Tata, India

This month.

I feel like I can’t even begin to explain this month. It has been a whirlwind.

I can only share the highlights.

First– we completed the National Geographic workshop to train faculty and NGOs on collecting debris using scientific methods. It was an amazing experience.

These next five photos are from the amazing Alwyn Biju, who photographed the whole workshop for us.

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This amazing group of people worked tirelessly for five straight days and it was a really incredible experience. The research associates and faculty made it all possible and it was a really amazing experience. Also, can you tell how amazingly exhausted I am– I seem to be unable to come up with another adjective.

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Here’s us with Dr Jaya and her husband and fantastic Katie, who came over from Sri Lanka to help lead the workshop.

With the workshop over, we tried to get in a few local sites. We visited the Napier Museum– no photos allowed inside but the collection was filled with artifacts, statues, costumes from India as well as shadow puppets from Indonesia.

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We went back to the zoo and it was much cooler– a delightful day.

 

And of course it has been a little heartbreaking to say goodbye. They held a beautiful event for our family at the University– where the Department sent me off in style. (I have many more photos to share from this event– will have to add later when I have access to the cd)

Elena and AliceKat and Jaya

Dr Jaya and her husband Mr Prasad came and brought gifts for the whole family.

Men with MangosJaya Prasad boys

We visited James’ school friend Anna and his family for a night of revelry.

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And we’ve slowly said goodbye to as many of our neighbors as we could find in these busy days.

For all of us it is hard. We’re excited to be going back but sad to leave.

I want to stop the kids and remind them about a million things. I don’t want them to forget what this experience has been. The thousand individual moments that made it incredible. And hard. And tough. And exciting. And wonderful. Like…

Remember that time we went to the restaurant and no matter what we ordered they delivered a chicken salad sandwich?

Remember the first time we all crammed into one auto rickshaw?

Remember when mom cried that first night at the hotel?

Remember how tired we were from traveling?

Remember the first time you ate rice with your hand?

Remember when we thought naan was the only kind of Indian bread?

Remember when the people from the health department showed up to give Alice a polio vaccine?

Remember when we made up words for the elevator song?

Remember when the call to prayer would wake us up in the morning and then let us know that it was time to come home from the playground at night?

Remember when the parade of drummers and elephants went by the flat?

Remember the bats?

Remember the first time we saw a cow in the street?

Remember the day we spent all day buying uniforms and then had to go to the tailors and we were all so tired?

Remember the first time Shambu showed up at our door to ask you to play?

Remember the chechis and Ziya and Sidhat and Anindida and Anigha and Gautham and Gauthika and Ithal, and Ezzah and Effa, and Gio and Elena and dear Ammu?

Remember how the pool was always closed right when we wanted to go?

Remember your friends from school?

Remember the carpool– taking the innova jammed in with the other kids?

Remember the mango and the pineapple and the jackfruit and the rambutan and all the kinds of bananas?

Remember that time the driver of the Uber recognized us– and we knew it because as soon as he saw Alice he said, “Oh, crying baby!”

Remember all the stray dogs? Or the sound of frogs at night after the rains came? Or the ants?

Remember what it looks like, and smells like, and feels like here.

Remember how many people showed us kindness. Too many to list.

So we say tata for now… but not forever.

 

 

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