And here there it was – my special, magical day! It was my 20th birthday – the day I was no longer a teenager!
I woke up really early and I was feeling very beautiful, calm, and relaxed. I decided to read a little bit before going out. After a while, someone knocked on my door very intensely. I thought it was the cleaner Boblu, but when I opened the door, I was quite surprised. The best birthday surprise I’ve ever had! A part of my students was standing in front of my hotel room, holding some handmade beautiful cards and a big bouquet of my favorite flowers – white roses.
S. has driven them by to visit me. It was wonderful! In this moment, I felt like I was flying from happiness. Tears started flowing inside my eyes. Tears of real, true happiness – a unique emotion. I wish you would feel the same one day! I invited my students to come and gave them some chocolates. We talked, we laughed, but soon it was time for them to go, so their parents wouldn’t worry. I love these kids and now when I am writing about this moment of joy I cannot remove the smile off my face. I love them with all my heart and if I had the possibility, I would adopt them all to live with me in a big house, together. The cards they made for me were so gorgeous and I even noticed every kid was wearing some new clothes. I think they have some for special occasions, which in this situation happened to be my birthday. Their young teacher Paris’s birthday! How was it possible not to feel fantastic?!
8th of September! I had an amazing birthday in India. After the gorgeous surprise I have received I went to the hairdresser to do my hair and the hair-stylist, who was my friend, gave me a pair of cute green earrings, which were fitting my outfit, as a present. I was amazed by the generosity of these people and the gestures they made even without knowing me very well.
While I was at the salon, the mother of S.,called me with a proposal to go to her house for lunch. I accepted the kind invitation and when I went there, I was again nicely surprised. They have prepared everything I liked the most for a lunch and they greeted me with very thoughtful and kind wishes.
Really, I felt so special because of the attention I received. After the lunch it was time for the daily lessons with the children in our after school program. In the center, I was honored with more surprises, more postcards and many hugs.
I decided to make the lessons funnier, so I gave some chocolates to the kids and let them play games.
Unfortunately, some of them were not attending, because at this time in Udaipur there was a special festival. After the funny lessons in the center, S. and I went to the festival in the village with the rest of the kids.
When I went back in the hotel, I received many birthday wishes from all of the staff. I was feeling very pleased because all of them respect and appreciate my work for the Indian kids, for their kids. I went to dinner with S., although I didn’t eat because have I promised my friend – Kapil to have dinner with him. I wanted return the gesture S. made that day – organizing the surprise with the kids and the lunch with his family. During dinner, one of the waiters brought me a card, very beautiful one, from the painter – Madam.
He was wishing me a lot of luck and success.
I went to the hotel to change my clothes and then went out again with Kapil. On my way, I passed by to say hello to another Indian – who later became a dear friend – Rakesh. I met him in his clothes shop the day before, because I was searching for something I could wear on my birthday.
When doing a voluntary work abroad, usually I don’t carry any formal clothes – only t-shirts and some sportswear so I could be comfortable while having activities with the kids. I wanted to make some dress for the next day, but it was too late when I finally found that shop. Anyway, we had a small talk with Rakesh, and then he had some work and went away. I stayed for a while looking at some catalogues showing his previous designs and while doing that – his assistant came with a piece of chocolate cake. The best pre-birthday gift I have received. As I have already mentioned, many things in the culture of the Indians amazed me. They are so kind and gentle, even with the strangers. And they are very patient, always making some spare time for a short conversation. I passed by the shop, which was just next to my hotel, left some chocolates and then went to meet the doctor. We had an amazing dinner in a very chic place called “Lalit” and after that went for drinks in 1559 – the place where we first met. I can’t remember ever since that night, when I last had so much fun. We talked and laughed so much, we danced. He is the funniest man I have ever met. He gave me a present – poetry book, because he knew how much I love to read. Then he drove me back to the hotel. I was so tired, but that was the best birthday, full of so many positive emotions and nice people in India.
Those memories fulfill me even nowadays. So great!! I saw I had many messages and birthday wishes from my family and friends, but I was too tired to read them. Before I fell asleep, I was thinking how fortunate I am in my life, having the most amazing friends and family and that wonderful possibility to help people all over the world. And those incredible Indian students with the most blissful smiles.. The love I received that day from all of my loved ones was the most beautiful, the purest, the headiest emotion I have ever had. So I fell asleep with the same wonderful smile, I have right now on my face, remembering that 20th birthday of mine..