Part One: To Atlanta
Hello! Sak Pase! ¡Hola! I have had so much fun in the past few hours stressing myself to death. Today should've a day of saying goodbyes, hugging my friends and family at the airport, and relaxing before I am tossed into a world unknown to me. However, I am NOT a simple gal. I decided to try and get my permit this summer right before leaving. The problem is i got up with the thrill of exchange that I didn't finish the class until Friday. That meant I would have to get my actual permit on Monday, the day I fly out, which is a big nono. It ran smoothly until the printer stopped working delaying my plans. Not to mention, I also had to run to a shop to repair my iPad so that I could do these journals. ALWAYS CHECK THAT WHATEVER YOU ARE PACKING IS IN WORKING CONDITION A WEEK AHEAD OF TIME!!!!! Everything worked out but then I was left with another problem: my mom. Now parents, your child is already anxious with the language barrier, impending presentation, school, etc. so it is not morally correct to share your own worries with them. It almost feels suffocating. Now, I understand my mom's intentions but at the moment it was extremely frustrating. NO ONE LIKES A HELICOPTER PARENT! So when it was time to say goodbye, we were both pretty much done with each other's shenanigans for the day. Each minute I regret not giving her a proper hug. I thought that that was last of my troubles, that I could board the plane and relax. But that was too easy. My plane decided to not work and was delayed for almost an hour. You could the pilot's fear over the intercom. Each time he would try to liftoff, we would have a nice start then it would all slow, refusing to fly. A stubborn plane it was. If this had been a direct flight, the delay would not have mattered much. However, here's the kicker, I have a layover/connection in Atlanta that I almost missed. This is a start to a great year abroad!
P.S. did I mention that I have had one meal for the day?
P.P.S. There's a really nice and tolerant lady sitting next to me whom I have probably annoyed this entire flight but she tried to help me with the flight delay and really calmed my nerves.
Part Two: To Lima
I don't know what the pilot did but he shaved twenty minutes off the flight so instead of being forty minutes, we were only twenty minutes late. With this in mind, when I landed I thought, "hey this should be easy, I have forty minutes to get to my gate." Boy was I wrong. The airport in Atlanta is HUGE! This means that when I halfway there traveling from gate B-something to E9 they were already calling for final boarding. I then hightailed it to the gate, nearly crashed into a disabled person, and arrived flustered to the verge of a mental breakdown. I managed to get on but did not have any room to stow my carry on overhead so I resulted to placing it on the floor by the window, crushing my legs the entire six hour flight. I felt bad because the lady next to me was sleeping and I interrupted her then took up of her space because of my bag. For five and a half hours I felt this way, and for four hours of it wanted to call my mom or see if I could book the next flight because I felt like a wreck. I say four hours because my phone died after that. REMEMBER TO CHARGE YOUR PHONES NOT EVERY PLANE HAS A CHARGER! In the last half hour of the plane, I grew a pair and began a conversation with the lady next to me. The best thing was that she didn't speak any English meaning I could practice my Spanish. Our conversation made me realize that my Spanish is better than I thought and I will be able to survive. Also, I told he about my mishaps of the day and exchange, which made her open up to me and tell me a bit about Peru. I have felt so confident since then.
I finally arrived home and met up with some other intercambistas. It was nice to have someone who understands how you're feeling and in your language, but we're leery about Inbound Syndrome. Once getting our bags and going through customs it was time to meet our families. I love my family so much! I don't care if people say it's because I'm in the honeymoon stage, I love my family. They gave me the most beautiful flowers, a really cute ballon, and another Peruvian flag that has my name on it. The car ride home was basically my brother and I acting crazy stupid; my other brothers were waiting in our home, which I did not expect. My room was all decked out and pretty. My family and I had lovely tea time then it was time for bed. The problem was I could not sleep. Okay I could because I was uber tired after a half hour of staring out of my window to see busy district of Surco. I really feel at home, like I fit in. To the point where my brother, Nicolas, gel comfortable enough using giving me a tour as an excuse to go on a date. Of course my brother Boris and I later teased him about it.
Key Differences on My First Day
1.) There aren't any reclining, comfy chairs in there movie theater.
2.) Personal space doesn't not exist: in the U.S. people would much rather sit in the front row of the movies than next to someone else, which is what happened in Peru.
3.) People clap after the movies: when another intercambista and I didn't clap we got really weird looks.
4.) The traffic is crazy: I was almost hit by three cars in a half hour span before I got the gist of it.
5.) It's like Jamaica or Miami in terms of driving & traffic: there are one way streets like in Miami where there will be 4-5 lanes all going in the same direction.
6.) No traffic lights really: there are two main types; one is a timer for driving in that direction & the other is a timer for walking in that direction.
7.) Some doorknobs don't twist, you push to push a button then pull open/close
8.) There's boxed water: never drink the tap.
9.) Before using the public bathroom stall, bring toilet with you.
10.) Everyone eats a lot: lunch was two courses, a giant soup then rice and steak, I think. I really don't because my policy is eat now, ask later.
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