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Ben: A rough beginning…

June 7, 2009

I am sitting in the Houston airport, literally in a state of shock. So much has happened in the last couple of days that my head is spinning. It is still going to be 24 hours before I reach the place I will call home for 3 months… and although it has only been 6 hours since I was dropped off at the airport, the effect is staggering.

I suppose I should preface this entire entry by saying that I am still looking forward to my adventure. On the flight from Minneapolis to Houston there was a small Mexican boy in the row next to me, and I loved listening to him speak. Some words I understood, some I didn’t, but I kept thinking about how different it would in three months. How different I would be in three months.

But now, aimless, killing time in an airport, those three months seem like an eternity. Even the next 24 hours seem daunting. I miss Jess. There is no other way to put it. Saying goodbye to her was difficult, and as the time slowly ticks by I ache to be able to talk to her. We have been best friends for a long time, but when did it become something so much more? When did we go from just doing everything together to needing to be with each other through everything that we do?

Sitting here, I still half expect to look over and see her coming out of the airport bathroom smiling at me. After all, I am traveling, and I always travel with Jess. One of us watches the bags while the other goes to the bathroom. We talk about our expectations of the upcoming trip, or we talk about the experiences we just had. Can it be less than a year ago that we were in Russia? I believe that I am experiencing the old adage… “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Who knew that it also hurt?

As I mentioned, a lot has happened in the last couple of days. I found out on three days ago that there was not going to be school representative to help me through the Caracas airport, or to help me get from El Vigia to Mérida. El Vigia is the town I will be flying into. It is about an hour away from Mérida, and I will need to take a taxi or a bus. I also found out that, unlike students that went down earlier this summer, I will not be going to the school to meet my homestay family. Instead, I will need to go directly to their home, knock on the door, and when they answer, introduce myself. This may not seem all that difficult while you are reading this, except I failed to mention… on Wednesday I still did not have my homestay address. Does that make it sound more exciting? Nor did I have their address on Thursday. In fact, it was Friday afternoon before I actually got the address. But I have it now, and I am looking forward to meeting them.

Interruption: I mentioned that this trip was still a bit surreal, but as I was writing this blog entry I was paged in the Houston airport. After finding a courtesy phone I contacted the switchboard and they relayed a message to me from Jess… I forgot the camera. It was still sitting on the bed along with the small Flip video camera, and maybe I should buy a new one before I leave the States. Wow.

Well, I did manage to get a camera, and I was able to call Jess from a payphone. Then we decided that we would try skype and I was able to hear her voice. It made things a little better, and a little worse. If I could hop on a plane and head home right now I would.

I am boarding for Caracas in about 10 minutes. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little better.

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