My Ten Favorite Things About India - by Heather Coons

20140328_122211 - Version 220140329_111345  

1. The smell. You smell India before you even set foot on its soil. Its not really an awful smell, something between campfire and moldy laundry... But I've grown to love it:)

2. I am a movie star.  Everyone stares at us. Not the kind of passive glance you give that new kid in class. No. Its an eye piercing stare into your soul look. Everywhere we go heads turn; hundreds of beautiful brown eyes scanning over my light skin, blond haired self.

3. Maggie noodles. Pretty much, they are the Indian version of Ramen; but after a steep hike in the Himalayas, nothing could have tasted better.

4. Laughter. Nisha is one of the girls I teach at the blind and deaf school. She loves to steal my phone and take pictures of  absolutely everything. This girl just makes me so incredibly happy I don't know how to explain it.  Her laugh will forever be the sound that could make even the worst days beautiful; and my heart breaks that she will never be able to hear it for herself.

5. Nandini. Without her, none of this would be possible. Her help translating in the schools has made all the difference for our education workshops to really make a connection with these kids, and I can't thank her enough for the time, and effort she has given. Plus also, ... watching her bargain when we go shopping is hilarious.:) Father Bryce. A big shout out to one of the best team leaders ever! Thank you so much for everything you have put into our expedition; and thanks to your family back home for letting us steal so much of your time.  Support group. To all of the people who have supported me in this crazy dream. Have dealt with my obnoxious flamingos, or let me henna-ify their hands... Thank you. I simply cant express in words how amazing this trip has been, and I know I couldn't have done it alone.  The Fam. To the greatest support group of all; my family. I love you all so much; and wish you could be here to experience India for yourselves, but just know there will be plenty of pictures and stories when I get back! :)

6. My small bladder. Thank you india for teaching me to spring a leak just about anywhere.;)

7.  Driving.  A horn blares as a motor vehicle of some sort swerves around us carrying an entire family on its tattered saddle. Women sit lady- like; their legs carefully placed to the side as they speed in and out of the mass of people, animals, and trash that line the streets. Traffic Rules and Regulations??.. haha thats cute.. there are none. Largest car with the most obnoxious horn wins!!

8. The Kids. There hearts are so big, and I couldn't think of a better way to spend these 2 weeks. Ill be giving one a piggy back ride, when another will just jump into my arms, and pretty soon we are all in a huge pile on the ground having a tickle fight. (which p.s. they have not quite mastered the art of soft tickling; and more often than not it feels as if my skin is being shredded by their sweet little fingers of steel...;) )

9.Sleep. Nuff said!

10. Hope. Today I feel hope. Hope that these lessons are really sticking; Hope that these kids know how much I love them; Hope that a simple painted wall can create a lasting impression. Thats what YMAD is really about. Its not designed to transform these students into fluent English speakers overnight, or take an entire city out of poverty. Its about spreading a message of hope, and giving these people the courage to try. To believe that a better life is possible;  a smile can brighten a day; and that a silly white kid from the USA has fallen in love with kids of a school called Bagra.    Much Love,