I wake up at 5 every morning. It is the only time that nothing moves and I like quiet.
"I was born in the day, right before lunchtime, and I arrived with a full appetite and it hasn't settled down at all" -Jenny Slate
After breakfast, chai and biscuits, I walk down the hill that my house sits on in search for a rickshaw that won't scam me too much.
I arrive at school at 7 and stay there until 2. My day is long, filled with papers, red pens, sweaty backs, national anthems, "Didi", math I don't understand, spelling mistakes, riddles and questions. Lots of questions. I can't answer most of them.
I go for lunch at my Teach For India (TFI) partner's house. We talk and debrief, sometimes curl up in a ball on the floor. Life is wonderful. But life can also weigh heavy. Once a week, we'll watch a Bollywood movie together, and that takes up the rest of our afternoon. Sometimes I will stay for dinner. Other times, at around 7, I make my way back home.
I'll greet my host mom, she asks what I want to eat. I'll say chapati and she'll laugh, remarks at my growing belly and hugs me. My time with her is a warm colored orange.
There is so much I will never know about her, so much that she will never know about me, a language barrier is hard. But we've found that it doesn't matter. She holds a part of me that I didn't know existed, a part of me that I suspect lives only in India.
Before bed I will shower and then read for about an hour. By the time I quiet my mind and fall asleep it is 11:30. I dream of nothing at all.
And then I repeat. Slight variations for weekends and days of Hindi class. But mostly my life is slow and consistent. I wear loose clothes and scarves. I read and I read and I read. I sleep, I grade papers, I laugh. In some ways, because of this simplicity, I have never been happier.
I get homesick. A lot. I feel weird. A lot. I feel the farthest I've ever felt from my family back home, from their warmth. They are, and always will be, the only ones. After so much together, more than I will ever be able to process, I dedicate my life to Vip, Quincho and Ivan. It took 16 138 kms for me to figure that out. But the distance has made everything clearer.
I have yet to find someone to release myself with. But maybe I don't have to. I have what I need.
This morning I opened the curtains in my room and stuck my hand out the window. There was a slight breeze. The sun wasn't out yet, but I could anticipate its reach. I let my eyes close, breathe it in. I hope you find everything you're looking for.