One more day left and this teaching job is over. 5 weeks after I arrived in Kayamkulam and I’ll be leaving so soon with having gained so much by being here. It’s been a crazy time, I have to say.
Where to start; with the most recent happening: getting sick. Again. I’ve been sick on 2 occasions, when I first arrived in this town and only just 2 days ago. I got a hold of the same virus. Never have I managed to get so sick, 2 times in such a short space of time, since travelling. It made me wonder if my body is starting to reject this country. The thoughts that this country may be damaging my health, made me want to leave and so I’ve had some homesickness to deal with. Such emotional drama I can cause myself! The urge to want to leave India goes just a quickly as it comes. But when it’s there, it’s so ferocious and powerful that India can go from being my best friend to being my worst nightmare. Then the “going gets tough” because there’s nobody I can speak to. There’s nobody to help me see things clearly and I can be overcome with a feeling of desperation. But it has to pass, and it always does.. Eventually. And of course the magic returns and the world is, once again, an amazing place.
How did I end up getting sick again? Well, I’m not going to go into any details but very briefly: I got in contact with a family in a tiny place called Chagganacherry. It’s 2 hours by train from here. I found out about this family through a special person who is in Europe at the moment and who I met in Thailand. He wanted me to meet this family, as he had also stayed with them when he was travelling in India. So I did. The world is such a big place and to be staying so “near” to a family who he has been in close contact with, made the world feel so much smaller all of a sudden. So I went, and spent a day and a night with the family. Such nice people. But I’m not too sure what they were feeding me. All I know it was an enormous amount of a particular type of food I really don’t like - called parotha (even local people can‘t stomach it properly!). I came back to the hostel on Sunday morning and I was struck by symptoms of the flu and a virus again. It passed though after 24 hours and I didn’t miss any days at school, which I was so happy about; seeing as though my days are running out.
My time is nearly done and yesterday I was suddenly offered a position here at the school. I’ve decided against it though. The hostel where I’m staying is making me want to leave. I’m not comfortable here and wouldn’t consider staying in this place for any longer. For these past weeks, it’s been okay, because it’s only been temporary. But now I’m done with just about everything; with the mouse that roams the rooms and was only just paying me and my clothes a visit; with the bathroom being so dirty with grime and grease that I would rather not go to the toilet for 24 hours than walk on the bathroom floor barefoot; with the Indian tv that is always blaring the dining room and forces me to sit in this small and untidy bedroom. I’m done with the bed being so rock-hard that my bones ache in the middle of the night; with not having anywhere to properly wash and dry my clothes; with people walking in and out of the room without knocking. I don’t like to complain, but those are how things are here and I’m not going to miss them! On the other hand I’ll miss a few of the people, my roommate Litty especially. And a few other girls who have made me feel at home, instead of like an alien in a country I feel so blessed to be in. Such a contrast: almost being rejected by the rudeness of some people, yet still loving the nature of this country, and with such a huge population, it’s the people who make the place! How interesting; it just goes to show that I can switch-off to certain vibes people can try to pass my way.
When talking about the hostel like this, it may sound like I’m either living in a run-down squat or I’m extremely spoilt. Well, neither is the truth. I’ve stayed in far worse places than this, but have felt more at ease. It’s a bad vibe I get when I’m here. For this to be my reason for not taking the job, seems to be superficial: Niamh can’t handle some dirt and bad vibes! Well I can, but something else is not quite right. I feel bad for letting this get the better of me and for choosing to leave these precious kids I love so much. I’ve even been told by the head of the school, that I’m needed and that both the teachers and students would all benefit from me being there. This has been my first teaching experience and therefore an experience with a deeper meaning. So I know I must be able to distance myself from it and it will make me stronger. I have to leave. It will be good for me to get out on my own again so I can do as I please without having to answer to anybody. Any important decisions I’m needing to make and any alone-time I may need, I can have as much of it as I want. So I’m leaving and am so grateful for the experience and so full of love for the kids and all they have given me. I’m aware that the love these kids give is something that you don’t come across very often.. It’s what has made this whole experience here in Kayamkulam all the more special - one never to forget. The last day awaits…