Goodbyes - Sarah Sloan
Hello from Chamba! Not to brag or anything, but as I'm writing this I'm looking out at the beautiful mountains spotted with unique and tiny homes. In a little while, it will be dark, and they will be lit up like stars in the sky or holes in an old blanket. I'm totally bragging right now.
We said goodbye to our kids today, so I apologize in advance for the sad note this blog will probably turn to.
Leaving our kids was unbelievably hard. I won't say that they've changed my life forever, or that I've enjoyed spending the week here more than I ever thought possible, because - while its true - I imagine the rest of the team has those subjects basically covered. I'll just say that those kids took up a space in my heart that I didn't even know existed, I loved them more than I ever thought I could, and just writing about them is making me cry. Sheesh.
We spent most of today just playing with the children. They sang us a song, and at the very end we sang them one (Phil Collins, You'll Be In My Heart). The song, in retrospect, was a horrible idea if any of us was planning on leaving dry eyed. We started crying the way you fall asleep. Slowly, and then all at once. We looked out on the faces of the kids we had come to really love, and when we saw that they were crying too - even the boys who had acted so tough - we finished the song and immediately began hugging them. They swarmed around us, and no one wanted to ever let go.
The car ride back was a pretty depressing one, but I have to give a shout out and a thanks to Vinayak, our translator and resident stud. He saw that I couldn't stop crying and put on one of my favorite songs from our driver's New Hindi Hits album. He always knows how to make me laugh.
We head out tomorrow, and its hard to believe that I'll be leaving this place. It feels like a kind of home. I've established a routine, and I've made friends I never want to leave.
To all of my friends here, fir milengea - see you soon. And to all of you back home, see you even sooner.
P.S. Parents of Sandon, Lauren, Jamison, Angela, Kristen, and Dylan. I don't have time to write an individual statement, because we're about to say goodbye to some more friends. But just know that I have come to love and respect your kids, and I think they're unbelievable. Thanks.
(And Brooke, as always, has been amazing).