Don’t Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened By Ashley Clinger

Howdy brethren! I’m absolutely loving it here and I am so in love with everything around me. The amount of cows is CRAZY! But the important part is the kids. Listening to those little voices say “Good morning ma’am” and having them touch my feet is a one of a kind feeling. They make everything that is hard so worth it. These past few days have been life changing to me and very educational in many ways. On the 31st I got super sick and didn’t feel good at all. I literally thought my body was going to explode (not really but kind of).  My stomach was going crazy but with the help of some medicine and amazing friends and adults, I was able to feel better to perform our songs and dance for my kids in my school. There laughs and smiles are so rewarding to me and can distract me from nearly anything. Then I got really sick again when we headed to the last school we visited and then when we got back to the hotel, get this… I fell asleep for 16 hours! I don’t know how it happened but I was OUT. I was truly impressed. But waking up the next morning feeling like a new person was so lovely. I haven’t gotten homesick really but this experience has made me realize how blessed I am to have an accessible shower, a loving family and food ready for me to eat when I need it. Today especially was very hard for me. We said goodbye to our kids and I can honestly say it changed my life. It sounds weird but its true. I didn’t realize how much I loved these little punks until it was time to say goodbye.  I truly learned the meaning of unconditional love and pure joy when I looked into those kids eyes as I said goodbye. It was so hard to look at these kids for the last time and just have to accept the fact that this is the last time you will see them. But the experiences I had at my school, and the kids I grew to love, all made saying goodbye that much harder but the again that much more worth it. I cant say that they will remember me the way I will remember them, but I can without a doubt say that they hold my heart forever. I am so lucky to be apart of this team of people who are not only some of the funniest people I’ve met, but they also are so accepting and loving to everyone. Although my time at the school ended with lots of tears, goodbyes, dry eyes and a headache, the times I had with them when they would teach me Hindi words and laugh at me when I would say them wrong, having them punch or slap me, or kissing me saying “I lub you” make the hard goodbye so much easier. Love you all so much and will see you shortly! XO- ash

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