A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

I am lucky enough to teach at the Sahu school. Our school has the second most kids, and we are in the poorest region. We had the opportunity to go to all of the schools on Saturday, and although they may have been the craziest, it was easy to see that our kids were the most loving. This was when I had the opportunity to show off the long-bragged-about Naveen, aka Charlie Brown. I gave him this nickname on our first day because of the little yellow and black sweater that he was wearing. He is the youngest in our school and he may be the youngest of any of the kids. His mom is the school cook, and even though the younger kids are usually bullied, he is everyone's favorite. His little ears stick out so far that if he was falling from a plane, he could probably glide to safety. His voice is adorable, and I'm not sure what it is about the language, but that makes it about one gazillion times cuter. He's always wearing these sweaters that make me want to curl up with him and take a nap (family, you know what I'm talking about). He reminds me of my cousin Ian: shy at first, sweet soul, wants to do his own thing, and facial expressions that suggest he can't believe he has this old of a brain stuck in this young of a body. It took a lot of hard work and attention, but now whenever we show up to the school, he runs up to me and grabs a finger or two, and I'm basically with him the whole time. The kids call the guys "Baya," which means brother, and when he loses his patience with me (usually trying to get my camera), Naveen sort of growls it then yells the second syllable (baYA!). It's basically the cutest thing I've ever heard. He has a firecracker older brother named Vivek in the second class, who's smarter than most of the kids in the fifth class. I decided I'm going to take the two of them home, which may be hard for their mom (who loves them almost as much as I do), but I'm sure something can be worked out. Of course, the other kids are fantastic, and I love all of them, but there is a special kind of love I have for Naveen that I haven't had for anyone else before, and I probably won't again. Tomorrow is our last day with the kids, and I am dreading it. My family knows that I'm not a cryer, but I've never been put in a situation like this, and I may just break down when I have to say goodbye to him. I'm safe and healthy, and India gets better every day. Family, I love you and am excited to see you, and when I get back, be prepared to set two extra places at the table from now on.

Eli