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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I want to bring India home with me!

It's 4:00 am in El Portal. We're back home in California. Snow blankets the peaks around our canyon, and frost hovers in the darkness outside our windows. The wood stove burned well all night, so the living room is cozy and warm. We successfully located and unpacked the down comforters, but no one is snuggling in them at the moment.... Everyone is wide eyed and awake, prancing around our house with all the lights on... playing with toys, petting the cat, begging Mom to make pancakes at 4am. It's JetLag time! Yipppeeee!!!

After 3 long flights from India (Bangalore - Singapore - Korea - San Francisco), and 24 hours of travel time, we were greeted in SFO by both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins wearing party hats and playing drums and kazoos! Took the BART train to their homes for stories, some slides, great meals, and even a few late Christmas stockings and presents. The next morning the raging winter storms subsided, and we hauled our 7 fat heavy duffel bags onto the Amtrak train in Martinez. A switch to the Yosemite YARTS Bus in Merced brought us on our last leg of homeward travel.

As we rolled up the lovely Merced River Canyon, the kids were saying "it doesn't really seem like we've been gone. Did we really go to India?" We all know it to be true, but sometimes it does all seem like a dream! So we turned into El Portal, and there at the bus-stop was the Yosemite Marching Band banging out a raucous out-of-tune welcome song! It IS good to be home!

Lupin awoke crying at 2am, wailing "I want India to come to El Portal... I want India to come to El Portal..." She says "all the friends that I already met in India HAS to HAS to come to El Portal!" Now that we've been home for 2 days, she feels "just great. It is colder here in our house than at India. We had to put warm layers on, and be all cuddly all the time!" She is VERY excited to start pre-school tomorrow morning! She is currently banging on the piano, alternating between singing Happy Birthday, and Jana Mana Gana (India's national anthem).

The living room is cozy, but half buried in baggage, clothing, spices, and various other India chunks. It will take a while to put everything away, and get moved back into our home. We left California in August, during 100 degree temperatures, so all of our cold weather gear is safely packed away in the shed... or under the house... hmmm.... or somewhere! Our friends Sarah and Dan took wonderful care of the house, and fed Dandelion the cat LOTS of nourishing food! She is now a blimp! Karen's first thought was, "Wow... that cat looks like a tick!" ( know, all bulging and stretched out, with tiny head and feet sticking out sideways...) We'll have to put her on a strict exercise program! Cat aerobics will commence at 5am!

Eliza is sitting by the fire right now, writing letters to her friends in Bangalore. She wore her KVMEG school uniform to the first day of school yesterday, and plans to give a slideshow in a few days. She says, "it felt sort of funny being in my old school, because a lot of things felt so different. I didn't remember what to do sometimes, like I had to keep asking what to do. Dr. Sakols kept joking around with me all day. My friend Maya helped me with alot of things. At the end of the day we played volleyball. Overall it feels good to be back, but I really miss Bangalore and my friends there."

Sylvie jumped right back into her beloved K-1 class with Allison.... She is reading on the couch with Mommy right now, and time has just flown by. It's now 5am! Egads, should we start getting ready for school? I hope they don't all pass out with exhaustion at 7:45 when the bus comes!


CoLar said...

Hi My World Traveling Cousins!

I just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed getting to read your blog. What an amazing experience, esepically for the girls! You are all such wonderful writers! Paul, you have a natural flow and a great sense of humor! :) Anyway, just wanted to say welcome back! -Colleen

Karen & Paul Amstutz said...

THANKS Colleen! So great to hear from you electronically... Yes, it was a fantastic experience for all of us, but the main reason we wanted to do it, and will likely go overseas again, is for our daughters. My childhood experience in Hong Kong was easily the most significant growth experience in my own youth, and we want to give that gift to our kids too... They are so much more aware of so many things now; global issues, poverty, diversity of cultures and religions, different perspectives, etc. It's been great, and the benefits will continue to manifest as time goes on.

Jinnie & Rini said...

Hi sir!!
Hope u & ur family is fine.Remember us???India???Bangalore???KVMEG????9E???Jinnie &Rini???Both sis???We'll soon e-mail u our photo.We have no words to appreciate u.Maybe we've to invent a new word to describe u.U have a special place in our hearts.We'll never forget u,a very special teacher.Plz convey our love to everyone.
Miss u a lot!!!!
-Jinnie,9E & Rini

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