Update from Azza Cohen - India
Reflections on Leaving
I've never been good with goodbyes. I know myself, and I know I'm in denial. With each day running fast toward the sunset, I feel myself unable to process the reality that's soon setting in-- we are leaving. We are leaving Benares and Bridge Year is ending.
That's why this goodbye is especially hard. Because this goodbye is entwined with a thank you I won't be able to put into words. How do I say goodbye to the family that has opened their home to me and welcomed me as one of the "Agrawaal" for the past seven months? How do I say goodbye to Dolly-ji and Lara-ji, when it will feel like I'll soon see them speeding around on their scooters, yet stopping to give me a huge hug on a dusty street? How do I say goodbye to Ajeet and Manju, and try to thank them for teaching me, believing in me, and trusting me more than anyone I've ever been lucky enough to know? How do I say goodbye to the kids, when I know I'm going back to enormous privilege they'll never know, when I know I'll never meet kids as loving, dedicated and hilarious as they, when I know that even though I intend on it, I won't be back soon? I've taken pictures, I've written four journals to the brim, and I've tried to capture this experience so I can take with me some sort of evidence because I know I'm scared of forgetting. I guess this goodbye is that way too-- because in a sense, a goodbye is a one word summation of a relationship, of a time, of a place, of too many feelings rolled into a tiny generalization too hard to face when something powerful comes to a close.
Don't get me wrong-- I'm pumped for Ladakh. The next leg of our journey is a month in the mountains: teaching in a school, living in a village, exploring, trekking and breathing in the cleanest air and most beautiful views there are. I'm excited to go home, to see my friends and hug my family, to walk my dog and meet the life I used to know as normal. I also have faith that there's room in the universe for me to come back to Banares, and that I'll get to be in this crazy place, my second home, once again. But for now, I'm trying to enjoy these last days of blistering heat, spicy food, unmatched generosity, Devanagri script and kids with the widest smiles I've ever known. Thank you to Benares, for making this goodbye difficult. Because if this goodbye weren't so bitter, this year wouldn't have been so sweet.