Departure/Arrival: The Ups and Downs (Literally)
So, I awoke at around 4am. No big deal, the excitement kept me alert. My parents, little brother and I all left for the airport. It actually didn’t seem real, more like okay this is the next step in the process let’s go get this done. So I said my farewells and boarded the first plan. The original travel plans changed and instead of going from Greensboro to Atlanta, I was headed to Detroit. Once in Detroit all was well and I boarded the next plan to Mexico City. The descent was rough and we were shaken around quite a bit but we landed well. I had to re-check my checked baggage, but navigating that airport was SO difficult. I went through customs, was randomly selected to be searched, and after that I somehow ended up through some doors that lead me out of the security and I had to reenter (even though these doors were directly behind the security check point.) Anyway, I ambled around and finally found where I had to go, went through security AGAIN and then walked to the moon and back to find my terminal. The signs were poorly arranged but the most important thing is I eventually made it to the next flight to Mérida. After arriving in Mérida, everything went smoothly, I picked up my baggage and my host madre picked me up.
The way my flights were arranged I arrived later than the majority of the group, so the stop at the house was a stop in and then go straight to a welcome party at the IFSA-Butler office. Once there I saw a circle of friendly faces all excited and talking amongst themselves, oh and also the other students. Their host mothers know one another from years of working with IFSA, so they were quite chatty, but the wide eyed reserved folks sitting off to the side quietly were the ones that I would be spending a lot of time with. Eventually the ice was broken and we began to converse in the typical, “What’s your name? And your Major? Oh nice,” manner that comes not-so-naturally when first meeting people you’re thrown together with, but everyone in the group is quite kind, nervous, and welcoming. I look forward to getting to know each of them! Then it was late and I returned back to the house that night, I finally had the chance to unpack and then fell in the bed, almost immediately my consciousness escaped me and my body greedily absorbed the much needed rest. The following day I awoke early and my madre showed me how to use the bus system to get to the Centro, or the center of the city. Once there the IFSA group took a bus tour around the city for a couple hours and then we returned to have lunch with our respective families.
My madre gave me the password to the wifi in hopes I could finally get in touch with my parents, because it was a day after I had arrived and I still hadn’t been able to contact them. Well, the password didn’t work and the text message I sent through my madre’s phone never went through. It was then time for me to go back to the Centro for an orientation meeting that wouldn’t end until 6pm, my parents would have to wait. Once that was over I came back to the house and my padre was home from work, so I gave him my computer in hopes he could connect. Turns out the password I was given was completely right, except in being complete. The last four digits were missing but all was well. Being loving, caring parents, they had sent e-mails, Facebook messages, whatsapps and anything else you can image to reach out to me, all to which I responded and their relief was evident in their responses. So far, so good in Mérida, Mexico!