Five days out from when I step on the plane back home. Five short days before the stint in India draws to a close.
It’s begun. Exactly 9 extremely short months ago, I posted this about saying farewell before one goes on one’s way – the same thing’s happening to me now as work winds up here and I prepare to go on my way again, though this time back home to family and friends. But therein lies the little paradox – I came as a stranger to a strange place but now I’m leaving a familiar place that I’ve called ‘home’ for the past months. I struck me a couple of months back while walking along the dusty road back to Indus from the local bus stop how I consider this place home and how it brings me comfort after the long journeys that one takes. I’m now leaving a place that I consider home to a place that actually is. Strange feeling.
My departure from India looms and part of me is excited to be returning to familiar surroundings, to family, to old routines. The other part of me doesn’t quite want to think about what one is leaving behind – great friends, nice colleagues and most of all, the lovely, lively, energetic students that I’ve grown to know and love. But for everything there is a season and this is the start of the season of partings. At least for us.
As I look back at my time here, I realise that though I’ve done what I came to do on paper, there’s still much more to do. I did manage to light a couple of candles but one also sees the huge number of wicks still waiting for the touch of the flame. I realise that coming on a volunteer stint here is more than just about the work that one does – it’s about the people that we meet and what we do with such opportunities. I’ve been blessed with the opportunities to celebrate weddings, birthdays and all manner of festivals as an Indian would. I’ve been blessed with friends who accept me as part of their families and who I’m very sad to have to leave.
My time here is up and the job that I was sent here to do is done. Though more projects have started in the meantime that I’d love to be here to grow, there are other things that need be done both at home and beyond. Just as I looked forward towards my coming here, so do I look towards my return home as a new chapter in my life there. I return invigorated by my experience here and ready light the candles back home.