Courtney Ingalls

Yes I Promise

So I should have listened more to Rachel and James…. They told me over and over again that I was going to love harder than I have ever loved and fall in love with the girls in a way that I never thought possible. I tend to be kind of a closed off person at first and so I was really afraid that everyone else was going to become closer with the girls faster than I was going to. In the past 7 days everything that everyone has told me has rang true.

Over and over again James kept telling us how today is one of his favorite days of the whole trip and I was so confused as to why, it seemed kind of heartless to think that when today was the day that we had to say goodbye. The day started out just like normal with morning workshops, however there was just a different energy with everyone. The girls were all so happy because they were all wearing their new pantsuits and all of us were in our Indian pantsuits and everyone just knew it was the last day. Everyone was trying to get their final pictures in, teaching their final lessons and from their last memories with the girls that have all become near and dear to our hearts. We ate lunch and then the dreaded goodbyes came. I was not looking forward to going upstairs when Soni ran up to me and grabbed my hand; her eyes were glistening with tears. That was the first time that I started to loose it. Soni wiped my tears and said softly, “no crying.” We all came up stairs and were sitting in big groups and Monika was next to me and Soni was next to her. I made a mistake and looked around the room and saw all the older girls crying and then my eyes locked with Maggie. She was holding Saroj and they were both crying. I thought that I was going to loose it but Kajal looked at me and pointed and goes, “No tears. Be happy.” The moment that I lost it was when Monika looked at me and asked so sweetly, “Will you come back to visit me Courtney?” I looked at her and the tears just started to flow when I said, “I will see you again Monika, I promise.” She responded by stinking her pinky out and saying, “Pinky promise?” I was a blubbering fool at that point when I said, “Yes I promise.” The girls were all so cute and kept trying to get us to stop crying by telling us that we weren’t their sisters if we had tears on our faces. Eventually all the girls were in tears, even Heena, the girl who never stops smiling. Everyone in YMAD was crying even though some of us said that we weren’t going to cry, except James of course. He was still in the corner smiling, being tough. When the actual goodbye came it was quick and fast. Then of course we all came inside and cuddled up together and cried.

This trip has been nothing like I thought it would be. I seriously never expected to love as much as I did and feel loved in return just as much. I feel like I have known the girls for way longer than a week and they will be some of my best friends for forever. It is so interesting to me how some people are just drawn to others in some way without even knowing them and in our case without even speaking the same language.  Most of the people in YMAD had their favorite, the one that they connected with the most out of the group. The more that I have thought about it I can’t seem to pick just one. I had at least 6 girls that just always made me smile whenever I saw them and were extra special to me; however, every single girl had a part in making my trip unforgettable and will forever have a spot in my heart. I cannot thank the team enough for everyone’s hard work and everything that they brought to the table, especially James, Rachel and Raj. The people have become come of my closest friends and I will be close to them for a long time. I am leaving tomorrow knowing that I gave it my all and loved harder than I ever knew that I could. I hope more than anything that those girls even if they don’t remember me personally that they will remember the things that they learned here, that so many people love and care about them with all their hearts and that they have the power to do anything they want. Those 26 girls changed my life in a way that I never thought people could, I will never be the same and will never forget the things that I learned and experienced here. I owe that all the YMAD and all the people involved, I cannot thank everyone enough for this unforgettable experience.