Trying to remember all the details of my last day in India has got to be next to impossible but the day in itself I will remember for a long time yet. I had to stay up getting things ready and found myself unable to sleep around 4 am. It’s a good thing I guess bc the next six hours did not adhere to the slowness of India time. Before I knew it I was worried I would not have time to dress myself before the show! Hair and makeup started around 6:30 the house mothers were key in spending the next 4 hours!!! Prettying the girls. They love dressing up. I love the juxtaposition to the boys who were running around so Steele made them do garbage pick up. I got the decorations up and people briefed on their roles, explained what everyone was wearing or not wearing for the umpteenth time, delegated the shape placement with the help of Sara and Steele ran back for late arriving costumes that were delivered for the wrong place, re practiced speeches and found everyone who was having issues with right first or left first. Luckily the parents were arriving late so I had enough time to have Myra help me into a sari and literally run back to the dining hall. I think the parents thought I was insane as I tried to greet them all along the way but in the speediest of fashions. The show began and the parents surprisingly made a great audience which I have been told is highly unusual. But I’m assuming it was because the kids put on a great show. Of course one kid fell, a few forgot their steps, and our synchronization and timing may have been skewed in their excitement but those kids did me proud. And as a wise teacher once told me about choreography, it is much more nerve-racking to be on the side of the choreographer than it is in the dance. So so true. We pulled it off and it was wonderful. As I sighed in relief with the conclusion of the last dance, the kids surprised me with an extra concluding speech thanking me for my teaching and the show and for helping them believe in themselves. I was truly touched and surprised again when I was called up with the other teachers to receive a Christmas gift of a matching sari. It was a really great to see everyone in one room to say goodbye to although it was an overwhelming mix of pride, accomplishment, happiness, sadness and exhaustion as every teacher house mother and worker at the school congratulated me on the performance. I tried to tell them that it was the kids who worked hard to make it Happen but they just kept at it. Then life dance crowded around me for a photo and then turned to say their goodbyes. I have been dancing almost everyday for the past 9.5 weeks with these now terribly heart-broken and sad faces. They each sternly shook my hand and said merry Christmas and happy new year before they crumbled into a giant hug with their pleas of me returning or taking them with me. By the end of the line I crumbled with them into tears and then they all came back for 2nd 3rd or 4th farewells. How do you hear a kid tell you, you are the gift of their life and then you have to leave. Guess I’ll just have to get back asap. Like as soon as my visa allows me. After cleaning up I went to finish packing. The Christian kids hadn’t gone home yet to head to a church party in Chennai so they were still on campus. Two of my dancers clung to me as I prepared myself for departure. They played songs on my iPhone and danced around while eating my popcorn and asking me over and over if I was coming back. There is this hilariously constipated mooing cow outside of the school walls and every time I said I would come as soon as I could it would groan so I told them that even the cow said I would come back and every time it made it’s funny noise it was a reminder that I was on my way asap. As we all stood awaiting the van the remaining kids took turns trying to lift my bag which weighs about as much as them (btw it totally was exactly the right weight. I’m getting scary good at this) when they realized they generally needed a large amount of torque to get the thing off the ground they marveled at my superhuman strength when i lifted it straight off the ground haha. I love India. Then they decided they could at least roll itand thAt they should either try to fit inside or confiscate my luggage so I would have to stay with them. We said our goodbyes repeatedly yet again. After every good-bye I repeated that as soon as I have saved enough money I will be back to at least visit. Everyone at rising star is praying that I will return quickly so I at least have that going for me. If not that, I have some beautiful notes and pictures and videos and memories that will having me working my bum off to get back. Ok you’re probably sick of hearing how much I want to return haha. I will conclude with a final few points…first, thank you to all who supported this endeavor; financially, emotionally, and spiritually. With out your assistance this would not have been a fraction of a success or I may not have even come. For The many times I have upped and left to a new part of the world, thank you to those who continue to support me without grief and have begun to limit their eyeball rolling at the news.
I hope everyone has had a merry Christmas and happy holiday ( like the nsync song) and Hanukah and pongal and kwanza and rizdvo.
***this was my final entry that took a while to actually post, and the remainder of my photos along with videos will be up as soon as my hard drive failure is fixed.