The night before we all left, our instructors held a ceremony for us. We stood in a circle around a small brazier on the roof of our guesthouse. Each of us ha a piece a paper with us, on it we had written one thing we wanted to let go of. One by one, we went up and burned the paper in the brazier. On a mat next to the brazier was layed out a variety of pairs of necklaces. We chose a neckless and made a promise that in ten days we would contact the person with the matching necklace. A gift exchange ensued, followed by a moment of silence. Slowly, we made our way through the darkened streets of Darjeeling toward our last dinner together. We ate, we laughed, we reminisced about our time together and suddenly it was time to go back the Andy’s. The next morning, those of us who were staying rose early to say goodbye to those who were leaving. We followed them to their jeeps, shared a hug, a handshake, a few tearfull words and then they were gone.

Jacob Broida