Life Changed - Ellie
Monday is best described as an emotional rollercoaster. It was our last day teaching in our village schools. Words cannot accurately describe many of the feelings from that day. My heart has never been so full of joy and love accompanied with heartbreak. Saying goodbye to these children is by far the most difficult thing I have ever had to do -- the last thing that I wanted to do was leave them and our school. They have made more of an impact on me than I even comprehend at this time. Each one of them holds a special place in my heart and has opened my eyes to so many new things and perspectives. I know that each of those children have a bright future full of potential. I love them with all my heart.
One of the most touching parts of this day was watching the kids become emotional as we prepared to leave them. The tears and the cries and the wails from me, my fellow team members, our students, and even the headmaster and teacher have left an impact on me unlike any other. The love that I felt by all those I was surrounded with was beyond incredible. I have never felt anything like it. In a weeks time, I was privileged to share some of the strongest bonds I have ever made, with the most remarkable people. I have learned from all of them that it is okay to open up to people and allow them to help you carry your sadness, burdens, fears, and anxieties. As we walked away from our school for the last time, I was joined hand in hand by Arun and Shika -- my heart continued to break as I bawled and heard their sniffles and watched tears roll down their cheeks. Those kids are the most genuine and loving people I have ever met, and I feel honored to have been able to share the time with them that I did. I hope that I am able to love as freely and genuinely as they demonstrated towards me. They are beacons of light in a dark and stormy world. Pulling away from them in the car pulled all of my ugly cries out. I don't know how else to describe the intense emotions of love and devastation but it was all there mixed together. Throughout the week, I increasingly realized how incredibly blessed I was to be placed on the team that I was -- with my leader, Jaime, and my fellow team members, Katherine, Payton, Marcus, Hannah, and Mary. They excelled each and every day beyond the expectation when it came to their lessons and just loving the kids. I am so impressed with each of them and feel honored to have been able to experience it all with them. I would like to take a moment and thank Jaime, Katherine, Payton, Marcus, Hannah, and Mary for all of their hard work and dedication as well as their support for me throughout the week. They demonstrated countless acts of selflessness and love as they helped me through the last day especially; I am thankful for the many hugs I received from all of them. You are all truly amazing and I sincerely hope you all know that. Thank you to all for changing my life in ways you may not even realize -- I am going home a changed and better person.
The last couple of days we have been in Shimla going through the markets and exploring a bit. India is such a beautiful and humble place and I feel so lucky for the time I am able to spend here. There are many kind and wonderful people here as well as gorgeous scenery and temples. We had the opportunity early this morning to hike up to the Monkey Temple -- my goodness it was so cool. The hike was definitely a hike, basically straight up, but absolutely worth it. It was beautiful looking out from the top and going inside and around the grounds. Monkeys were everywhere around us, literally feet away. It was a little intimidating at times having them so close as we were told that they could be mean and aggressive. One of our sweet translators had a monkey jump on her shoulder and take her glasses. Luckily one of the priests at the temple was able to trade with the monkey some food for the glasses and she got them back. It was fun hiking up with our group and getting to know everyone better. I love our expedition team and all of our leaders and I am so grateful for everything that they all do. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have had to be here and experience everything that I have. I would not trade anything from these past two weeks for anything in the world. I truly have experienced the most happiness I have ever felt here and I hope to be able to take that home with me and continue to share it with those around me.