Jonathan, am I 2-0?/By Christian Evans

November 28, 2023 - 2023 Operation Moksha

Jonathan, am I 2-0?

It’s been 12 days since I was last in Salt Lake City. I miss a lot of things about home. I miss school a lot. I like the routine and the sense of purpose that it gives me. I’ve missed family too. I miss the morning car rides with Caroline to school and the happiness of my dog when I get home from school each day. I also miss watching and talking about football with Jonathan. There’s a football sized hole in my Sunday’s here in India, and I hope that under the iron fist of Jonathan my Fantasy Football team has flourished in my absence. I miss the comforting presence of my parents too. I have nobody to tackle into the couch here or talk about my Friday night with. I miss the convenience of hot running water at command. We get hot water here, but it has to be heated up in advance. This means that you have to flip a switch 30 minutes before you need the water to be hot. Most of my morning showers have been cold. While I’ve found I’m much more alert with these frigid morning showers, I miss the warmth of the showers at home. I also miss the variety of food I have access to back in America. We have been fed well here in India, but the meal is always centered on a chicken dish. Cows are sacred and pigs are rare, meaning that eggs and chicken are the only sources of protein we have had at our disposal. 

But for all the things I miss about home, there is an equal amount I don’t miss. I don’t miss my phone. The authenticity of the interactions I’ve had with friends and friends I’ve made is something that I wish I got to experience back home more often. Us not having our phones forces us to be fully present in each moment. I’ve had enough laughing fits here in India to last me through the rest of 2023. I haven’t missed the hectic nature of my day-to-day back home. I’ve been both busy and tired here in India, but my energy is spent solely on the kids. Back home, I have to juggle so many different responsibilities, and I’ve found it nice to have a “one-track-mind”. 

All this is to say that being away from home has shown me what’s most important in my life. Pulling away from the normalcy and minutiae of everyday life back home has shown me what parts I do and don’t miss. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to view my life and routine with a sort of birds eye view. 

I suppose I should also document some of my experiences instead of just ramble on like a toddler. I last wrote on Saturday night, meaning that I should start with Sunday. On Sunday, our whole YMAD operation drove two hours to a beautiful hike. The hike ended at a mountaintop temple, where we were each individually blessed and given an offering. We ate lunch on the mountaintop and shared funny stories about our respective high schools. We travelled back home and had our “gratitude meeting”, where we each shared specific things that our travel to India had made us grateful for. We where then given letters from our families to read. The letters made me very emotional, and I appreciate all of the kind words and messages written to me by family. Monday was a holiday here in India, so we didn’t go to the schools. Instead, we traveled to another temple and had a group yoga session. I’m still in shock at how inflexible I am especially because Caroline is like the stretchy girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We followed yoga up with zip lining in the rain and dinner at “The Nightingale”, an Italian restaurant. I once again ordered a pepperoni pizza and was incredibly grateful that the pepperoni was authentic and red. I finished the whole pizza in barbaric fashion. 

Today is Tuesday, and on Tuesday each school group travelled back to their schools to deliver clothing and supplies for the children to keep. Our school group then travelled to the other two schools, neither of which we had ever seen, where we performed a song and dance for the kids. Our school was last to be graced with our wonderful performance. The kids were very upset to see us go, and I still don’t think I’ve fully processed leaving them forever. Although I’ve only known them for 8 days, I do think the relationships I’ve had the privilege to develop are meaningful. I hope for the best for all of those kids. I pray they each get the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills and break the cycle of poverty which currently traps them here in Kullu.

We have just a few more days here until I’m back home! I still miss you all and am looking forward to reuniting with you on Saturday. I hope all is well with you and that you don’t miss me too much!


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