February 12, 2017
“Entrena tu mente para ver lo bueno de cada situación”- (autor desconocido)
Train your mind to see the good in every situation. (unknown author)
At last, after over ten hours in the air and my first day in the city of Córdoba, Argentina, full of hustle, bustle and excitement, I was finally able to get a great nights rest! I still find it so hard to believe that I’m here. I feel like I’m dreaming! If I am, I don’t want anyone to pinch me! (haha) My family and I arrived at JKF International airport in Queens, New York about three hours before take-off. Do you all remember when I was contemplating whether I should have taken a drive to terminal four in JFK to get pesos in exchange for U.S dollars? It’s a good thing I didn’t because they didn’t have any! At this point, I was tired of being lied to all the time. But, just to give everyone reassurance, my host mom was able to give me some pesos in exchange for the U.S dollar the day I arrived at the house.
After finding the right terminal where my plane was going to take off, my family and I had to wait at least an hour in line before I could get my passport checked, go through security and get on the plane. Finally, the lines started to move, my passport was checked and my luggage was put onto the conveyor belt. Before going into security, I still had about an hour and a half left until the plane took off, so my family and I took advantage of the time and had lunch together. After eating, my family followed me to security, where we said our good-byes. My dad was the most emotional out of us all, but who could blame him? Finally, after going through security, I waited in the correct terminal until they began calling us by seat number and row. After I boarded the plane and as it prepared for take-off, I asked myself, “am I really about to leave the country?” I became frightened when I saw smoke coming from the wing of the plane. (I’m so blessed to be alive. I found out later on that one of the motors exploded which could have caused a huge fire.) You can see the video at the following website. The video is towards the bottom of the page.
Thankfully, after a long ten-hour flight, I made it to Buenos Aires, Argentina with tears nearly streaming down my face. Despite it being 4:20 in the morning (2:20 EST), I didn’t feel tired at all! I was too busy observing this new atmosphere! I followed everyone else, and reclaimed my baggage, where I conversed with a nice lady who was visiting family in Argentina. Do you all know the song about New York that states, “New York, New York, big city of dreams, AND everything in New York ain’t always what it seems, you might get fooled if you come from out of town?” Well, I for one was certaintly fooled because I WAS ROBBED.
Some may say that someone asking me for $100 for a simple taxi drive is not being robbed, but I can’t think of any other word to describe it. First of all, my luggage was very heavy and, with my petite figure, was very difficult to pull around alone. I had no clue where I was going after I reclaimed my baggage and asked different people who worked at the airport where I should go. (I could tell they were surprised when I asked in Spanish). A security guard, who saw me struggling asked, “do you need any help? I can drive you to where your next terminal is because it’s very far from here.” At this point, I was anxious to get to my next terminal where my next plane was scheduled to take off to Córdoba, Argentina. So, of course, I said yes and was talking enthusiastically about how I couln’t believe I was in this beautiful country. Once we arrived at the correct terminal, he stated “billete de cien dólares.” I’ve always learned that “billete” mean “ticket” so I was confused when he stated, “a ticket of one hundred dollars.” After minutes of questioning him, I gave him one hundred dollars and he said “gracias.” He helped me grab my luggage, shook my hand and I walked away defeated. “Did this really just happen?” I asked myself. The lady from Argentina, who I menitoned earlier, stated that incidents like those are very common in Buenos Aires. So for those who are thinking about going to Argentina; take this into consideration: NEVER go with any security guard or taxi driver in the airport who asks you if you need help, especially in Buenos Aires.. Who would have thought that this would occur right after arriving in my host coutry? I’m keeping my head held high though because now I can add this on my list of things not to do when traveling solo.
Despite this sad occurrence, my spirits were lifted when I witnessed the beautiful landscapes of Córdoba, Argentina. After landing, my host mom and dad were waiting attentively for me and I recognized them easily. (They sent me a picture before my arrival.) I will post a picture of the family once I get everyone together. There are six of us who live together in this beautiful home. So far, it’s been an excellent experience! (Other than the incident in Buenos Aires) Orientation is tommorow and I’m so excited to meet students who are just as enthusiastic in studying Spanish as I am!