See You Again Soon!

|Author; Thea|

To the rest of the GCIL, this Sunday is going to be the first major goodbye, but to team BuDa, it is our third.

Our first goodbyes were at Angadibail when we left BuDa Folklore Culture Center after our first rural visit. Team BuDa dedicated more than 20 hours listening to the rural communities and the Halakki sharing their stories, trying to learn more about their livelihoods, and documenting their beautiful culture. Even though the trip was short, the interaction was limited, and the language barrier was a challenge, the relationship we built was strong. That was a culture shock to us coming from Washington state with Seattle Freeze culture. I captured the video of two Halakki elders cracking a joke of “ hi, and now bye” while they were waving their hands as if they were shooing us away. But I realise they were just trying to hide their emotions behind the smiling faces. Their eyes lit up when we said we would visit their Hamlet in our next visit. That was heartwarming!

Our second major goodbyes were at Honnavar when we visited BuDa Folklore Research Center. I shared my story of Sukri’s daughter in law in my previous blog post. Yet I haven’t mentioned how sad she was seeing us leaving after a mere thirty minute conversation. Was it because she already missed her armrest aka me? Oh, I forgot to mention, she rested her arm on me for a solid 10-15 minutes as we were listening to Sukri. Tristan was “kind” enough to capture that moment which has now become the iconic photo for our BuDa Kiddos Whatsapp group. A few women and she kept saying byes to us and didn't look away till they couldn’t see our shadows anymore. The daughter in law was not the only one that we interacted with; there were Nugli-the Halakki performer, 15 young Halakki men, and Sativa’s family. It was not easy to say goodbye to all of them.

Our third ones are to the GCIL and ILK family this Sunday, and they are going to be the hardest. I know I would take time to thank and say goodbye to each and everyone individually. Except for the ILK family, I would surely see the GCIL family again back to Seattle; however, why does it still feel so sad? The last 10 weeks have been really amazing experiences for everyone, my team, and me. We did everything together, we dined together, and, "It’s going to be so weird going back to eating lunch alone," Meghan once said. We learnt together, we failed together, but most importantly we got back up stronger together. We went through this meaningful journey together and I hope each and everyone of us comes back to the U.S being transformed one way or another. It is sad to say goodbye now but I’m hopeful that we will see each other again soon. Love you all and take care!

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