Amy Nielsen- Experience of a Lifetime

Okay, I think that I have found my favorite little girl. Her name is Suma. She is six years old. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. She has these adorable cheeks and beautiful eyes that just trap you with one look. I feel like this description doesn’t do a justice. She is terribly shy. The first two days she wouldn’t even smile for me. With some kids like that I would just move on and try playing with someone else. But I can’t explain it, the first time I saw her I just knew that she meant something more to me.  So I kept playing with her more and more. Finally on the third day in the Ashram I got her to smile for me. It is an absolutely stunning smile that is so infectious. All these kids are like that. You can’t possibly be in a bad mood when you are with them.  Now, Suma dances with me, plays “patty cake” games, and smiles in all the pictures for me. The “patty cake” games are all in Hindee so I’m not sure what she is saying but she is always smiling so big while doing it so I just go along with it.  I have some pictures of her but its hard to get one alone of either just her, or one of me and her. As soon as you pull out a camera they all swarm over to you. They all start grabbing and want to take it or they say “camera, camera” and expect you to just keep snapping pictures of them. 3



Yesterday our kids were being very crazy. They were so distracted and didn’t want to pay attention to our lessons. But then when you go to the Ashram it is always better because you just get to play with them. I love to just run around and spin the kids. They love that. They also absolutely love to paint your nails. When bringing the nail polish I definitely thought that I would be the one to do the painting. No it’s the other way around. I got my nails painted 6 times yesterday. The final product is very colorful and messy. Its just so hard to say no to those sweet little faces. So I don’t.

Yesterday, one of the older girls in our Ashram did some henna on my hand. It is so beautiful and intricate, plus it only took like five minutes.

Leaving yesterday was hard because we have two days off from the kids. I just miss them so much. All I wanted to do was play with them. Each day I see them it gets better and better but also harder and harder because I know that it is one day closer to my last day. I wish I could stay with these kids forever and watch them grow up. Also it would be great to play with them everyday. I love these kids so much.

Now, the main event of today, the cultural exchange. It was absolutely such an amazing experience. I will never be able to write out all the details so I will just do a recap.  We get to the high school and there are over 400 students standing in two lines greeting us as we entered. They are all in these beautiful clothes with tons of jewelry on. A huge tent was at the front of what was like a concrete stage, that’s where we sat with our special guest.  The District Commissioner of Chamba came and watched us dance and sing. Then we did our exchange they would dance, then us. They would sing, then us. There dances were absolutely amazing and there costumes were to die for. It was just so amazing to see everyone that came to watch us. It was as if we were celebrities after. Every one of the kids wanted to take pictures with us, even some of the older people. I definitely signed some peoples money. That was weird, but they asked me. It was just a swarm of people wanting pictures, asking questions, and just staring at you. It was hectic but so fun. I am so glad to have been a part of this. It was such a crazy and out of this world experience!

Last thing, I just want to let my Mom know that I love her so much and I miss her! And thank you Mom for helping me get to India, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me! I love you!