The past couple days have been a bit of a blur. Preema Didi and Milan Bhai had their engagement party. Who knew that wedding-like parties were thrown for engagements in India? The children are now on their winter break so there is a lot of free time. Rashmi Didi, the woman who runs Sri Ram, wants me to do art with the kids after study hall and perhaps teach some dance classes. What did I get myself into when I said I took dance lessons for fifteen years, but haven’t seriously danced in four?
It has been exciting to learn a bit more about each child here, and I still have much more to learn. Ansula Didi has claimed me as her best friend and never leaves my side. She explains what is going on when all of her sisters are talking in Hindi that way I can keep up. Baby Aaradyah Bhai also loves to hang out with me. For a while yesterday he wouldn’t let anyone else hold him except for me. He is adorable! He just points to things he wants or would like to see. Aaradyah Bhai really loves cars so we spent some time looking at the cars yesterday. Something I’ve find very interesting is that the children know what they need to do and actually care about their religion. They practice daily without prompting from the staff. That doesn’t mean the older brothers and sisters don’t move things along and get the younger ones going!
I see a lot of myself and my sister in the children here. Older brothers and sisters take on the roles of authority figures and the younger ones do their best to push their buttons. It makes me laugh because I know I’ve made Sara listen to me and follow my orders, a lot, because I’m older and I know more…
I had a lot of fun getting ready for the engagement party with the girls. I think the girls spent the entire day practicing their dances (which had to be perfect), doing their hair, and choosing their outfits. It reminded me of dance recital time with glitter and make up everywhere. Little did I know when I came here that I would be asked to do practically everyone’s hair and make up. All I heard yesterday was, “Aimée Didi, please do my make up like hers,” and “Aimée Didi, can you fix my hair?” I loved every minute of it, but it was definitely past my 8:00 bedtime when the party started. I think the girls had more fun getting ready for the party than at the party, especially because it poured rain for a good portion of the night and the tent was not waterproof, oops! We all rolled into bed around midnight, and now everyone is looking forward to another wedding on the 21st. I didn’t realize that I came during wedding season!
Something I haven’t felt until now was the awkward, you’re a foreigner, you have light skin and dark features, I want to talk to you thing. No one Sri Ram is phased by that, but the guests at the party were a different story. I wanted to fit in so I wore a traditional Indian frock suit, but that doesn’t hide the fact that I’m still white as can be with short brown hair. It honestly made me a little sad when the girls were talking about how my skin would look good with any color dress and that they wished they had lighter skin. I’m never really sure how to take these comments or compliments for that matter so I just smiled and said thank you, but told them all the reasons they were beautiful too. Although I had fun, I’m glad it’s over and things can go back to normal. I think everyone should experience being the center of attention purely because of their skin color. It’s not a nice feeling, but you might understand what many individuals in our world feel like on a daily basis.
It’s time for breakfast soon, and I’m sure all the kids are getting antsy. Ansula Didi kept commenting that the food made by the caterers on fancy white plates last night was not nearly as good as the food we eat on our thalis while sitting on the floor. I couldn’t help but to smile at her comments. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is simple living and how challenging yet wonderful it is. I still miss long hot showers and being able to do my laundry whenever I please, but beyond that, the simple things are so much better. Everything here at Sri Ram is done out of love for their brothers and sisters. I think we’ve all become such individuals back home that we forget the importance of actually being with the people around us. Each day every child here knows they are loved and included.