Tsukumo’s Week 7: Going home, going home 

Going home, going home, I'm just going home Quiet-like, some still light, I'm just going home... These are some of the lyrics from the song "Going Home", version by Annie Haslam. And how fitting it is for my final week at NIRMAN and Varanasi. I taught this song to 8th and 9th grade students as I was introducing them to solfège (singing the melody in Do-Re-Mi) and Western orchestra (the melody comes from Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"). In Dvorak's composition, the "big brother" of oboe called English horn plays this melody as a solo, which was why it was nice to teach this song to demonstrate my oboe. And apparently, as proven by the fact that all these students sung this song for me at the farewell party today, they really enjoyed this song. Today was my last day of internship at NIRMAN. It felt like this day would never come at the beginning of this internship, but I have taught my last classes, students and teachers have said goodbye to me, and my bags are entirely full with some precious gifts and memories. My last week of internship was full of opportunities left and right. I finished up teaching the syllabus for first trimester of 8th grade history, as well as music class for 8th and 9th grades. They were challenging groups of kids to work with -- they were middle schoolers, after all, who were not always willing to listen to teachers and behave in class. However, they are eager to learn the music I am teaching, even if it is very different from what they know. They performed these songs to their parents that attended the monthly Parents' Workshop at NIRMAN, which was a wonderful showcase of what we have learned this month. I am so proud of how far they have come, learning the melody and English lyrics in just a few weeks. This morning, 8th and 9th grade students prepared a farewell party for me. Students shared what they enjoyed about my teaching, and I shared my appreciation and gratitude for the students and teachers. They also prepared thank you cards for me, which had some sweet messages about my classes. As naughty as they sometimes were, they are some of the most genuine and intelligent students I have ever worked with. This week was also special because another SiSA fellow, Hanna Pfershy, was visiting me for a couple of days. We explored some different attractions in Varanasi as well as nearby towns of Sarnath (one of the most important Buddhist sites in India) and Ramnagar (residence of former maharaja, or king, of Varanasi). She also served as my personal photographer, which I will share here shortly. (Thank you, Hanna!) She left with me today to begin her internship in Kerala; you will see her stories on this blog also. It was certainly a bittersweet week, as I said goodbyes to people that have been so kind and supportive throughout my stay. No words can express my appreciation for these people that have made my experience memorable and full of learning. But I'm also excited to go home and see my family and friends again. I will probably also need some time to process everything that happened in India to appreciate them even more. Going home, going home, I'm just going home... Till next time, India.
Class 8 and 9 students and me at the farewell party.

Class 8 and 9 students and me at the farewell party.

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About Tsukumo Niwa

Tsukumo is a junior with a double major in Oboe Performance and International Studies. After graduation, she is interested in finding a career that would allow her to combine her passions for social justice, the arts and multicultural understanding. Tsukumo has engaged in a wide variety of projects dealing with social justice, including the Prison Creative Arts Project, Diversity Peer Educator program at the University Housing, and IGR CommonGround.

3 thoughts on “Tsukumo’s Week 7: Going home, going home 

  1. The end is typically so bittersweet. I know you have so many memories and you have taught these children so much, and learned a lot yourself! What a wonderful time abroad.

  2. Hi Tsukumo! Congratulations on finishing your internship. It sounds like you have had an amazing experience – and that you were able to share your gift for music and passion for education with many others. Do you have any videos of the performance? I’d love to see them. I know that goodbyes are hard, but you will always be able to revisit your memories and hopefully return to India.

  3. That’s so great they sang that song to you as you were leaving! That’s really sweet, and a testament to your teaching! The goodbyes are hard, but also show how meaningful the relationships were that you built.

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