– Nos vemos mañana! (“see you tomorrow”)
– Nos vemos!
I am finally in my new bed at my host family’s house in Puebla, Mexico. Lying on the bed and charging my dead phone, I am reflecting on my eventful day.
11:46 am. My flight departed from Bentonville, Arkansas, where I spent an amazing winter break with one of my friends from high school, and her family. Compared to the 15-hour plane ride with several layovers from the U.S. to Japan – where I am originally from – a 5 hour trip with a layover in Texas was not long enough for me to get mentally prepared for this adventure. When I felt the turbulence and heard a flight attendant making an announcement that we are about to arrive in Mexico, I was very nervous. And, on top of this, CDMX airport in Mexico City was not my final destination. I had to find a bus that would take me to the town I am living in for the next 5 months – Puebla. What do I do when I first get off the plane? My Spanish is nowhere close to being fluent. What if I get lost? What if my host family doesn’t like me?
“Bienvenidos a Mexico” (Welcome to Mexico)
4:45 pm. I am officially in Mexico! I hear Spanish everywhere and everyone seems to know what they are doing. I, on the other hand, am pretending that I know where to go by just following the person in front of me. I got my luggage and now, I just have to get out of this airport and find the person I am supposed to meet, a friend of Pako ( Jose Francisco Rivera) – Hope’s own Spanish Native Assistant and a great friend of mine.
This is the first view I saw in Mexico, right outside of the CDMX airport in Mexico City. A beautiful sunset, continuous cars, and crossed highways that indicate how big the city is. I got to meet Pako’s friend, Jacobo – who welcomed me with sweet gifts and a paper with my name on it (both in English and in Japanese!)
After being on a subway for about 10 minutes, Jacobo and I arrived at a station. Almost 6 pm in the evening in Mexico City, there are so many street vendors selling food, snacks, drinks, ice cream, chile…etc. Not just because I am hungry, but everything looks amazing and smells so good.
My first meal in Mexico was, of course, a taco! The real one! With cucumbers and sweet onions on the side, and red salsa and green salsa. Not too spicy, but definitely has a kick to it.
Almost 8:30 pm, I am on the bus to Puebla. The seat is actually several times better than the domestic flight I took from Arkansas to Houston this morning. There are a few outlets to charge phones, and even a bathroom. And yes, there was a TV with a Mexican movie on for us to enjoy. (I probably should have paid attention so that I could get used to listening Spanish, but I chose to sleep).
10:30 pm. I arrived at a station in Puebla called CAPU and I see two people who seem to be my host mother and host sister.
– Si! (“Yes!”)
This was probably the most nervous moment in the whole trip, but my soon-to-be Mexcian family welcomed me with open arms, even though I arrived late at night and at a further station from their house. By the end of the 30 minutes in the taxi to their house, I was feeling less nervous and more excited for the next 5 months with them.
When we arrived at their house, we sat down at a table and had some tea and snack. I cannot believe I am having this peaceful time in a different country after the longest day in a while.
… and here I am on the bed, ready to sleep and ready for orientation Day 1.