Okay so this post rambles a little but that’s how airports are, you know? Also it’s sort of long but you don’t have to read the whole thing, I have it categorized by airport so yeah, skip around 😉 Also I will update in a week or so (hopefully) with more info about my town and first couple weeks! Also I will try to post a few pics sometime soon!
So this was my travel itinerary:
Monterey airport to LA airport, from LA to Chicago O’Hare, and from Chicago O’Hare to Guarulhos, São Paulo.
So here’s how it went:
The airplane from Monterey to LA was the tiniest airplane ever, but that was awesome because instead of walking through one of those big tunnel things that connect form the airport to the airplane I actually had to walk out to the airplane and climb up the steps, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, which was awesome.
There is a beautiful thing that all Rotary exchange students have, and that is the blazer. The blazer is awesome. For those of you unfamiliar, here is a quick rundown. Rotary provides each student with a dark blue blazer which identifies us as exchange students. In my case, the blazer has patches on it that have the District 5230 Youth Exchange logo, as well as a California shaped pin with my name on it. The tradition is for exchange students to receive pins from pother exchange student and put them on their blazer, as well as pinning on other things that commemorate their year abroad. By the end of the year, the blazer ends up covered in pins and is really awesome. At the Monterey airport, a couple who were going on the same plane to LA asked me if I was an exchange student, and then after the flight, they came up to me and asked me which was next flight, so that they could show me where to go. They were really nice, and showed me the big board thing with all the flights on it, and told me where the gate I’d be taking was, and they were very nice.
I then found myself with 2 hours to kill at LAX. First I headed to a very crowded Starbucks, and paid 8 bucks for a chai latte and a bottle of water. Yeah, airports suck. After that I still had lots of time to kill so I wandered aimlessly around the airport, looking at the stuff they had UNTIL! A woman stopped me asking if I was a Rotary exchange student. It turns out she recognized my blazer and she was also an exchange student, to Germany! She asked me if I needed anything, made sure everything was going well, and then left. Love that blazer.
LA was otherwise uneventful, except that when we were boarding the plane to Chicago I saw a guy who looked like Pierce Brosnan, so much so that I had to do a double-take just to make sure. That was awesome.
Chicago was also uneventful, until at the gate to board the plane to São Paulo I saw 2 blazers that matched mine, and I met fellow exchange students to Brazil Robbie and Luke. They’re from a small town in New York, and they were both very nice. We chatted for a bit, but were unfortunately seated far from one another on the plane. The plane. Oh my God it was huge. And the seats had a screen thingie in tehn so that you could watch movies and things. I didn’t end up watching anything because I was too tired to do anything except sleep or read. The plane was huge, but it was also 100 % full, so there was very little room, and the guy sitting next to me started fighting with a flight attendant (yeah it’s not PC to call them stewardesses these days) over where to put his stuff. That bothered me just because it meant I’d have to sit next to a total jerk, but I judged him too soon. He was actually really nice, and later in the flight he and the stew- sorry, he and the flight attendant apologized to one another and made friends. The flight itself? It was long. 10 hours is way too long. I couldn’t get much sleep because I had the middle seat, meaning I didn’t have a wall to lean against like the kid in the window seat. I did my best, but it didn’t really work.
After we landed in Brazil, I met back up with Robbie and Luke and we went through the customs area together and through to the baggage check. They got their baggage before I did, but were in no hurry because they weren’t finished like I was, they had one more flight and they had a couple hours before they caught it. My things were among the last ones to come off the carousel, but I got them in the end, and they’re just a little bit dirty. I went through to the arrival area. It was there that I encountered my host dad, brother, and cousin! It is difficult to speak understand their Portuguese, as they talk so fast!! But anyway, we got in their Fiat!! (ok I’ve never even seen a Fiat in the US. Do we even get those here? OH and I also saw a Citröen, which was exciting because I’ve only ever seen one of those in a Tintin comic book. Very cool.) We drove for another 5 hours to get to Candido Mota, where they live. I tried to look out the window to see São Paulo and the landscape of Brazil, but instead I went ahead and slept the whole time, which was nice.