By Overseas Educators Paff and Cari
The other night we said farewell to nine misty eyed students (and let’s be honest here, two similarly fogged up OE’s) at the Delhi airport. And though it’s difficult to believe or feel that our three month journey has come to an end, as we all now know, everything is impermanent (see: Truth, Noble #2). Change is abounding indeed, and for us it was a continual pleasure to witness the changes washing over our fellow seekers of the road. Their initial fears to wander alone getting replaced by a stunning confidence, sure that if one strolled just far enough, even the dirtiest of streets (and perhaps these more than any of the well-swept others) would yield its own private treasure. The fine tuning of each person’s social engagement, finding their own personal comfort level with staying open to the social invitations India is ever offering, against the right to say no, to exist within oneself. And the confidence to be vulnerable, to share the often concealed parts of ourselves with people we didn’t even know a few months prior, who are now the stars of memories we’ll treasure for life. As our compatriots arrive home, this much will become clear: that their view of themselves and the world has changed, and that these newfound convictions are worn with confidence, as well as with a bevy of colorful fabrics. What has not changed or lost its luster whatsoever however, is their curious spirit which beckoned them onto this wild, head bobbling adventure in the first place. Indeed, this ineffable thirst might have been burnished to the point it can blind. One piece of advice we’d like to offer all of you lucky enough to be considered their friends and family: Be gentle with them these first few days. An adventure does not end when one returns home, but in fact has just begun. Give them the space to land, to release that big and beautiful breath, and trust us, in due time their stories will happily flood your life.
You all are story-tellers, our fellow Shiva adventurers, this much is true. How many worlds and characters we created this semester, how many laughs did these yield. But you know the most ridiculous part of all of this? That none of these tales of smoky accents and burrito loving intrigue could hold a candle against those we were living, the flesh and blood of our lives. Holding hands with the dying, learning history from a true (Pinku) Ji; courting secret romance in some far flung mountains, and building houses with our mud-coated hands. Not to mention scaling new heights, literally and metaphorically, and finally learning how to stay the hand of all those people attempting to steal our f*ing goats. And let’s not forget each of our beloved tragedies. The seven of us with poop in our pants, or those of us who would find out they’d just been had. How awesome it was to see each of you taking these things in stride, learning the magic of traveling alchemy, transforming inconvenience into the priceless treasure it can and will be.
As you all well know by now, experienced over the course of this semester, the end of one great adventure is just the beginning of the next. And we can’t say enough how privileged we feel that these are the stories we’ll continue to hear in the years ahead.
Now let’s be honest here, and you knew it was coming, for there’s really only one way this thing can end.
We thank you thank you thank you, we thank you thank you thank you, we thank you thank you thank you from our heart. We miss you miss you miss you, we miss you, miss you miss you, we miss you miss you miss you from our heart. We love you love you love you, we love you love you love you, we love you love you love you FROM OUR HEART.
With so much love,
Paff and Cari