Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And the Awards Go To...

I’ve literally and figuratively hiked mountains and rode waves all around the world this year. While it’s all been a thrill, I undoubtedly have been most impacted not by where I’ve gone or what I’ve done but by the people with whom I’ve shared this experience.
And the awards for Supporting Roles go to…
Nagamani for her role as Aloor Primary School student. There she taught me that even the most simple of things are not to be taken for granted - houses, education, and even birthdays alike.
Srinu for his role as dedicated driver. The language and cultural barriers between us highlighted for me how actions speak louder than words.
Mekor Chaim Gas Station Guy for his role as the unknown identity. We developed a relationship over the 4 months where I would cut through the gas station lot and you would come greet me with a free newspaper and brief dialogue. I never knew if you are Arab or Israeli - that speaks volumes.
James T. Cat for his role as the fattest cat alive. You had such character and still make me laugh when I think of you.
Swadesh for her role as my Mysore mother.  My first and only homestay was with you. What a genuine and unforgettable experience it was!
Bakshi for his role as the boundary-lacking landlord. Your eccentric character and odd habits were, well, eccentric and odd. I’m not sure what I learned from you but I am sure I still laugh when I think about you, too.
The Arab Social Worker for her role as the woman who picked me up when I hitchhiked on Naqba Day… whoops. Our conversation in just 10 minutes gave me so much hope for what can be between Jews and Arabs.
Mo for his role as our Jordanian guide. You were patient as I practiced my Arabic, you opened my eyes to a new part of the world, and you became an unforgettable friend.
Mamoo for his role as Mamoo.
The receptionists at Woodland Hostel in Delhi for their joint role as ideal customer service workers. You locked our door every time we left the room, you slept on the freezing lobby floor throughout the night, and you even jumped out of “bed” to welcome us back to the hostel at 3 am. I think twice now each time I have a complaint.
The Taj Deccan Vallet Guy with the Giant Moustache for his simple role as just a character I don’t want to forget.
The Agra Tour Guide for his role as Mr. Phil’s biggest fan. It was when we got a private tour of the souvenir shop that I knew you had our backs. Good looking out.
And, last but not least, the Mosquitos for their role as the skeets. We got lots of mileage off you guys.

Now, the awards for Leading Roles go to…
Yonatan for his role as the visionary. There’s no greater gift you can give someone than the chance to experience their own lives in a more meaningful way. I am forever grateful for your vision and your dedication to carrying it out.
Noa for her role as the scholar. Aside from being our director and becoming such a great friend, you taught me a tremendous amount about Israeli culture and the different lenses through which I can examine it. You’re not only brilliant but you translate your knowledge articulately and fairly.
Gabe for his role as my rock. No matter what, you were the one who unconditionally supported me and always had my back. You are a true friend.
Phil for his role as comic relief. Your Jordanian flute, Sims characters, language, skeet swatting, and even your ‘cheese-y’ pranks make me laugh.
Alex for his role as retriever. For reals… you definitely met some of the coolest people we befriended this year and if it wasn’t for your initiative we may have never known the IDEXers, Michelle, or even the Scoops staff.
Nu for her role as ambassador. With each day that passes I am more and more moved by conversations we had regarding Israeli culture and politics. Your presence enhanced my year tremendously.
Amy for her role as editor. Editing photos with you was one of the most fun things I did in the entire 9 months. Forget weekend trips to exotic Indian places… on the couch with your editing programs is totally where it’s at. Thanks for all the good laughs J
Rachel for her role as Partner in Crime. Peace Corps, Puzzle, Enchanted Castle, Wingmen, Opposite wingmen, Settlers, cousins, Hatzazuki… we did it all.
Gopal for his role as my Indian date. Through the ups, downs, good times, and challenges, we made it out the other end with sweet memories of weekend getaways, lazy days, and unparalleled adventures. I’m so grateful to have shared so much of my Indian journey with you.
Varun for his role as the Settlers instructor. It’s impossible for me to ever play that game and not think of you.  I think back so fondly on our Sunday Gamedays, your tremendous generosity, and your superior hosting. I look forward to our next re-match… (accompanied with Abbey Roads!)
Kib, IDEX fellows, Rajesh, Rahul, Megha, Sashi, and co., for your roles as such fun friends. You all showed me such a good time in Hyderabad and definitely helped us throw some of the best parties. Good times…
Arvind and the folks at MVF for your roles as my co-workers. The time we drove back from Kurnool and I woke up at 3 AM thinking you all were dead was when I truly realized how much I appreciate you and your work. Your patience, guidance, and friendliness made my experience as an intern incredibly rich and worthwhile.
Zobes for your role as the Energizer Bunny. You are tremendously supportive, always available, and I love that feeling of “what just happened?” whenever you leave the room. Your spirit is lively, energetic, and so warm. You, too, are a gift.
Nikki for her role as my twin. Your energy and active nature inspire me.
Nir, Tomer, Eyal, and Guy for your roles as fun lovers. Your relaxed and fun-loving attitudes are so contagious and make for such a good time! So much of my deeper and positive connection to Israel is credited to you 4. Next stop… Vegas!
Naftali for his role as the supportive supervisor. Your kindness, warmth, encouragement, and enthusiasm created such an enjoyable team to be a part of.
Becky, Asher, Jess, Aunt Charlotte and fam for their roles as the role models. You guys and your families made a tremendous impact on me. You each live your lives with such intention, awareness, and consciousness – I truly aspire to live my life in such a way as you each do. We laughed a lot together, you guys took such good care of me, and it was tons of fun really getting to know you as an adult. I think of you each so often and can’t wait to visit again.
Jomi and Sarah for their roles as lifelong friends. I found so much comfort in knowing you two were just a phone call away at all times. I loved each minute spent with you both and am so privileged to have you both as such dear, lifelong friends.
Aaron and Danny for their roles as passionate Israeli soldiers. You guys showed me what true passion for Israel looks like and demystified so much of the army experience for me. You two are such gentlemen and I think back so happily on that day we spent together. I hope it’s just the first of more to come.
Amanda, Michelle, Alex, Ran, and PresenTense friends for your roles as friends with great perspective. You each do life so differently and all so gracefully. Observing your commitments to social justice and your communities helped me get a better sense of where I see myself personally and where I want to be professionally. There was such a natural click with all our new friendships and I’m blessed that you each have entered my life.

Well… this year rocked my world, rattled it at times too, and through it all I think I’ve experienced something significant – the opportunity to be inspired and forever changed by each of you. It’s incredible to look back at this list and think that you all were missing from my life just one year ago. How much fuller my life is now…
My experiences this year strengthened the parts of myself I already knew and brought to light parts of myself with which I was less familiar. I’m so privileged to have experienced this year of growth, laughter, challenge, and connection.
With gratitude and much love,

P.S. I could watch this a million times and it never gets old...

No comments:

Post a Comment