It’s Been Awhile.

As we all boarded the bus and headed off to Bangalore airport, our heavy hearts carried mixed emotions. Yes we were excited for the next chapter in our journey, but were we ready to leave? Did we prepare ourselves to leave the second home that ECC created for us? Have we prepared our diet to say goodbye to the afternoon and evening tea time? Have we spent enough time with the children? Did we leave our mark? Will the staff and children remember us?

The Ecumenical Christian Center became our second home. The hospitality, sense of community and friendship that we created with the staff and children brought us happiness and love. Now as we depart, that happiness and love caused us a bit of sadness and a sense of loss. Perhaps, as some may think, it’s best not to build such bonds with others if we already know the sad ending, spoilers. Of course there are no regrets, no regrets to creating memories and experiencing new friendships, but like they say, there is no happiness without sadness, no white without black and no day without night.

On our last day in Bangalore, many of us spent it taking pictures of the campus ground, capturing our favorite quotes, absorbing the beauty and peaceful nature that surrounded us for the past thirty something days and enjoyed a cup of tea outside the Dialogue House.
“India is a country full of extremes,” a quote we heard a lot from speakers and guests and I agree completely. The prefect example is Dharavi, the biggest slum in Asia located in Mumbai, India that’s not too far from a multimillionaire 40 something floors home, and he doesn’t even live there.  Another saying, “You love and hate India,” which goes with the extremes/contrast we see in India. I love the people in India. Again, the hospitality and kindness these strangers offer is more than I could ever ask for. In trying to understand why they are so kind, they simple say, “You are in my country therefor I need to help you.” One day I hope I will be able to provide the same kindness to them.

So what did we “academically” spend our time on? Don’t worry loving and caring parents for we had our fair share of education in India. We learned about the many religions in India: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity and Hinduism. I’m pretty sure we had over 20 different lecturers on each subject and we even got to see temples and climbed 500 steps up a mountain to a Jain temple. Many of us were caught by surprise from the giant statue greeting us at the entrance to the temple. It wasn’t the gargantuan size of the statue or the beauty of it. I think it’s best to ask for yourself when we get back ^^.

From New Delhi to the airport Julie asked us if we would like to share something we wanted to say goodbye to.  I said goodbye to the head bobble and many were happy to say goodbye to cold showers, mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders and all sorts of creepy crawling bugs just waiting to surprise us in our rooms.

Growing up with Bollywood films, learning Indian dances with my sisters and cousins, watching them perform these dances at the Hmong New Year, I feel so happy that I was in India. I probably spent the most money in there as well. All us gals got sarees, many got one, some got more than one and I bought eleven sarees. I have six sisters and we all grew up with Bollywood. I had to get them sarees!

Now as I’m writing this in China, I feel like India was such a long time ago. This global trip is flying by faster than I can imagine and I’m not sure I’m prepared to head back to Minnesota. I can imagine myself lying in my bed at home thinking that these five months was just a dream. I didn’t travel to Switzerland, Turkey, Egypt, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and South Korea, it was all a dream.

I only hope that my memory will allow me to remember the beauty of Mount Seleve, the smell of roasted chestnuts in Turkey, the excitement I felt when I saw the Great Pyramid of Giza, the heat and sweat from the standing under the hot sun at Karnack Temple, the kindness and love from the people of India, the taste of every pad thai meal I had in Thailand, the freedom and luxurious life at the Hyatt in Hong Kong and the tears I cried on Christmas in China with my Global family.

The world didn’t end on December 21st, but Global will on January 26th. I love my Global family. From the bottom of my heart I’m so happy I got share this amazing adventure with each and every single one of you. I’m so happy that my first airplane ride, first camel ride, first hot air balloon ride, first ballet, first time swimming in a body of salt water and I’m sure there’s more, was with all of you. Thank you, all of you.

With love,

Lou Lia Wang

Please enjoy a few of the photos attached from India and Hong Kong

44 Class Room in India Nancy and the children Ian's Birthday New Dheli Causeway Bay in Hong Kong Ocean Park Hyatt Lobby in Hong Kong The View Halloween Doug and Prem Fabulous Corinne and Friends

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