Friday, March 30, 2012

Our goodbye at Rising Star

I have weeks and weeks to catch up on as usual, so I will go back and forth a little in my posting.  We have not had very much internet access as of late.  Thank you for the well wishes and thoughts over my Delhi Belly issues.  After over a week of a migraine and vomiting issues I am finally coming out of it.  Boy was that a long week.  I started to panic that I was pregnant because it just wouldn't go away.  I have no idea how I did that 6 times.  So, so grateful I did it, but not sure I could do it again. I'm old now.
We left Rising Star and it was a very emotional goodbye.  Lots of tears and promises of keeping in touch and coming again.  We received so many gifts from the children.  It was the widow's mite for most of them.  We received dozens of letters, pieces of their own jewelry, little rocks, Olivia was given one of the girl's chudadar dresses (which I am sure was probably one of 2 that she owned), belts were given to the boys, a Jenga game, lots of bracelets, Matt got a tie, and a soccer ball which took one of the boys 2 solid months of good behavior at school to was one of those moments where you want to give it all back to them, but when you try the look of hurt is worse.  They want to give it away.  They wanted us to have a part of them.   We wondered how we were going to fit a soccer ball in our already over backed bags, but there was no way we were going to leave that behind.  The letters were my favorite.  Here is one of them...

One of my sweet girls came up to me and carefully took out this little stone from her pocket.  She put it in my hand and folded my fingers over it.  I know it was special to her and I will keep it in my scripture bag to remind me of all that I learned in India.  Notice all the little bracelets--my other hand had twice as many. So. sweet.

I am in love with this picture.  It is so funny that they put Charlotte on Matt's shoulders.  She was always up there.
Devi and Miryam just loving on Olivia the night before we left

This little cutie is Jennifer.  We became so close to her.  She spoke very good English.  She is the one who gave Olivia this dress of hers.  Salt of the earth. Look at that smile.

This is my house family.  Every night we would go over after dinner for a couple of hours and help with homework, do their nails, dance, paint, talk, and just feel like a family.  They all called me Mommy and it melted my heart.  Once again wishing I could bring all 15 of them home with me.  I miss them so much!
 This is Matt's house family.  The kids kept asking us to all come together because they had a surprise for us.  They were so incredibly excited to show us.  We got up there and they had put a ribbon over the door that they cut when we walked through with balloons and a heartfelt message on the board.  Have I told you how much I love these people?

This is the tie they gave Matt.  I'm sure it will get much use because of the gift behind the gift.  We have no idea how they got it, but it will be treasured.

Do you see the flowers in my hair? The house mother in my family got up early to make it for me as a goodbye gift.  They gather flowers and tie them together with string.  That is now drying in my scriptures as well. Love those gifts from the heart.

Sammy, Sammy.  The girls were all love sick over Sam.  They wanted to always see pictures of him on my computer.  They would touch the screen and then kiss their fingers all while saying his name and laughing.  So funny.  I don't think he minded the celebrity status.

Brandon has always been a friend to all

Brandon had his share of followers as well.  This little one in the front named Mymonisha was head over heels in love with Brandon. 

I finally just had to walk away from my girls cause we were now really late for our flight.  I turned around and snapped one last picture.  We all felt a little deflated.  Man I miss those girls.

Notice the necklace and earrings?-more little gifts from the girls.
M.Rojul is the teacher in the 10th Standard here.  We had been at Rising Star a couple of days and she came over and sat with me.  She said, "I have been watching you with your family.  I am so amazed.  I want to have a family just like you." You know what words like that do for a mother, especially when you have those days where you feel like you are anything but a good mom.  We became friends over the next 3 weeks.  I found out she has liked a boy since she was in high school.  He is of a higher status and so their families will not allow them to get married.  She says, "So, we will just wait."  More of the story came later when she told me that it was her grandmother that was so opposed to the marriage.  So, they are waiting very patiently to see if hearts will change and they will be allowed to be married.  A love marriage! That does not happen very much around here.
I look so weird in this picture because I was crying having to say good bye to her.  She handed me this letter-
Dear Smith Family,
Thank you so much for your help at Rising Star. I am very happy to meet your family here.  Every day I was watching your kids! There are amazing! Allyson and Matthew you are an amazing pair and you have wonderful kids. I learned from you how to understand, how to be kind, how to be good parents. In my future-if , then she crossed out if and wrote when I have a child I will follow your habits to grow (teach)my children.
Samuel-He is very good boy.  He has open minded.  He is very nice and kind.
Brandon-You are so cute and brilliant boy. You are very good teacher. You teach the kids how to be     kind.
Olivia-You look like an angel! You are very kind and loveable girl. You have a beautiful smile. You are amazing and will have a very bright future.
Tyler and Ashton-Keep smile always! You two little boys I love you so much!I can't believe how much you helped our kids here. Have a good luck.
Dear cutie girl Charlotte- You are like a baby but you obey your parents nicely! I like the way you kiss. All the kids love you soooo much here.
By love with, M.Rajul
I'm hoping to get a marriage announcement in the next couple years! She is a gem and a fabulous teacher.  She has only learned English in the past year.
The night before we left we had a dance party.  These kids can dance!
 The ONLY one Charlotte ever let hold her.  She just loved him-

My house family girls -Jennifer, Sagaway, Trischia, Miryam,and Monica

Bolaji on the left was my reading buddy. We spent many hours reading Magic Tree House books together.  He worked so hard every time.  Love that kid.

Rising Star changed me and my family in so many ways.  Now that we are gone, when I look at pictures my heart just yearns to be back there.  I miss how we felt when we were in the middle of heaven's best.
One of the greatest things I learned through observation there was to not let happiness be determined by circumstance.   Happiness is a choice.  It is a choice to focus on what blessings are in our life even in our darkest hour.  The people we have met here are shining example of that.