Friendship matters

The lils were placed in a small daycare when they were pretty little. They were lucky and stayed with the same group of friends for the entire time that they were there. These lils all got along really well, and we were all pretty sad when we broke up the group to move to India. Over the course of the year that we were gone, the other three all started school and moved on.

While in India we were able to keep in touch with the friends via skype. These calls were quite scattered and chaotic, but they kept the bond intact between the children. Playdates during our home visit were fabulous, with everyone just falling back into that comfortable rhythm they had had before. It was during this visit that we learned two of the friends would be going to the lil’s school this fall and we were excited to think that they may be in the same classes.

I contacted the school in the weeks leading up to our arrival with a few administrative questions, and to make a request that our lils be placed in their friend’s classes, if that was possible. I did so because I know that it is hard to join during the school year, even for children in JK and SK. We would also be coming from India, so I was worried about culture shock too, and thought that friends would help. Before I sent the email, I debated if I should. The fact that they were quite lonely and had a hard time making friends when we arrived in India convinced me that I should try to help if I could. The school agreed, said they would accommodate if class sizes allowed it.

The day before they started school, we met the teachers and learned that Woo and Goose would not be in the same class as their friends, but that they would be together in a JK/SK split. All were disappointed, but we knew they would see each other often and I hoped that would help. Woo and Goose were happy to be together, and a little nervous about the new school.

All of the nervousness melted away when we arrived on Wednesday morning. Their friend A was waiting for them, and happily took them around, showing them the ropes; what door to go in, where to put their bags, and where her class was relative to their class. When the tour was finished, she tracked down her teacher to introduce them, and then started introducing all of her friends. They were laughing and playing happily within seconds, and barely noticed that I left.  It was the perfect entry to their new school and she put them at ease right away. I am so glad that she was there for them.

Woo, A, and Goose right before the school day started (yes, Goose was happier than she looks!)

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Wordless Wednesday – Change of scenery

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Leaving India

The tears that I had been mostly holding at bay for the last few weeks came spilling out as we drove away that last time. I’m a waterhead, so I was impressed at how well I had handled the days leading up to this; our goodbye brunch with friends, leaving the house, and picking the lils up at school that one last time. There were little tears, but they were hidden behind dark glasses. This was the ugly cry.

I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly that I am going to miss about India because it is the combination of a multitude of things. On one level, I think it would be much easier for me to list the things that I am not going to miss; the unsafe water, unstable power, and bugs to name a few. While I may not have fully appreciated their impact, these were mostly known to me when we moved to India and I knew that they would bother me.

What I didn’t expect is that there were parts that I would love so much. The people of India are the nicest people that you will ever meet. They give and want nothing in return, are kind and gentle, and mostly want to get to know you. I can honestly say that there were less than a handful of people who even just rubbed me the wrong way. The land is so diverse and complex. There is way more space than I anticipated, and so much of it is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I wanted to see it all, and know that we will go back at some point so that we can see some of the parts that we missed. The rich and diverse cultural heritage is evident in the people and the landscape, the larger cities and the small villages. I tried to take it all in and I barely scratched the surface. Then there was the food. It was just that fabulous. I expected it to be better, and it surpassed expectations. I am afraid it will never get that good again. These components all tie together to make India such an intriguing and inviting country, and make it hard to leave.

The part that caught me completely by surprise was the friends that we were leaving behind. I had such a hard time making friends for the first while, and was so very lonely at times. Then things started to just roll, and the couple of friends that I had made grew into a group of good friends, people that we had things in common with, who were more than just the other parents that we saw at school. WE hung out together because we wanted to, talked about more than just the latest seemingly random holiday that had been thrust upon us. Before we knew it we were friends, our lils were friends, and leaving was so hard. I knew that we could and would stay in touch, but we weren’t supposed to care that much, dammit!

So we said our final goodbyes to the best of friends after spending a lovely afternoon and evening together. It started to rain, which seemed fitting to the moment. I started to cry and cried hard for about twenty minutes, then sat lost in thought for the rest of the trip to the airport. Leaving India was a lot harder than I thought it would be.


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