Lessons Taught and Lessons Learned by Serena Zollinger
So we have been back for about a month and I still get the most unique and amazing feeling whenever I think of those beautiful children (which is every single day). It’s the feeling of pure happiness & sadness & amazement & pride & heartbreak & love & gratefulness and so many other words. I know that I was meant to be in their lives and they were meant to be in mine. Knowing that I will probably never see them again, breaks my heart into a million and one pieces. I created memories that will last forever, we made our own little family that is fun and silly and loves one another so deeply and that puts my heart back together. There is something else though, while I was teaching them, they were also teaching me. Those beautiful souls helped me to realize the things that are actually so so important. They taught me to love unconditionally and that love, took place instantly. They helped me to realize that there is so much more to life than what others think of you. There are so many beautiful cultures and people in this world that we don't appreciate and I am so very lucky to have been able experience and appreciate what was all around us.
Coming back was so difficult. I mean, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t know it would be that hard. The people who I really wanted to tell about India, did not care. And when I say that they didn't care, I mean that they really did NOT want to hear about it. It really sucked to come back as my ‘India self’ and be so happy and content with my life and have everyone else be the exact same. I mean come on! I just had the best experience of my life and you are all acting the same . . . . but that is probably because nothing happened to you. You stayed in Utah and went to school and had drama and went on with your lives. I wanted everyone to feel like I did. It was even harder when people genuinely wanted to know about India but no matter how many times I tried, the words never seemed to express how I truly felt and that was (and still is) extremely frustrating . When talking about the harder parts of India (like squatters and the traveling) most people are put off. The initial reaction is to say that it must have sucked and they were so sorry about those parts, but honestly, looking back, that wasn’t so bad. I mean yeah, being on a plane for 17 hours wasn't the best part and neither was peeing in a hole in the ground, but it wasn't the worst thing to happen. The squatters for some reason really made me realize how simple life can actually be, if you let it. I miss the simplicity of my days so much. I miss not caring what I looked like or how tangly my hair was (which got so bad at one point, Hilary ordered me to go comb my hair). I miss staying up way too late talking or watching the Lego movie. I miss sitting on the balcony and just looking at the mountains and feeling the most calm I have ever felt. I miss walking up the school and hearing my babies say “Good Morning Ma’am”. I miss hugging them goodbye, and I wish I would have held on a little bit longer.
There are so many things I miss, but I don’t want to make my experience seem sad, because it was not. It was happy and full of laughs and smiles. I will forever remember playing with the kids and walking through the Temples and the fun that I had with my team. India was the best experience of my life and I will never ever forget it.
I could probably go on for 2 more pages, but I’ll spare you, and end by saying, Namaste.