Last week! We made a promise to ourselves that we will not cry, we will smile until the last moment together and leave the tears for later;) Last week was emotional for all of us but we had to push hard through it to make the most of Asha’s improving English skills and growing confidence. Tuesday was difficult for Asha – as expected, the three-quarters through her stay the lodging for home and family kicked in. Asha bravely requested a call with her parents and so there were tears on both sides of the line. It’s quite amazing how this short call and chat to parents and friends helped! Asha bounced back quickly and focussed on studies and last week of experiences again (well, with a little help of Facebook friends, Poppy and bubbles! ;))
The very same day as the call with her parents, we took Asha to our local youth club for the Tuesday Sweatbox session. This place welcomes over 100 young people each Friday but Tuesdays are quiet and very friendly, so we thought it would be a good way to cheer her up. Asha really enjoyed the place and company – so much so that she responded to my teasing and got up on the stage to perform a full song in Hindi. It was a real little moment of her shining which showcased her energy, talent and determination. Boys and girls from Sweatbox really enjoyed her performance and encouraged her to continue singing in the future.
On Wednesday I had a meeting to plan Wantage Summer Festival at our local Vale & Downland Museum so Asha had the opportunity to browse through it and learn about the local history on her own.
On Thursday Asha learned about Scotland and had a perfect opportunity to test her new knowledge later on – when we visited another friend from Dawid’s school and her friends. A huge thank you to Emma for organising this afternoon and for the wonderful Indian food!
Friday night was a bit of a surprise trip to Oxford. My old friend from Germany, Kristina, visthe UKed UK and told us about our mutual friend, Sarah, who recently moved from Appleton Lock to Oxford Osney Lock. I took kids on the bus again, we walked along the river, talked to narrow boat owners, watched baby swans on the water and finally enjoyed sitting down in the sun at the lock and catching up with friends.
After the visit to the Lock, we moved on to Oxford Wheels Project skate park where Asha could enjoy a bit of practising again. Once again the community proved supportive and the first drop was supported by a fellow skateboarder so Asha could enjoy new hights. It was so lovely to hear him say to his friend: “She is much better than I was when I was her age!”
Ont the way back we stopped for a photo shoot with this gorgeous cat – Asha loves animals!
On Saturday morning we have arrived at Saltdean and met up with friends from Brighton. First, we found a lovely Italian cafe and enjoyed a great selection of sweets for breakfast;) Then Margot, an established food blogger, appeared with her family. She was so amazing: she prepared a zebra cake the very same morning so we got to enjoy a fresh, still warm cake on the beach on a rather cold and windy day.
I hope to find out one day how it felt for Asha to stand at the Ocean for the first time but I did see that she was stunned, amazed and happy at the same time. As everything else so far, she was taking this new experience in fully.
Then we wnet back to Brighton, to our friends’ house, rested, kids played and we also managed to do a walk int he area.
On the way back in the afternoon, early evening, we stopped at Hove to enjoy the sun which came out and made our last moments at the Ocean rather lovely. Kids had a lot of fun!
Sunday was sunny with predicted rain for the rest of Asha’s stay so we had to make the most of it. First we visited the Burton-upn-Water with its lovely model village.
Then we showed Asha that the village does actually look just like in the model version of it – we sat down and had a picnic in the sun with kids dipping their feet in the water.
On the way back we stopped at the Millets Farm for a circus performance – which was actually really tiring – the tent proved very hot! We made it though and the ice-cream afterwards rescued the mood;)
After ice-cream, waiting for Dan to come and pick us up – we had a moment to check out the Millets Falconry. We watched a short presentation and checked out birds of prey, ferrets, baby skunks (I have never seen baby skunks muself!) and other cute animals. Asha said hello to the Indian owl and later on met baby owls too.
It was an intense week with a lot of studies, work and visiting. Monday was a bank holiday in the UK but for Asha it was the day of her last lesson with Bethany.
And now we are packed and ready to go to the airport! I cannot believe how time flies! I will need to time to reflect on this time with Asha, but I can say one thing for now: it has been a privilege to have her over!