Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 1

I have arrived! I flew from Kansas City to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Santiago, Chile, from Santiago to the small Mendoza airport. I nearly missed my connection in Atlanta. It was already a tight squeeze, seeing as Atl airport is huge, but for some added excitement, the gate on my ticket had been misprinted. Thankfully I made it to the right gate & was the last person to board! The flight was an all-nighter. I slept quite a bit & woke up just in time to watch an incredible sunrise over mountains. The most amazing site so far, however, has been the Andes Mountains which we flew over from Santiago to Mendoza.

On my arrival I immediently felt the distance from home. Part of me felt like finding a corner somewhere & crying. I think a lot of that had to do with being exhausted. Now, following a 4 hour nap, I feel a lot better & ready for some more adventure.

We (Mr. Paul & Mrs. Beth Wright, my supervisors & the people I will be living with, & I) went down town to exchange some money after leaving the airport. One of my first observation was that here people & cars mix. They get up close & personal. Needless to say, I'll be putting my death stare into practice in order to cross the street alive. Secondly, Mendoza is not as clean as the U.S. This wasn't much of a surprise, but it made me feel as though I was back in Mexico. Although, it is certainly not as bad. In the neighborhood that I am staying, trash pickup is 6 times a week. You'd think Mendoza would be spick & span if this were the case throughout, but I think it is unique to the neighborhood. Also, outside trash cans don't exist, instead something more like a trash basket on stilts is used or the bags are simply put up in a tree. This is done in order to keep trash away from dogs. It seems as if dogs are everywhere; there is continual barking. But if you live here long enough they say you'll block it out.

I had my first experience with Argentine Mate. Delicious! Which is good, because apparently it is what I will be served at every house I visit. The Wrights taught me the appropraite way of accepting mate, how to hold, pass it & when to say & not to say thank you. I also had my first meal which, like i expected, included beef. =)

It is cold here & the houses are drafty. I'm wearing jeans, socks & shoes, 2 shirts & 2 hoodies, have a blanket over my legs & a space heater pointed directly at me, & I'm just now FINALLY warm. haha!

I can see I'm going to have more independence here than I origionally thought. They have already given me a house key, a couple maps of the neighborhood/city & said they will buy me a bus pass. The idea is a bit overwhelming right now but I think once I get adjusted a little more it'll be great.

Well, this is all for now. I'll post photos & vidoes when I can.
I love you all! Oh & please add me on skype!

~Michaela Rae

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