Welcome Back!


My apologies for not posting for over 2 months now. Circumstances for me in the village had been taxing on me leading up to a much needed break back home in the states. I guess the hiatus I took from blogging shows how I felt I needed to take more than a few steps back from the whole situation and just recuperate in more ways than one. But now having sorted out visa issues and gotten on the plane back to India, I'm back, honestly feeling renewed and ready to finish the commitment I made to the best of my ability.

Having been gone for such a long time, I received a number of different welcome back's. My Spoken English students wouldn't stop telling me that I was "late" and that Zach had been trying to convince them that the reason was because I had been attacked by a leopard. My co-teacher, shaking hands with one hand and wrapping the other around my shoulder, told me that teaching alone felt weirdly different and was glad that I was back. Everyone had their own way of saying welcome back, but it wasn't until last night that I really felt like I received the homecoming India was waiting to give me.

Leslie, program director for Princeton in Asia, was flying into Mumbai to visit our site, so I had left with our town driver to pick her up from the airport. Vimul, our driver, is one of the most trustworthy guys we have in the village, and in more than 25 years of driving experience, he had never once been in an accident (and that's saying a lot driving in India). Someone who rides with Vimulbhai for the first time would never know his safety track record though. He weaves in and out of traffic, aggressively cutting off cars to jockey for position on the roads and highways that are more often than not extremely congested.

It was around 6:00pm, a few hours into our trip back to the village when Vimulbhai swerved into a lane in between two big trucks. Unexpectedly, the truck in front of us slammed on its breaks, forcing Vimulbhai to make an abrupt stop as well. I tensed up for a split second, waiting for the sound of screeching tires from the truck behind us and bracing for a possible impact. No sound, so I loosened up. But then BAM. The back of my head slammed on the headrest. I threw up my hands quick enough to stop myself from hitting the seat in front of me. Glass from the back window showered over us. The driver of the truck behind us was an extremely young boy, 14 years old, and wasn't tall enough enough to see over his dashboard that Vimulbhai had swerved right in front of him.

Thankfully no one was seriously hurt. Sore necks and a bruise on the head were the worst injuries. I just sat in the back of the van while Vimulbhai, the truck driver, and other witnesses yelled at each other in a mixture of Gujarati and Hindi that I could barely understand. Yes, India, I'm back, and I missed you, too.


Grace said...

glad you're okay :)

Tim said...

I second the above (glad to know that you are ok). Enjoy the time you have left in India, it will go by quicker than you think.

cindi said...

aww eric glad you're okay :)

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