My Dear Allie, Ellie, Lara, Mika, and Tiffany,
I'm hoping by now you have reached those places you might call home at this point and have had safe and meaningful reconnections with your family and friends... or just a good 36 hours of sleep after so much traveling. You've all been in my thoughts these past hours, of course. I have been running errands to print photos for P Namgial, closing bills at the hotel and connecting with Peter and Amit over future planning, but every place we are at, my eyes look to my wrist and I think, "What time do I need to meet the students?" and then I remember you're all back on the other side of the globe.
Harrison left for Dharamsala, and I keep expecting him to walk through the door of the hotel lobby as I type asking me when we are going to fill our bellies with Butter Paneer Masala at Gulnar.
So it's been a tough transition so far - HB, Amit and Gaurav, and I (Nescafe in hand) waitied and watched you all as you were working your way through the check-in line at the airport the other night. Harrison asked me when he came back from the Nescafe run, "Is the Global LAB show still on??" as it felt like we were watching you and couldn't do anything but spectate. We left the airport reluctantly the other night after an hour realizing that there was nothing we could do but watch you. We returned to Ramu and the forlorn press van and pushed it around on the road for a while before deciding to leave it there for the night because it still wouldn't turn over. The rains came, and the thunder, and washed away the saddness for a bit until HB and I again realized we didn't have to meet you anywhere.
What I'm really trying to say is how much of an impact you all made on me this semester. Though it happens like this time and time again, this spring was special beyond words. The five of you coming together, different personalities creating our solid dynamic, was magic. I know you all felt it, and will feel the absence of it in the days, weeks, and months to come. I think Allie wisely said it best when she talked about the world continuing to turn... We all have the opportunity to be a significant part of each other's lives for years to come. How I am looking forward to that! I want to thank each of you, and each of your families, for allowing me the opportunity to learn from, travel with, and share with you during our time in India this spring.
I'm wishing you luck and love as you continue to make this transition back to life in the states, and I very much look forward to reflections and thoughts on what it is like to be back - how long it takes you to compare the chai at starbucks to the chai at Kanishka Palace - what it feels like to spend $3.50 on something - if you're already passing around hugs to your friends and family members letting them know how much you care about them.
Congratulations, Global LAB Spring 2008 Alumna. Our celebrations are well deserved - you all learned so much about India, about spirituality, and most importanly, about yourselves. May these experiences together support your future adventures. Keep each other in your hearts and minds. I'm sending you all my good wishes and energy for your health and happiness.
SO MUCH LOVE TO YOU,