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Goodbye Kalimpong

Today was different, in the absolute best way possible. I don’t know if it was because I began to realize all that India has to offer me and my understanding of the world, or if I was simply in a good mood, but nevertheless I am grateful.

Tomorrow we leave our homestay families and the town of Kalimpong, West Bengal, and I’m heartbroken because I have truly never been in a community of people that care about each other like the people here do.

Everyone is family, regardless if you are a next-door neighbor or a foreigner that lives thousands of miles away. I was welcomed into the community with open arms and treated like family from the first day.

I never knew that it was possible to care about people so deeply this quickly, but a few hours ago, when I play the Tibetan dra-nyn instrument and sang at the homestay farewell get together, I realized just how difficult a goodbye would be.

I will miss the love and support of this community immensely.

I will miss the simple joy that comes with playing hopscotch with my 9 year old homestay sister and singing and dancing in the kitchen with her.

I will miss long walks and trading stories with my 16 year old homestay sister and cousin.

I will miss speaking Nepali with my Amma and Appa (failing to speak really) and having them laugh as they try to correct my pronunciation, and then laughing harder when I fail again.

I have never in my life experienced something that immerses me in another culture like this homestay has, and I will forever be thankful for all that I have learned.

So with these final words, I say farewell to you, Kalimpong.

I love you.