It's finally happening! Early yesterday morning, at 2:00, I woke up and immediately began to do some last minute packing. With my carry-on full of shoes, my suitcase weighing a precise 43.9 pounds, I set off in the car with my parents. With only a few hours of time at home for the next eleven months, I began reminiscing about everything. "This will be the last time I see this tree," I thought. It went on, and on, until I couldn't take it anymore and put on my headphones and closed my eyes. I set my music on shuffle and immediately "Are You With Me", by Lost Frequencies began and I entered deep thought.
At this point, I began to take in the truth. I would not be seeing my family for an entire year. It really did not hit me until the moment I started to think about it, and tears welled up in-turn. I have embarked on a trip that will change who I am as an individual. In this journey, I won't have the support of the ones that I hold most dear. It's hard to grasp.
When we arrived at the airport, it was extremely full. The lines were packed together tighter than a package of sardines. I jump in the massive line, and my family follows. It was embarrassing! The last thing I needed was my mother going *snap, snap, snap*. Although it was probably the worst I've been embarrassed in public, I'm thankful for it. It gave me a memory of my mom and family that will last me the entire year so I wont become homesick.. let's hope. Next, I went into the security line, and it took me about an hour to pass through, making me almost miss my flight! When I got onto the flight, I saw three familiar faces: Josh, Vivian, and Ella. I had met them at the Pre Departure Orientation, or PDO. The four of us, and Ariela who was already in NYC at the time, would be representing the Bay Area Chapter in Italy.
The first thing I noticed on the flight was a young guy sitting across the aisle from me. He looked about 15-16, and was flying alone. Being the ambassadory (explanation at the end) type that I am, I reach over an tap the guy's shoulder. I asked him, "Hey! Are you an AFS exchange student?" He looked at me a little dazed, and a little confused, but that might've been because it was only 5:30 in the morning. He confirmed my question about ten seconds after I asked, as if he only just woke himself up. We introduced each other, and soon after, I found Ella, Josh, and I all talking with Adrian for about the next thirty minutes while we awaited takeoff.
The plane begins to take off, and Ella begins to freak out. She hasn't rode in very many planes before. The man in front of her glares daggers at me, expecting me to do something about it. We had a good laugh about it later, when the man wasn't around. Once we got into the air she settled down, and the sun began to come up. I wasn't by the window, so Ella took this:
The rest of the plane ride from thereon was essentially just chatter, sleeping, and eating, so I'll move on. When we arrived in NYC, we met up with other AFSers who arrived in the past hour. A few of them were also going to Italy! Their names were Mackenzie, Cameron, and Makayla. We loaded our luggage onto the bus, drove to the hotel, and checked into our rooms. The orientation started at 5:00. I love it so far, I have already met some amazing people, and am already close friends with like eight people! It's so easy to have a conversation with someone you don't know, because you know that you have something in common: you're an exchange student! I kept having people come up and ask my name, but I have had to do the same thing, it's really embarrassing. I would ask people for their names, and forget soon after, and have to repeatedly ask again.
I had originally written this all once, but it got deleted and it seems that my post got shorter.. sorry! In the coming weeks and months, I am going to try to update my blog at least once a week, probably on a Sunday. I type up another update in the next day or few. Ciao!