Two years ago…

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Two years ago today, we were arriving in a home we would spend 5 months in. In a new place, in a new country with unimaginable adventures and stories ahead of us.  I can still remember that feeling, the thoughts that crossed my mind, when the school bus stopped to drop us off in front of our new home.  Excitement and nervousness to the unknown.

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We were starting our biggest adventure yet, as a family.  We were in India to work and live and learn for 5 months, in a completely new country, where none of us had ever been before.

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Of course, we had read books, heard stories, watched videos, and read about India, in so many ways, throughout our lives.  But we had never had this opportunity before.  And this was perfect for us.  

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We thought it was, so we went ahead and decided to accept this scholarship and Mark become an exchange teacher.

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I remember, as we were applying for this exchange, we were not sure if it was the right time for us to do it.  We all talked about it, and we shared with Lucas and Siena what it would mean to take this adventure.  

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Not an easy decision, for any of us.  We were scared, we were excited, we were nervous, happy but also sad to leave what and who we knew here at home.

Photo by Siena
Photo by Siena

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Five months seemed like a very long time for Lucas, 5 at the moment. Siena was also nervous, about leaving all of her friends for such a long time.  Mark and I shared the same worries, and excitement.  But we kept going back at the idea if this was the right time to take our family to India.  So different from what we knew.  Even having traveled a little with the kids, and having gone to Chile a few times with them before.  Still, this trip was different.  Very different. India was a complete unknown to all of us.

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But as hard as the decision was, we talked through it.  We weighed the pros and cons of going.  Of staying.  We read more stories, watched more videos and looked things online, with the kids.  By ourselves. Together.  Individually.

Our good friends had pictures of their last trip to India, and they shared them with us.  We wanted Siena and Lucas to have an idea of what we were talking about and to help us make the decision with their whole selves, their hearts too. We were all on this together.

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We were going to be there for them, but we knew, as things go when one is not in our comfortable zone, we were also going to be there in the unknown and unexpected, with them.  Living this adventure together.  We needed to have each other’s back.  We knew we’d need to be there when one of us needed each other.  We needed to go on this adventure together, on the same page.  Ready to have this adventure, with open hearts, and open minds.  And we did.

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Before leaving we picked berries, just how we did this year, and every other year, for that matter.  We had gone camping.  

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Mark went to his orientation in Washington, DC before leaving to India, and brought with him, the family we were doing the exchange with.  They stayed with us for few days, and we lived through them, their first days in a new country.

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We tried to help them learn and get adjusted as the first days rolled.  We tried to understand and talk to Lucas and Siena, so they could see what adjusting to something new, so big in one’s life, could be like.  And we tried to help them go through the hardships of settling in to a new place.  We left them settled and ready for their own adventure.

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At the same time, we were beginning ours.

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We were leaving the comfort of our home, all the things we knew.  And we said goodbye to our friend who drove us to the airport that Sunday morning, two years ago.

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We started this adventure together, as a family, that Sunday morning.  With an open mind, our summer clothes, some toys, my knitting, few books, malaria pills, mosquito nets, physics books, and a couple of peanut butter jars, all packed in 5 suitcases, and ready for whatever was planned for us.

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Even as we saw the exchange family live their first days in a new country, we didn’t really understand until it was our turn. To India we went.  

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After so much planning and thinking and getting ready, all of sudden, we were in Delhi.  Oh my.  We then understood how our new friends from India were feeling cold in our Portland summer days of 80 degree weather.  We were overly hot, at 108 degrees and 100% humidity.

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And well, as we learned with the passing of days, not only the weather was different, but everything else too, of course.  Starting with the foods, the homes, the beds, the animals, the colors, the buildings and cars, the driving, the fruits, the time zone, the landscape, the language, the trains and the getting around, the people, the schedule, the talking and the accent, the birds, the snakes, the news, the radio, the walks.

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We were on the other side of the world (really!) and we saw amazing things.  

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We learned so much.  About India, the culture, the country, but also about ourselves.  I’ve written about that lots, especially when we were there.  And we’ve have talked about it among us, a lot too.  We continue to do.

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India comes up in our lives today, still, every single day.  In many different ways, that it amazes us, and we love it as we remember our days there, two years ago.  It keeps our adventure alive still after all this time.  

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Even today, after two years of having left on this adventure, we keep remembering our days in India, and we keep telling stories.  This was one of the main reasons we had decided to apply and accept this exchange, to live in a different culture.  We wanted to learn new things.  We wanted to meet new people.  We wanted to see new things and new places.  We wanted to be in a new place. We wanted to have stories.

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And now as we sit and live our days in the comfort of our home, back in our routines and our lives at home, we miss India.  I miss a lot from our days there.

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I hope we can go back there some day.  We have lots of friends we’d like to see again.  As I look at our pictures, I see how much Siena and Lucas have changed.  I can only imagine how much these friends have changed too.  We hope some day we get to catch up again.  Make new memories, new stories.

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Through a link from a friend, I found this video about India.  If you have 3 minutes, you should watch it.  It will take you there.  A day in India.

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