Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Have Arrived

So there I was, working and living and minding my own business. I had a great long-ish term substitute job and was enjoying skyping with my future Extreme Nazarene teammates. Then one day, exactly ten days ago, I got a call from Extreme asking me to consider switching teams with a girl who could use more time to raise funds. I prayed for wisdom and I knew that turning this opportunity down would be taking control of this beautiful work God has called me to. I agreed to switch teams the next day and now, nine days later, I am sitting on a dorm bed in Quito, Ecuador wondering if my headache is from dehydration, lack of coffee, or the high altitude. (since I've been drinking water and coffee all morning, it's safe to say it's either the altitude or just a regular headache)

I was disappointed to have to say goodbye to my other teammates, but I am so excited to get to start earlier than expected. I met my first new teammate, Ashley, yesterday in Atlanta. We both had a 45 minute scheduled layover to get from one side of the Atlanta airport to the other as we switched from domestic to international flights. Both of our planes landed early and we both ended up on the same broken train at the same time. This was fortunate because it gave us the courage to get off the broken train and face the reality that we would have to walk through the entire airport, which we did with plenty of time to spare. Nothing makes friends quite like racing through a crowd with 50lbs of carry-ons.
Kimberly and Celeste picked us up at the airport. At this point, it was 11:30pm in Quito. However, Ashley and I are from earlier time zones and had been sleeping on planes all day. We completely overwhelmed them with our questions and stories and chatter, but they kindly listened without dozing off. When we got back to campus, we met Ana and Damaris. Two of our other team members (Juan and Rachel) and the other half of our team leader couple (Aric) are at a leadership summit out of town.
Ana is my roommate. She is very patient, encouraging, and generous. Last night, we were talking using my limited Spanish but quickly realized that while I could form phrases with the few words I know, I rarely understood the words she used to answer my questions. Google translate saved us. We were able to figure out each other's class schedules and sleeping habits and normal roommate things without understanding each other's language, which was a relief. I continue to learn my favorite things about Argentines. They show up late, stay up late, and sleep in late. This is my innate culture! Ana and I stayed up late talking, and eventually she started teaching me some new words. She then wrote into the google translate "Do you want something like tea?" She used a different word for "something" than I recognized, so I asked her how to say it. I then remembered her question and had to sheepishly type back, "Were you asking me a question, or teaching me the words?" She laughed, considered, then responded, "Ambos" (both). She is a great teacher, and she gives me tea. .

Today I was able to eat lunch with Celeste and go to the store with the whole team. I am looking forward to getting to know Celeste and Damaris better as my Spanish improves. I can already tell they are fun and funny, I'm just not sure what their jokes are about yet.