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“Good morning ma’am! Welcome to class IIIA,” shouted an exuberant class of third graders.

On our third day of class at Vidya School, my teaching partner, Kristina, and I entered our first class of the morning, frantic and sweaty from the boisterous, honk-filled streets of New Delhi. While we had prepared a syllabus the night before that targeted the student’s current work with synonyms, we were pleasantly surprised when the teacher asked, “Do you know any paper-folding activities?” Kristina and I looked blankly at each other for a second and then I remembered how much I loved to fold fortune tellers with my classmates when I was little. “Yes!” I responded, as I looked back at the eager group of little ones leaning over the edges of their desks. Kristina and I soon began distributing paper and I assumed my position at the chalkboard to lead the class in our paper folding expedition.

“Their ceaseless energy, questions and especially the creative fortunes that were written under the flaps of their fortune tellers have made it clear to me that although we have grown up across the world from one another, we have still shared the same joy in activities that allow us to escape to other realities and imagine our futures and our fortunes.”

I began to fold the paper up against the blackboard, frequently looking back at the class to watch their progress in following my muddled instructions. I was relieved to see that the kids were following along effortlessly, with bright smiles. It was apparent that some of the kids had definitely made fortune tellers before. When I asked a couple of the clear experts if they were familiar with the activity, they were quick to reply affirmatively. Why had they not stopped me when they knew that I would be repeating something they had already mastered? I soon realized that this activity was not only a fun way to pass time through folding paper and then goofily quizzing your friends to determine their fortune, but it was a way to abstractly and innocently imagine the future and its abundant possibilities.

Kristina, and I have been paired with the second and third grade at Vidya School, assisting classes IIA, IIB, IIIA and IIIB. While we also meet with both a sixth grade and ninth grade class once a week, we have found this younger group of children to be an inspiration and reminder of the endless capacities of imagination and opportunity. Their ceaseless energy, questions and especially the creative fortunes that were written under the flaps of their fortune tellers have made it clear to me that although we have grown up across the world from one another, we have still shared the same joy in activities that allow us to escape to other realities and imagine our futures and our fortunes.

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