The Adventure Begins…
Before I even left the country, trouble ensued. My mother and I were driving from our home in Grand Rapids to the Chicago O’Hare airport so I could catch my first flight to get to Oman. Our drive began easily enough, but trust Michigan to throw a weather curveball when you most expect it, and least need it! We hit a wall of freezing rain and were stuck in traffic for roughly 90 minutes. Needless to say, I was not going to make my flight. Fortunately for me, the other student from Calvin had her GR to Chicago flight canceled, and the remaining four students from Northwestern college were also stranded. What had been a simple, interstate journey for all of us had developed to a full-blown winter disaster!
A day after we had initially planned, we were finally all in the Chicago airport ready for our semester together. The previous day’s weather may have thrown a wrench in our plans, but as I sat with my new classmates, housemates, and hopefully friends, I could tell that the delays had done nothing to our spirits! We were finally embarking on our three-month adventure together!
Our journey from then on was smooth and stress-free. We arrived in Oman safely, and effortlessly (at least as effortless as customs and immigration can get). We were greeted and picked up by our program director Justin, and our program coordinators Lauren and Matias. Only at that point did it really start to click for me that I was actually in a different country and a completely different culture, and I was here for a while. However, pretty soon, that feeling of realization began to wear off. The new sounds, smells, and sights were so intriguing and different that it felt like a dream!
We finally arrived at the AL Amana center; our new home, classroom, and community space for the next few months. It was all so surreal. I was actually in Oman! Justin had a “quick” debriefing for the night (it lasted about an hour and a half), and sent us on our way to bed. We were all so excited and confused and overwhelmed that we didn’t even realize that the time was 2 AM when our meeting was over. Needless to say, we all went straight to bed; my roommate and I took quick, much-needed showers first. Despite the rocky start, it became clear that this semester was going to be a good one!