By Hannah Duke
A million thank you’s could never be enough for everyone on this trip—but I’ll try. Here goes:
I’ll start with a thank you to Mr. Alter for all the time he devoted to organizing this trip for us. A thank you to Ms. Showalter for leading me by example during host family dinners. A thank you to Mrs. Smiley for always being the mom figure. A thank you to Mr. Cola for always inspiring and encouraging us to go find our adventurous side. A thank you to Ms. Robertson for always keeping us on track. A thank you to Ms. Sinnenberg for helping us to learn to think beyond ourselves. A thank you to Ms. Belasco for always finding a way to relate our surrounding to the classroom. A thank you to my parents and family members for giving me this opportunity to experience the world. A thank you to our amazing drivers on this trip for keeping us from flying off the side of a mountain. A thank you to Bharat Lodge for providing us with cozy rooms and tasty food. A thank you to Angeli for giving me a best friend halfway around the world. A thank you to Madhu for being the didi I never had. A thank you to Chandra for showing me how strong women are capable of being. A thank you to all the women of Agora. A thank you to Kathryn and Libby for keeping things quiet even when things next door got a little crazy. A thank you to the kids in the middle school for showing genuine curiosity and excitement. A thank you to Colonel for being the dopest dog ever. A thank you to Agora for being my home away from home. A thank you for Lodi Gardens for showing me you can find peace in the most hectic places. A thank you to Karim’s for your naan. A thank you to Dilli Haat. A thank you to C Park Inn for the first shower in six days. A thank you to Port Blair for being warm. A thank you for Anaugama Resort for taking such good care of us. A thank you to Tappa for sharing your beautiful family with us. A thank you to the ANET researchers for sharing your passions. A thank you for the beach for the good times and sunburns. A thank you to Libby, Austin, Rosie, and Kathryn for keeping the room fun. A thank you to Praveen for showing me continuous curiosity, willingness to give, and excitement. And finally, a thank you to perhaps the most amazing person I have ever met: Suman-ji. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for showing us your amazing home. Thank you for always translating. Thank you for always letting me be a part of your family. Thank you for the promised wedding invitations, daily texts, and FaceTime calls. Thank you for teaching me cool handshakes. Thank you for taking millions of selfies with me. Thank you for always joking around. Thank you for being excited. Thank you for making it impossible to ever forget you. Thank you for making this trip what it is. Thank you for being you, Suman.