Sarah Sloan

6 Steps That Will Help You Enjoy India and Reduce Belly Fat* (*these tips will not help you reduce belly fat)

Good morning Vietnam! (And you too America). I am here to give you my (non)professional advice that has (not) been endorsed by Oprah on how to enjoy your time in India and maximize your impact. (This will also include sly little references to how your kids are doing, don’t worry). They are as follows:

1. Eat anything. (Not anything, that’s bad advice). But if your guide says that the street vendor chicken he’s giving you is good, you ignore the bugs you’ve seen near the oven and the fact that you just saw them sharpen their cutting knife on a cobblestone and you eat it. Because that stuff is frickin good. 2. Appreciate everything. Everything. Appreciate the good health that everyone has had. Appreciate the buckets you use to shower. Appreciate the dog/human poop you think you just stepped in. Because that dog/human poop is from India. And you’re lucky to be here. (Parents, note my sly little hint that we’ve all been healthy. It’s been amazing) 3. Take time to listen. If you do, you’ll be surprised what you’ll catch. Examples: • Every day after teaching at our schools, we go down to a nearby Ashram (orphanage). While we’re there, if you listen, you can hear a Muslim prayer song echoing off the mountains. It’s surreal. • If you wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason (peeing), you can hear the shrieks of hundreds of monkeys out in the forests. • If you visit a temple (like we did today), you’ll hear prayers and chants in Hindi that will sound a bit like “ajkskjanfjkasnjasd asjdasnasasdjasdasd asdjasbda asbdhasbdashjdajdl”. You won’t know what it means, but it sounds beautiful. 4. Love the people you meet. Everyone here has an interesting story, and an interest in you. During our time here we’ve met some of the most remarkable people, from having dinner with the District Commissioner to dancing with traditional Indian performers who are younger than we are. And it goes without mentioning that we all love the children we teach. So much. Almost everyone has at some point said that they miss their kids during this 2 day weekend. 5. Love your friends. This one is key. We all love each other on this expedition, and we all look out for each other. This can be proven by the spontaneous crying/hugging party we just had on the roof. We would not be able to accomplish the amazing things we’ve done already if we didn’t care so much about each other. Parents, I have to tell you, you’ve done a great job. I love your kids. 6. Take in experiences. As much as possible. No explanation needed. AND NOW, PARENTS OF SANDON, LAUREN, ANGELA, KRISTEN, DYLAN, AND JAMISON…. The moment you’ve been waiting for:

(Before I begin, I should say that our adult leader – Brooke – has been absolutely amazing. She has protected us, guided us, and she gives us regular hugs. We all love her. A lot.)

Sandon: He’s made a close buddy. (His name is Savour, he’s one of the youngest kids, and he’s really shy). Sandon looks after him, and loves him so much. Besides that he’s been doing really well, and the kids all know his name (it’s hard to explain how impressive that is at our school). He is also great with the Ashram (orphanage) kids, and they all love him.

Lauren: She’s been doing a great job with all the kids, and with the group. She keeps us happy, and we totally love her. As do the children. (She also does a great job of keeping us and the kids on track). She likes to spend her time hugging the children and accidentally telling them she has a son. What a gem. And she wets the bed like a pro.

Angela: Her effect can best be summarized with a story. One day we came early to the school on accident, and Angela – with the bladder of a champ – made a mad dash to the bathroom (which, by the way, is a hole in the ground). The kids noticed she wasn’t there immediately, and started looking around saying “Angelie? Angelie??” They love her.

Kristen: I have to say even before I mention how she’s done that I’ve totally loved hanging out with her. The kids have too. She’s made a few little friends, and she ALWAYS gets picked by the littlest students when we play games. And, of course, she’s always smiling.

Dylan: What a stud. He’s been great as a bodyguard for the girls, as a friend for the kids, and he looks awesome in his new jacket. And he can bust a move like no one else. He’s been a ton of fun to be with this whole time, and everyone loves him.

Jamison: He’s turned out to be a great leader, from organizing a church meeting for anyone who wanted to join to giving the kids directions. And he’s been a great worker with his lessons. He really spends the time to try to get the kids to fully understand, and they’ve quoted his shapes lesson to me 3 times so far.

I also have to give a shout out to 4 people:

• Raj, who has done so much work for us and been so great. I don’t even know what his official job is, he’s done everything from arranging meals to firing drivers, and he’s done it well. • Vanayak (I totally just spelled his name wrong), who is our translator. He’s hilarious, fun, a great cricket player, fell off a 400 foot cliff last year in a car crash, and he’s only 19. He’s unbelievably cool. • James Gessel, who got up in front of 500 people yesterday (including the District Commissioner) and awkwardly danced. Without being asked. He just did it. What a stud. • Elliott. Because he asked. And he has an awful mustache.

THIS PART WON”T BE INTERESTING TO 90% OF YOU: Mom and dad, I love you and I miss you. Sort of. I’m not better or worse than you guys, but…. Sammy Bo Bammy: I miss you a ton. No joke. Peter and Thomas: I miss your bisque and your smiles. Nerds. Pulsiphers: I miss you more than I thought. I’m going to have a Sound of Music party when I get home, and I’m going to make Pete watch the whole thing. Sloans: Have fun at Thanksgiving without me (if that’s possible). Friends: I haven’t missed you guys at all. You’re the worst. I don’t think about you guys while I’m here. Or what you’re doing. Or what classes you’re in while I’m helping orphans…. Not one bit. Tell Sarah, Steve, Troy, and Sadie that I miss them too. I love those guys.

I’m gonna have to wrap this up, but know that we’re having the time of our lives over here, we’re experiencing things that are unbelievable, and we’ve all loved it.

I miss you America, hope everyone’s doing well.

Love,

Sarah SarahSloan