XO means love.

When I heard that we were getting letters from our parents I became very excited. Little did I know that I would receive a gift that can now act as a reminder to the love that I share with Praveen. I opened the letter from my mom and found an X and an O out of metal inside. I immediately thought about Praveen and how I could somehow give a part of me to him as a reminder. Then it hit me to make two necklaces so that WHEN we meet again we can reunite the X and the O. I showed him what they were and he excitedly chose the X as his necklace. He looked at him curiously waiting for me to explain what they meant and not 10 seconds after I had finished, he said,"I love you." I have been told that by quite a few people in my life and few have had as much impact as that one. As soon as his comment registered, the tears started flowing. He then told me to sit down and proceeded to wipe the tears from my cheeks. He said,"Why are you crying? Please don't cry. Be happy not sad.". I then realized why mourn when I could rejoice about the experience of this week. It dawned on me that I'm supposed to be the teacher but instead I have learned far more than I could ever have taught them.

I've said a fair amount of goodbyes in my day and they never get any easier. I was crying in sadness but also crying in happiness because I knew I made a difference in these kids lives, and I will continue to. Praveen, BJ, Kalsuin, and Chamba all have a new found place in my ever-growing heart. I love those kids and I love this place.

I will be back one day. I will be back to my Aum Sweet Aum. We will reconnect our XO one day Praveen. I love you.

Matty T