Due to some sort of flooding on the Guwahati-Shillong highway, my parents (and the rest of the pilgrimage, for that matter) did not reach Shillong on Sunday as was planned. That night, I consoled myself with the following three items:
Over dinner, Ebe revealed that Jon is a three-time champion runner of all of Pittsburgh, a fact he neglected to tell his surrogate older sisters! Those of you who know me well know that I love making a big stink out of the successes of my peers. So, I am publicly declaring that I’m really proud of Jon (despite the fact I had nothing to do with his wins) and will henceforward refer to him near exclusively as “Mr. Pittsburgh” or “champ.”
Ebe also gave Jon and I a delayed present from First Unitarian of Pittsburgh: Chewy Granola Bars! For those of you who have lived with or around me for the last four years, you know that these granola bars have constituted my breakfast (and the occasional snack) for that time. Pittsburgh Church is awesome.
My family somehow got quite a swanky room in the Hotel Centre Point, located at the tip of the building facing the central circle of Police Bazar. Most importantly, I got to watch Game 3 of the ALDS series (why didn’t I watch Game 4? Sheesh… Oh well, go Sox!) and the end of 10 Things I Hate About You and Live Free or Die Hard. For those of you with taste, you are aware that the latter is the greatest film of 2007, and the former one of the greatest teen movies of all time. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty pleased with my television options.
We also had a really great dinner with Derrick and Darihun from the UUNEI, but really, none of these things replaced time with my family, who I probably won’t see again until I return to the States next summer. But then my parents and the rest of the pilgrimage arrived yesterday around noon! Hoorah! I’m really happy that they enjoyed their first week in India touring the “Golden Triangle” and that they’ve made it out here safe and sound. And they have my absentee ballot! I can vote! Additional hoorahs!
I’m definitely going to miss Kharang this upcoming week, and I can’t wait to show the village to my parents on Thursday. Other highlights include visiting Jowai (where the UUNEI headquarters are located) and Cherrapunjee (which gets more rainfall in a month span than any other place in the world). My parents and I will also take a couple of days in Puriang, the partner church of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax.
Speaking of which, today was our first proper pilgrimage day, and my family along with three others from the Fairfax Church (Bob, Catherine, and Henry) headed out to Puriang. We had a really lovely welcome at the school. Certainly the most impressive part was when the lower primary students performed a pom-pom dance for us – adorable! We visited every class, eat a great lunch, and had a nice meeting with the village’s headman and all of the teachers.
A short note on the MATCH-front: I received an e-mail from my second freshman, Miguel, and learned from current MATCH staff that both of my sophomores passed their MCAS exams (and, in fact, none of our students failed)! The latter news is especially important, as Massachusetts gives scholarships based on MCAS scores, and the MCAS is MATCH’s main benchmark for if we’re getting the students up to speed. Congrats to all the students, parents, tutors, teachers, and staff who push MATCH students to college success and beyond!🙂