first lasts

            Today was a crazy day in a crazy week. Haan me crazy hu. I thought it would be the last day of waking up for my before school/after school program. The keys were missing for the room that we keep the chess boards, the photography teacher ran out of petrol and had to push his bike to the nearest petrol pump. Had this happened in the US it would have been a complete catastrophe. I think it shows a way that I’ve changed. I laughed it off. The kids played volleyball and basketball. I worked, they played, I set up things for tomorrow afternoon. It went smoothly except for the fact that I have to go back again tomorrow morning for the chess competition. I don’t care that much though; those kids are great and I really enjoy spending time with them.

            After that I went to the office, had two long meetings, took out the US board members visiting, went to a center for their end of year project presentation, and then back to the school for the after school program. It’s been nuts! It was great hanging out with the US board though. I met two of them before coming here; it was a drum roll of questions about living here, working here, settling, moving back, next steps, how this, how that. It was very fun though. We went for a thali in a famous restaurant. They ate everything. I was very impressed.

            Today was some of my beginnings of the ends. I had an appraisal of one of the teachers I work with. We cried at the end. The center I went to today, which used to be a center that I oversaw, was the first of my last center visits. I don’t directly work with those kids or teachers anymore, but I used to be quite close to some of the girls there. It was hard to say goodbye and I have barely seen them this past year. I don’t know how it will be with some of my “closer” centers. I don’t want to think about it.

            The closer I get to going, the less I want to go. But I think that would be obvious.

            This weekend Sam is visiting. Sam lives in Auroville and teaches a different kind of capoeira there. He came here once for our event; a few of my friends and I went there at different times once. He wanted to come one more time before I left. This is an Indian thing. He’s taking a flight, from what I would say would be the equivalent of Florida to New York, to come see a friend off. He’s been living in India for the past 7 years, and as far as I gather, has no desire or plans to move back to France. He said that he thought I might stay here forever like him.

            It’s finally confirmed that Aaron is coming. I’ve known Aaron since the first days of high school, we’ve kept in touch through all of my travels and moving in and out of New York. He’s always wanted to come visit me in my travels, and now he is; I’m beyond excited. The first leg of the trip is to Rajasthan – where we will melt because it will be a trillion (technical term would be bazillion) degrees. He gets here in 8 days! I have voiced my worries about him coming; he’s black and has dreadlocks. Indians aren’t vey accepting of black folks or Iranians. This has been my experience. When I spoke to a few of my friends about it (they neither have black or Iranian friends) they were shocked to hear that people here were racist. Other folks I’ve spoken to have openly admitted that many Indians are racist. I’m unsure of what take I should take out of it. Bottom line is I think we’ll get several looks while traveling, but nothing will happen. We have a white American woman, an Indian woman and a black American man. We’re a diverse group.

            Last for today – I am very pleasantly surprised at a huge response I’ve gotten from my friends and even some acquaintances about a recent facebook post. The After School Arts program was my child and I was ready to pocket the expenses. Last minute I asked our PR person if we could find a donor. She almost found one and then they backed out. She suggested that I post something on facebook, and she did the same. I have had an overwhelming response from people (both Indians and Americans) who are willing to donate Rs6000 to the program. She found someone before I did, but now I’m very inspired by my friends and folks who want to contribute to the program. It makes me feel good.

            So now, off to sleep, and getting ready for another early morning – a chess tournament, final performances for my after school arts program (yes, there will be pictures that I will flaunt!) and other last times with some of my other kids and teachers. I’ve had random outbursts of tears while driving for the last couple of weeks. I accept them and know that it means that it’s been amazing to be home here.

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