My host mom and I share a special connection. Despite our lack of clear communication, we have shared too many special yet simple moments to count. Nita is a quiet woman. She likes to sleep a lot, eat good food, and works hard – all of these attributes we share, appreciate, and acknowledge in each other silently. Many days she approaches me and holds my face in her hands, then taking her hands and kissing them to her lips. At first, these gestures were accompanied by comments such as “you are looking like doll” and “you are so fair”, but slowly they have morphed without me really realizing it. Now Nita tells me how she wants me to stay in her house forever, that I have a home in India, and how in April when my Global Citizen Year is complete I should stay behind. To Nita, I am “a sweet, quiet girl”. To Nita, I am her second daughter.
We both like quiet moments and find relief in the fact that we both enjoy being alone, a hard opportunity to find in India. We respect each other’s space, but when we are together we share meaningful memories. Tonight, we were walking back home alone together. I noticed how much her English has improved since I arrived and how embarrassing my Hindi level was in comparison. Nita realized moments before stepping into our society’s gate that she forgot to get tomorrow’s milk. She chuckled as she thought of the tea, “tomorrow we will have black tea,” she chuckled more. I assured her it was okay. Nearing the stairs, she walked off for a moment to stop in front of scraggly flower bush. Originally I thought she was picking them for me like she has done in the past, but instead she humbled me by softly stating that the flowers are “for God”. A small moment, but an impactful one because I realize that I only have three more months of these quiet moments left with Nita. These moments are the ones that will make going back home sting and ache the most. These are the moments that count, the ones that I will carry with me forever and ever.