Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Year Later

As it stands I have been home from India for a full 14 months. My last few weeks in Coimbatore were filled with friends, my family and many last experiences in the wonderful country that I had learned to call home. Saying goodbye was hard- especially to my host father Prabakaran and my host mother Maheshwari- I had become very close with the two and loved and respected both of them immensely.
On my last day in India, I spent the morning going nuts over packing and when I had finally finished, met my friends in the courtyard downstairs to say my goodbyes. They had all just come from school and were still in uniform, which made me realize that he previous day had really been my last with the friends that hadn't been able to come. I spent a few precious moments with my friends before it was time to head up and get my three bags to put in the car and go to the airport in preparation for a long journey home.
At the airport after figuring out my baggage and checking in I had a few minutes with my host parents and Piriyanga, Praveen, and Theekshana who had come to see me off. We took photos and talked about memories, wondering when we would see each other again. And then it was time to leave, and I went through security with tears welling in my eyes. Walking out onto the airstrip I breathed deeply and looked up to the roof where my friends were waving from, trying and failing to hold back the tears.
As the plane took off I burst into tears, everyone on the whole plane looking over with concern. I knew that I would miss India incredibly. I would miss the smells, the sights, the food, the people, my friends and my host parents especially! I wondered when the next time I would see them again would be, and knew that it probably would be a long time, making my tears flow continuously.
I cried the entire way to Mumbai and then gained control of myself for the long legs of my journey....after twelve hours I arrived in Portland, Oregon. Everything was immediately weird and familiar, and I headed to the bathroom to change into my sari (a surprise for my parents waiting in Medford!). Once dressed I boarded the plane and flew home- arriving in Medford in the late evening. I smiled and laughed while descending from the plane, jogging to the terminal where I burst through the doors to find not only my family, but my friends as well! They had all come to receive me- I had been sent off by family and received by family :)
Now more than a year has gone by, and there's not a day that passes that I don't think about my wonderful experiences, and miss my host family and their genuine kindness. My life has changed greatly since my arrival home, and my future is speeding towards me. I very much hope that India and her people will be a piece of that future! Thank you to everyone who made this experience possible!!!!

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