This post is late due to internet issues…by Candace
Our last day at NISH was full of love, hugs, dancing, well wishes, and some tears. We started the day with presentations from the fluency and specific learning disability units, and then we attended Dr. Ravi Krishnan’s lecture about his research along with our buddies and the first year NISH students. Our last lunch with the buddies was bittersweet, and we made sure to take tons of pictures, us wearing our kurtis and them in jeans.
All wearing their new outfits purchased during a shopping trip with their buddies…
This was when it started to sink in that it was our last day together, which was sad, but we all promised to stay in touch and visit each other again if we ever get the chance.
After lunch, the buddies started preparing us for the cultural presentation they had spent months planning. We felt like princesses as they dressed us in sarees and did our hair, and I was so grateful that they were willing and excited to share their culture with us in this way. They generously gifted us with bindis and earrings, and as always, they were so kind in complimenting us on how we looked in the sarees.
“Chechhis” (big sisters) helping wear the sarees…
The cultural program was the perfect celebration of the bonds we have made in the past week. The program included presentations on Indian and US culture, beautiful traditional and modern dances from the NISH students, games, and musical performances from members of our group. (When possible to post, videos will be on our Facebook page)
A highlight of the afternoon was when the NISH students had Dr. Lata Krishnan, Sita Mam (the NISH faculty member who organized our trip on their side), Dr. Ravi Krishnan, and Dr. K.G. Satheesh Kumar (the director of NISH) participate in a dancing game with the buddies. We all loved seeing their moves! Our group performed the Hindu devotional song Jai Ganesh, which went much better than we had even hoped, and received a standing ovation from the audience. The NISH students prepared a slideshow of the pictures we had taken throughout the week, and I teared up watching it and reflecting on all the fun we had together. In such a short time, my buddy Neela and I went from only knowing each other from texting a few times to developing what I hope will be a long-time friendship. Neela was so welcoming to me and taught me so much, and I already miss her and all the other buddies.
At the end of the cultural program, each of the Purdue students received a caricature drawn by one of NISH’s Bachelor of Fine Arts students. I wish I could have thanked the artist in person because all of them captured our personalities so accurately!
When the program was over, we took even more pictures with the buddies, and I held back tears as I hugged them all goodbye. I felt like I really integrated with the group of NISH buddies this week, and I loved the environment of their campus. Nicole M., Betsy, and Lexi said it perfectly at the end of the presentation when they thanked NISH for welcoming us and said they felt like they were at home at NISH. I agree that I never thought I could feel like I was home halfway across the globe from my real home, but NISH showed me that it is possible, and I had one of the most memorable weeks of my life here.
When it was time for us to leave, I couldn’t help but give all the buddies an extra hug goodbye, and I joked with Neela that I should bring her back home with me in my suitcase. One of the other buddies, Ammu, told me that I should stay with them and become a student at NISH, but unfortunately, I don’t think the Krishnan’s or my parents would have let me 😊. I’m going to miss NISH and the buddies dearly, especially after all the fun we had on our outings for shopping and pizza and our dance parties on the bus. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the experiences I have had this week, and for the memories I have made that will last a lifetime.
Post-script by Lata Krishnan:
And the day was not over yet…after all the excitement of the cultural program and goodbyes to buddies, we had a farewell dinner with NISH faculty who have been such gracious hosts this whole week, and done months of prior planning to make our program here so successful – so thank you ALL – each and every one from Maya Chechi and her “gang” who took care of our food and tea and keeping the rooms clean etc..
To Bini, the administrative assistant who works behind the scenes but can answer any question and solve any problem…
And Saumya Mam who organized everything for us last year and passedalong tips to this year’s coordinator
And of course Sita Mam – this year’s coordinator – you ran around and took care of EVERYTHING for our program while still conducting clinical sessions, all the time with a smile on your face – THANK YOU!