Our last few days at Mandala flew by. Actually, the whole five weeks flew by.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Jackson, Lyndsey, James and I all piled into a cab at about 8 a.m. and headed to Anjuna market. None of us had been before and since we all had the morning off, decided this would be the day to do it. The market is sprawling over a main road and creeps right up to the shore.
Its spacious, open and going in the morning is a brilliant idea. Just briefly we wandered into the ‘hippie’ zone, but since everything there was basically the same as the local stuff, we decided the inflated price and attitude didn’t deserve our limited time.
That said, without a budget I would have bought this 5,000 rupee dress in a heartbeat…Okay and realistically these gold pendants too…
The market was beautiful and I do believe is one of my absolute favorite markets so far!
Perhaps it was that I was thinking about how I would need to pack my backpack that evening, but I ended up leaving with only a handful of things. I got an elephant printed toe ring, a ganesh incense holder and an emerald bead to create something for later.
While Jackson and Lyndsey decided to be smart and head back to the cab waiting in the parking lot, I convinced James to make use of every spare minute and all of the sudden I realized those pretty detailed ceramic looking piles of things definitely needed to come home with us.
So we went on the 2 minute search for drawer knobs. Drawer knobs? I’m kidding right? Nope, the Martha Stewart in me is back in full swing.
You bet I had a blast digging through the brightly colored options searching for ‘the’ drawer knob that I will someday put to beautiful use.
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
It was our last day at Mandala.
Looking back, this place was exactly what we needed and wouldn’t exchange it for anything different. Having Jackson and Lyndsey arrive was a godsend, a good reminder to get excited about this adventure rather than focus on the things we miss.
These things will be there when we are ready to return to them.
So we spent the day happily reflecting. We finished a load of laundry, packed our bags, said some goodbyes and made one last walk to the beach.
Sitting on the beach, we both became silent and began to reflect on what has happened and what is about to come. As much as we may have wanted to be on auto-pilot and take a reset break during our 5 week volunteer vacay in Goa, I think it’s safe to say I learned a few things.
There were some interesting personalities along the way here, and how we chose to (or not to) deal with them was an entertaining experiment. I continue to learn how to deal with personalities I likely wouldn’t encounter in my normal world at home.
So for these introductions, I’m grateful. It tests my patience, BIG TIME. Getting to work with locals inside of a business operating in India was a treat. I learned a lot. I was warned that my way of thinking of the why and how things are done would be challenged.
Whomever it was that warned me, thank you.
The whole five weeks has been inspiring thanks to three individuals: Manoj (29), Ramit, and Netish (19). These guys are smart. Dang, are they smart. Netish can speak Hindi, Nepali, and English. While he writes in the first two, he very quickly learned how to do the last. Ramit went to school and studied language. It is amazing but not surprising then that overnight he went from being nearly mute to engaging in long, fullfiling conversations. He is brilliant.
Manoj. Oh Manoj. This boy has a heart of gold. He smiles. Always. He works so hard and takes pride in every gram of work he puts onto a plate. If you ask him for something and he doesn’t want to do it, he will look at you with his kapha eyes and say “Sure, why not? No problem.” Having these three guys around everyday was a gift from someone somewhere that knows dang well what’s best for me. I truly wish the best for these three.
I asked James, “When were rich, can we come back and get these guys?” James delivered a smile that meant he would let me believe that forever, but realistically this would be the last day I would say goodmorning and goodnight to these boys. I wish there were more people like this on the planet. The world could use them.
We cleaned up and packed up and sat in the restaurant for one last time. I listened to the sound of the propane flame and Hindi laughs float behind the curtain. The smell of spices stained the air. More than any other moment I appreciated this place more than I ever had.
Funny how that works right? In every relationship, vacation, celebration, good meal, I always become flooded with gratitude and can clearly identify what I found happiness in the very second before its over.
That’s life right? Maybe the humble ones see this from the start. Who knows.
We said our goodbyes and took a cab to Thivum train station.
Friday, February 14th, 2013
Our train was delayed an hour. It was of course a gorgeous night so we hung out next to the tracks before we realized one hour meant two. By 7:30 p.m. we switched platforms and jumped on the train.
We had 2AC tickets (meaning there are two tiers of bunks per berth). It was a massive car with two levels of beds lining the hall and then four places together in one cabin separated by curtains.
Despite the fact that I was on bottom next to the car door and the man selling chapati needs to scream to the Himalayas that chapati and chai are for sale every 15 minutes, I slept like a rock and we were ready to roll the next morning to explore a new southern city.
I was up around 7 a.m. and hung out the side of the train watching green and orange scenery pass and people getting an absolute kick out of running and jumping on and off the train.
By 9:30 a.m. we were at Kochi station. We waited 45 minutes for our rickshaw driver. He took us out of the industrial area towards Fort Cochin where we would spend the next two nights.