Okay, so I figured I'd start from the very beginning... If I repeat some things, I'm sorry! It's just easier almost for me to just start over!
So... the airport. I drove there with my mom and dad. I said bye to my mom on the street and my dad walked in with me. I think I felt a cross between complete fear and nauseousness... Or maybe I just had a lot of butterflies in my stomach! In either case, my dad gave me a few last instructions on how to get to my gate, and some tips for the flight. Then he gave me a hug, wished me good luck, and told me he loved me before I set off up the escalator. Saying goodbye was so hard!! This was my first time travelling alone, and I was so scared. But, I just took a couple deep breaths and focused on finding out where I was supposed to be.
I got on the plane and everything was settled. We finally took off and I think it was around then that it hit me... "I am really doing this!" I was on my way to Florida for a short orientation and then I was going to be in Ecuador. I kept thinking about what kinds of people I was going to meet, what the family would be like that I was staying with. I was worried about whether or not I would be able to find a church down there that I could go to, or if people would be accepting of my religion. I said a short little prayer for comfort, and my attitude changed from fear to excitement and contentment.
The orientation in Florida was good, but also a little nerve-racking. I met quite a few people - all the Americans that were going into the program. I found out that I was the only one doing the community service program, and that I was going to be the only American going to Ecuador. Oh boy! My nervousness grew at that moment, and I felt so alone!! All the others were doing the high school programs, and they were going to places like Chile and Costa Rica... We stayed one night there, and then all of us went to the airport the next morning. Once again, I was on the plane alone. By this point, I was just ready to get there and get settled.
I got into Quito, Ecuador in the late evening during a thunder/lightning storm. It was so cool to look out the window and see lightning from an airplane! I absolutely loved it! We touched down on the ground, and I went to collect my baggage. That was where I met my first AFS friend, Anouk! She is from Canada and was on the same flight as me, even though we didn't sit by each other. She came up to me and asked if I was with AFS, and I was like, "Yes!" So we grabbed our luggage and then we thought... "Now what?" We just kind of laughed and walked towards the doors leading outside and finally found a woman with AFS! We were then loaded up in a van and proceeded towards the hostel where we'd be staying for the next week. I attempted to talk to the driver in spanish... This was when I first realized how awful my spanish was! Anouk enjoyed laughing at my attempts, so at least there was some enjoyment that came out of it! We got to the hostel, ate our first Ecuatorian meal (soup with popcorn in it... it was actually quite tasty! and rice of course!) and then settled in for the night. Around midnight, there was a knock on the door to our apartment, and Tone from Norway had arrived!! We quickly introduced ourselves, which was fun, and then went to bed to see what the next day would hold for us!
So that is all for today! Hopefully I will be able to write again soon!