Sid's in Sundar Nagar!

After many long hours of traveling and with swollen ankles, I am finally here. For the past year I knew I was going to be coming to India but I didn't actually believe it until I got here. It is like nothing I could've imagined. Gretta and JoDee had told us about how it would smell when we got to India, but it's really not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Sure, it does smell different, but it just fits in with everything else. The people are incredible.. The driving is very intense.. The scenery is always changing.. And the food is spicy. On the drive from Chandigarh to our village I was amazed at what I was seeing. Cows are roaming the streets, and eating out of dumpsters, and whole families are riding around on single bikes. To me, it seems like everyone has their life figured out. They look as if they have a purpose to where they are going and what they are doing. They sit outside their little shops with a posture and face that looks like they are in control. They look at us like we're from outer space, and sneak pictures.. But they're not really that sneaky. Since today is Monday, that means it was our first day at our schools. The drive up the mountain to our schools was full of anxiety, nerves, and excitement. I was about to meet the kids that I have seen pictures of, and fall in love with them instantly. As we were pulling up to our school, we could see the kids through the door, peering out to try to see us. There were 10 students there today, but the teacher said that there would be about 25 tomorrow. They have the sweetest smiles and laughs. They were nervous and shy, which made the lessons difficult. But towards the end of our time there they opened up and were having some fun. So hopefully they won't be as shy tomorrow. They tried starburst, probably for the first time since I had to show them how to open them. They held their jaws as they chewed, and giggled with each other as they are they candy. They love to play duck, duck, goose, even though they hardly ever said goose.. Instead, they would either just say duck a little louder or hit their head a little harder. There was women from the village standing a outside the window to our school almost the whole time. They too were smiling as they watched what we had to say and do, and how the kids reacted. When it was time to leave, and we were in the car, the kids kept looking through the window, and would smile and wave at us. I can't wait to get back to them in the morning.

After the school we went into the market to shop for fabric for pant suits. The fabric is all beautiful and it was very difficult to pick. From the market, we made a shortstop at home and then went to the school for the blind and deaf. The girls walked into the room, and once again I instantly fell in love. The atmosphere was different in their school but everyone was able to connect with the girls. Our team was working with deaf, or hard of hearing, girls. They were very smart and willing to participate. I am also very excited to return to their school tomorrow.

This has already been the greatest experience of my life, and we only left home a couple of days ago. Here's my shout out to the family... Hi family! And as I promised, Riley, here is your birthday shout out. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! It's a few days early.. But it still counts. Zoe, good luck in the talent show, and Cole good luck with tennis. Mom and Dad, thank you for all your help in preparation for me to leave. Love you all!

-Sid Sager 20140324_182231