Eliza’s Thoughts: Today we went to school for the very last time, just for a visit. We walked all around the school to give presents to our main teachers. It felt really sad to say goodbye. We also brought Lupin with us, so everyone pinched her cheeks and said, “oh sooo sweet!” When I walked into my classroom for the last time, all the kids rushed up to me to shake my hand. They all told me to stay here, and cried “why are you leaving!” One friend named Shahi was sooo sad and shook my hand so many times.
When I said goodbye to my friends in El Portal, I didn’t feel so sad because I knew I’d see them again in a few months. But when I say goodbye here in
When I left
I also hope that someday my El Portal friends can come to
This exchange was really hard at first, and I was so shy and sad to start school here. There were sooo many other kids, almost 2,400 of them… But now I’ve gone to school for more than four months, and have made really good friends. I know so many people here in
I just can’t believe it is over already. I thought the time would go by sooo slow, but actually it went by much too fast. Now I wish we stayed here for at least one or 2 more months. Not a whole year more, but I really want to stay longer. But I also want to go home. It feels like I should be in both
When we first got here, I wished I was magic so I could make time go by faster. Now I wish I hadn’t wished that. Now I wish I could make time go slower… At first I thought going to school here would be like torture, but now I know that it has been really great.
Dad talked about maybe someday teaching again at an
Today, all the teachers invited us to dinner at their houses. We only have 2 more nights in
I’ve loved my time here in
Sylvie says: I didn't think it would be so hard to say goodbye. I didn't think I'd cry so much to leave India. I know I'll be happy to be home, but I feel so sad to go home... It's like now I have two homes..... Daddy? I'm soooo tired.... Can I just go to sleep now?
Sylvie says: I didn't think it would be so hard to say goodbye.
I didn't think I'd cry so much to
leave India. I know I'll be happy to be home, but I feel so sad to go home... It's like now I have two homes..... Daddy? I'm soooo tired.... Can I just go to sleep now?
Lupin’s feelings: I feel sad to go away. I will miss Sindu and Vimala, Sweetie, Supriya, Aninya, Uma, and all my favorite friends here. I will miss you soooo much! I will miss the playpark right next to Sankey Tank (lake). It has the flying merry-go-round, and the elephant slide that’s made out of slipperiest granite.
I’ll miss my teachers at Kidzee preschool, and I’ll miss Angeline and all my different friends. I am sad to not see the bunny rabbits and all the things that I made at Kidzee. I will miss every single thing.
I will really think my friends here will miss me too, but I think my friends at El Portal will be happy to see me.
For Christmas Gramma and Babu gave us some money to help endangered species, or other good things to help. Also Chris and Joanna gave us money to give away. I will give my money to places that can help to have good clean water and food for poor and hungry people, and help wildlife too.
Daddy’s turn… (just a few of the flood of thoughts and emotions) Wow… How can I add to what my sweet daughters have expressed? Their feelings are so simple, pure, and clear. In comparison, I feel a bit muddy and overwhelmed with this powerful, enlightening, and intense experience.
Saying goodbye to students, teachers and friends has been more difficult than I imagined it would be. I’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection & appreciation showered on my at KVMEG. My last few days at school were filled with presentations, speeches, parties, cake-cutting…
Many classes organized holiday parties, inviting me and other teachers as “guests of honor.” Rooms were decorated and usually a ceremonial ribbon cutting took place before anyone could enter the classroom. Some of my students prepared elaborate dances and musical presentations for the farewell. Others had decorated with streamers, balloons, and colorful paper shreds hidden on top of the ceiling fan blades…. Turn them on for the shower of confetti!
One class had an hour-long variety show, complete with narration, dance numbers, a magic show with card tricks, cake cutting ceremony, snacks, drinks, and music between each event… (As there was no outlet, the extension cord ran outside the room, and down the hall, so periodically other students tripped on it and we lost power!) As time was so limited, I had to tear myself away from each party too soon. I wish I could have honored each group with more time, but there was usually a crowd banging on the door to pull me away to the next classroom.
The last few days were filled with thousands of handshakes, hugs and high-fives… “Best wishes sir!” “I wish you a safe journey home!” “Happy Christmas and New Year Sir!” “We will miss you Mr. Paul Sir!” “Oh please never forget us!”
Walking down the hall was a challenge, with students crowding around for yet another handshake, or an autograph. Once one kid pulled out a notebook for me to sign, others would beg for me to sign my name on their hands, arms, or daypacks.
I was almost buried in sweet heartfelt cards, flowers, mementos, and gifts. A teacher warned me in advance, “Mr. Paul, you’d better bring a few big bags tomorrow. I think the students will be giving you a few presents!”
After one class party (complete with gentle cake feeding to the teachers, and then students smearing frosting on each other’s faces), a guitar was passed around for some singing. I sang a few for them, and then one student brought the class to tears with her beautiful song… I asked for the translation…. “Never say goodbye”
I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity to work with such wonderful teachers and administrators. I feel blessed to have spent this time with these sweet students, and am humbled by their outpouring of affection for me.
All along I’ve felt that I was doing a pretty good job with my teaching here in
Did my students learn mathematics better or easier under my guidance? Will they excel on the next round of exams? Who knows…. But that is not necessarily the goal of the Fulbright Exchange. The primary purpose is to “promote understanding among people of the
I hope that the Fulbright program continues to flourish and grow. It is one of the most positive and successful foreign policy investments that our country makes each year. Numerically its impact might seem small, but in each exchange location, both at home and abroad, the positive effects are immense. What if someday we were asked to support a “surge” of tens of thousands of additional exchange teachers, fanning out across the globe, winning the hearts and minds of people through math, science, English literature, poetry and song… Now that would be a policy I would believe in!