is the one of teaching to playing baseball to his friends at the school or learning to play cricket himself.
Or that he learned to play the drums. Or the first time he met the monkeys at the school. Or how we had a Ganesha at home or how large the radishes were. Or how the buckets were our shower.
Mark has his stories. His walks down The Fort. His encounters with the fruit and vegetable vendors and how he managed to buy what he needed when he didn’t see it right away with dictionary on hand. And lots of stories about the school and his teaching there.
He’s great at that. He’s so good at telling us stories that it was one of the reasons we all wanted to take this adventure. To have stories to tell ourselves. To have stories to remember. To have stories to share with everyone.
Siena has Mark’s storytelling love. And she’s good at doing that too. She likes to tell about our house in India. About her friends and how much fun it was to have 600 of them. Or doing her perfect peacock call. About her chasing the cows the opposite way, so we can see the school and temple guards chasing the cows the other way in front of our house. Telling about her monkey encounter when she went for a walk with Mark and Lucas. It’s about her learning Hindi words and how she used them to get a reaction from local people, and to help us communicate when we couldn’t even remember what five (panch) or six (che) was in Hindi. Or how much fun it was to walk down the street to the school by themselves to play in the obstacle course, every single day, because after the monsoon, it was sunny and never rained again.
And how we had to walk up hill (“both ways”) to go get our drinking (and cooking) water each day.
I have my own stories too, and I think I’ve been able to share them here in this blog. Thank you for coming to visit us here in this place, and hope you have enjoyed our adventures. There are lots more, with many more pictures I am organizing and they are making me relive all those moments. I love it and I hope you can enjoy them too.
There are some stories that I will keep them for an evening or afternoon with my friends with a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Some that were just a little harder rather than fun. But stories nevertheless.
This trip besides stories, gave us a lot more than that. It gave us more time together as a family, because Mark didn’t have to drive 25 minutes to work each way, each day, instead we walked together to school for 10 minutes to have breakfast together. And we had lunch together and met each other during the school for breaks. Mark had to work on Saturdays, giving us just one-day-weekends, but we got to see him a lot more during the day. We got to walk down The Fort together to buy our fruits and vegetables for dinner. Or walk down to The Mess to get our water.
Our four months in India this fall gave us so much, that it’s hard to put into words. I’m sure it gave us more than I can think of right now. Living in a different country, a completely different country, it’s an incredible experience.
This adventure gave us lots and lots of stories we have been sharing and some we are still processing and understanding and trying to make sense. It gave us time to think of the things we have here at home, and what we had there in Gwalior. It gave us lots of new friends. It gave us an understanding of speaking a new language that we hadn’t heard before (I really wish I could have learned more Hindi, maybe next time!) It gave us the chance to learn the art of mehndi and to see so many different kinds of art we had only seen in books before.
It gave us an incredible amount of topics to talk about throughout our months in India that probably would not have come up on a “regular” day to day conversation. Like talking about different religions, gods and reincarnation and what we each believe in, as a person and for us as a family. We talked about the difference in how people treat animals, and how we all deal with the garbage we make, or how different schools and people are. It gave us the chance to see and touch with our own hands, the Taj Mahal.
It made us talk about our feelings especially in those harder days when we felt alone or lost, in a place where everything was foreign to us, except that we had each other. The four of us were together and were able to help and love each other no matter what or how hard that day was.
This adventure gave us a chance to be grateful for what we have and not to take them for granted.
I could continue this list for a while, since it was four months of experiences. As we talk during our meals now and remember our days there in India, we remember new stories and share new feelings each time. These four months there gave us so many different things that have changed our lives forever, in more ways than I can think of. It is an experience we will never forget and one that is giving us lots of stories to tell and remember, for sure. I feel so lucky to have done this with my family. A beautiful experience.
Do you have any stories to share from your travels?