Thankful Thanksgiving: Kimberlee Rawlings

The people here are amazing. Everywhere we go, everyone stops and looks at us like we are movie stars walking down the red carpet. Everyone waves, and never fails to shoot a smile your way. In my village, we teach on the rooftop of the schoolhouse. Little boys from the village who aren’t enrolled in school come and sit in the trees and watch us all day long. Yesterday, they threw flowers up to me and yelled, “For you, Kimee!” Where they even got those flowers, and how they knew my name, I’ll never know hahaha

            The kids in my school have stolen my heart. They will start a world war over who gets to hold your hand. I have never been around humans so pleased and happy about my presence. If you were to have told me a year ago that I would be teaching a group of kids, who only speak Hindi, English classes, I would’ve told you that it was impossible. But the language barrier here is the last thing that gets in the way. The love I have developed for these kids, and the love they have shown me these past few days doesn’t rely on verbal conversation, whatsoever. We don’t need words to know how much we love and appreciate each other. Somehow speaking entirely different languages in no way effects their ability to learn. Every day after school, we walk down this path for about ten minutes in order to get to our car. The kids will battle over who gets to hold your hand and walk you all the way out. If they lose this battle, they will somehow find a different way to latch onto you. I have never developed such strong relationships so fast with anyone as I have with these kids.

            My favorite, Sheetal, is five years old. I have never looked down and had her not squeezing my hand. Everyday she waits for me to get ready to leave, and she helps me clean up my supplies. Yesterday, when I leaned down to give her a hug, I was surprised by a kiss on the cheek. Today, she grabbed my hand and said, “Friendship, Kimee. I love you.” I wish I could know more about her, but I don’t need to to know that I will never forget about her. Being able to take her home would be better than any souvenir I could ever buy.

            My experience here in India hasn’t given me brand new things to be grateful for, but it has more like revealed to me all the things I am so thankful for that before went unnoticed. I am grateful for my amazing home, where I don’t fear spiders, scorpions, or lizards eating me during my sleep. I am grateful for food so tasty my mouth waters hahaha If you wanna lose a lot of weight go to India because it causes you to lose all appetite. Those of you who know me would never believe this, but I literally haven’t had a single craving the whole time I have been here. Nothing ever sounds good, so I just eat my rice and call it good. Mom and Dad: I miss you guys so much. I want you to know how grateful I am for you two. You are the most loving and supportive parents I could ever ask for, and I am so lucky. I am thinking about you this Thanksgiving and always. Jamee, Rachel, and Hannah: Thank you so much for being such good role models to me all of growing up, I miss you three so much. Jeffrey and Markus: I am so thankful to have you two as my brothers to always look out for me, and I miss you. I love you all so much family, and am thinking about you. I am sure going to miss Grandma Kaye’s Thanksgiving dinner. Terry: I am so grateful for you. You are my best friend. I haven’t noticed many popcorn cottages here in case you were wondering ;) hahaha I am thinking about you always, and I miss you so much. All the kids in my school point to you in my pictures and say “Hubby!” hahaha no kids. ;) Happy Thanksgiving friends and family, I love you all. 

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