Today feels bittersweet, or as Winston (our German representative) says, "with one bright eye and one crying eye." By the time of this posting, we will have said farewell to our host families and be well on our way for an equally novel experience in Agra.
But right now, I sit writing, enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze coming from the patio of my host family's living room. Papa Gee sits on the couch, quietly muttering to himself in Hindi about the cricket game on TV. Mama Gee, ever presentable, sits reading the Jaipur Times in her gorgeous yellow and red Sari. Dimpie lies seated against the wall with her eyes closed, her face covered with green face mask, trying her best to ignore Shiboum's playful teasing. We all sit together, quietly enjoying the comfort of each other's company on a Sunday afternoon.
Despite the persistent humming of horns, the smell of curry wafting from the kitchen, the frequent ringing of the family land line, and the sporadic visits from neighbors and family, this Sunday afternoon feels remarkably familiar to ones at home.
This week has been filled with one incredible experience after the next; Hindi classes, Sitar performances, folk dances, history lectures, NGO tours, factory visits, art exhibits, and even obligatory Indian elephant rides. But I think we can all agree, that what's been most special about our experience so far, is that beneath our expectations and initial impressions of this seemingly unfamiliar country, we are, as Marichelle said, "more similar than we are different."
With the bar set high from our time in Jaipur, we are off to Agra for our first experience with Indian train travel.
Wish us luck!