I have arrived! It was an incredibly long and draining trip, but I’m here and doing well. I got through security in JFK really easily… somehow I managed to get myself in a fast track where I didn’t have to take my shoes off or take out any of my electronics, lucky me! I had some issues trying to check my bag though, and it wasn’t because it was over weight! I had exactly 47 pounds 🙂 Instead they told me I couldn’t go on the trip because I didn’t have my visa, which is not true because I had my reciprocity fee. So as I had minor freak out on the inside, I kept a cool head and told them that no, I could go. To which, after asking the higher powers, they discovered was correct. The wait for the first flight wasn’t too bad and on the plane I made some friends and also slept a little. The view leaving NY was incredible (not my best photo, but you get the just):
Then came the Atlanta airport where I had to take the tram from pretty much one end of the airport to the other. The Atlanta airport is enormous. I could buy more than eight new outfits at eight different stores if I wanted to. Craziness. I found the next gate but had four hours to kill. I figured some of the people there were part of the program, but I kept back. I waited for some time and then my friend Zaza came! She made me more comfortable to talk to the others and we all were chatting before we caught the second plane. We had to get our reciprocity fees checked before boarding and then we were in line. I talked to my parents before leaving and said goodbye to my friends and got some wonderful and encouraging Facebook posts. After that my mother canceled my Verizon plan, so I don’t get any terrible roaming fees (so don’t try to text or call the number you have for me, I’ll have a new one soon). I hadn’t felt like eating much all day, but of course when I got on the plane, I was hungry. I was lucky to get a seat with a girl on my program and we shared our mutual fears with each other. Better than that, we confessed to each other that what we were doing was crazy, but also awesome. The flight was really good. If you plan on flying I really suggest Delta. They’re really good about everything and they give you all kinds of stuff. On my first flight I got this:
Fancy stuff! And on the international flight we got dinner, breakfast, headphones, free access to any movie or tv show and a free chorus of crying babies. The crying babies stopped after some time, but not before I managed to get a bit of headache. But after a mediocre meal and about eight hours of sleep, I’d say I made it out fine. The coolest thing about the little TVs was that you could track the plane and see it’s current data. Before we landed I remembered to change my watch two hours ahead – then off we went to get our passports verified. That was fun, not. The lady asked me silly questions and in Spanish so of course I was overwhelmed, but it was easy and harmless so I shouldn’t complain. Then we went to claim our baggage which I was beginning to get paranoid wouldn’t contain mine, but alas my bag came. Next we went through customs which was literally nothing. Then we found the program and they gave us each an envelope that had information for tomorrow and a receipt to take a taxi to our host families. Cue me being overwhelmed again. Also it was freaking hot. It’s 75 here! Anyway so I didn’t have any money changed (and still don’t) and I really wanted to call my parents to tell them I’m alive since I’m over 5,000 miles away, but all that was too complicated and they were pushing us towards these taxis. So I let it go and instead tried to find some wifi to at least send my parents an email because I thought that would be my only chance to contact them for a while. Somehow once outside I managed to get wifi just long enough to send my parents an email before it booted me off. Lucky me! Next I got into a taxi with my bags and was whisked off through the city. The taxi driver was very quiet and I couldn’t understand his Spanish so he then thought I didn’t understand Spanish. But after time we chatted and he understood me and asked me questions about my program as I took in my beautiful surroundings. It took us a little bit to find the apartment building, but when I got there a man greeted me and led me up! But not before the taxi driver genuinely wished me good luck. It was super nice.
My host mother is a super nice lady! She hugged me when she answered the door and is super helpful with my Spanish and knows English too which is really nice. It’s just her and I in this huge apartment… I have my own room and my own bathroom which is great. We chatted for a while over coffee and then I unpacked. For lunch we had chicken and potatoes with a lemon sauce that was very good. And boiled pears to finish it off! (something quite tasty I’d never had before). After then it was time for a siesta… I didn’t sleep much. Especially because even though my host mom doesn’t have computer, she has WIFI and I was eager to check things out and get in contact with my parents. After our siestas, we watched a lot of TV together while she knitted. It was super interesting because a lot of it was American TV that was dubbed into Spanish. It was hard to follow along at first because the Spanish is so fast, but I started to pick it up. When my host mother left for mass, I called my parents with Viber. My dad says it’s clearer than a regular phone call. It’s really quite cool that I talked to them from over 5,000 miles away for free. I feel lucky that I have the access to WIFI to be able to do that too.
Dinner was chicken and bread and dulce de leche! Dulce de leche is kind of like caramel, but, well, different ahahhaa. And a shower and bed soon because tomorrow is a day full of orientation!
And yes, my host mother is watching Downton Abbey in English right now. I’d say that wraps up a swell first day! 🙂