I am getting ready for my new school year and I am very excited about my cute little class but I am really struggling with the excess of it all.
All of the new things in my classroom, the pencils, the books, the workbooks, pencil sharpeners, crayons just remind me of how much the kids at CED appreciated every little thing that they had or they received. Don't know if I told the story about the watches but I'm tellin' it again even if I did.
When I arrived in India, Lama Tenzin had asked me to help him pick out watches for the older girls. What I didn't tell was that that was the first gift Lama had given those girls - ever. It was a BIG deal to him and to the girls.
The first gift in ten years - ten years, let that sink in for a moment.
Imagine that for a moment - no birthday gift, no Christmas presents, nothing you or your kids could count on as a little present. Sure, the folks that visit them bring little gifts and they have the things they need for school and the day to day things but this was the very first gift from him - their protector, their leader, the man they all called "brother" and the one they look up to for so many reasons.
He was so proud of how they had finished their school years - many of the girls were at the top of their classes. Considering that when they arrived they only spoke the language of their village and didn't read AT ALL, that's so impressive and they have all worked so hard. They loved their little gifts - the watches took them by surprise and they weren't quite sure what to think. We had to set the correct time for everyone and I tried to show them how to set the alarm ( for 4:15) but at least 2 girls each day would ask for a re-set for tomorrow.
I look at all the things we have and the things I know I take for granted on a daily basis and I am humbled by what a gift can mean. I wonder how many of us could go ten years without a gift, I wonder if the children in my class will understand, if my experience in India can benefit them the way I want it to.
I miss the kids - Pema Dolma's chai, Passang Lhamao's yell across the courtyard and her constant jokes, Sonam Bhutti's sweet smile, Choenyi's too big for her britches attitude, Kunchok and Nawang pushing and pulling like brothers. I miss the simple food, the smiles, the closeness, the electricity going off randomly, the dogs working in shifts.
Right now, I am simply missing it all.