My host mom is talking to my host dad in the kitchen. From my room I hear her start to laugh and can’t help but smile. I love her laugh–it comes from her belly and spreads to her eyes– and is absolutely contagious. I have been with my host family for a little over a week, and each day I learn more about each of them. I have a small family of just three: my host mother, father, and 16 year old younger sister. However, there are some frequent visitors to our home. A family friend who joins us every night for dinner, the elder man who has afternoon chai on the porch with my host dad, and, most commonly, the cows that pass by (and sometimes take a nap) right outside our gate. I have written a list of moments with my host family that make my heart melt.
- My family all cooking dinner together. At the one table in the kitchen, we each had a role in the chapati (Indian flat bread) assembly line: my host sister ripped the dough into chunks, I formed them into balls, my host mom rolled the dough into nearly perfect circles, and my host dad was crouched on the table flipping the bread over the fire.
- My host sister asking me to help with an essay for school on religion and whether it was unifying or divisive. We talked about religion in America versus India and around the world. Getting to help my sister with homework and hearing about her opinion on such a current and controversial topic.
- My host mom putting two of her own kurtas on my bed after noticing I alternate between two every day.
- On Kavra Chauth sitting with my family looking at the sky and waiting for the moon to rise on the roof. After an entire day of work and fasting, my host mom leaning her head on my shoulder.