I had almost always traveled with my family. Which was easier because one could go grab the trays where we would place the shoes and other personal items. As well as, the most capable one of us could start placing the carry on baggage through the scanning machine. However, this time I had to do it by myself. I'll just say that a lot of the things I was carrying fell on the floor. The people waiting behind were already set and couldn't believe the mess I was creating.


Likewise, it happened again when I got to the other side of security, where the gates could be found, and for the rest of the trip any time my stuff had to be scanned. I kept on holding back the line, it was so embarrassing.


Once inside, with all of my stuff in place, I started looking for my gate. Thankfully, it wasn't that hard to find. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure if that was were my plane was going to depart from. This occurred because in the gate there was no other information apart from the number. In addition, there wasn't any staff member around I could confirm that detail with. 


Nevertheless, I had to wait for around an hour and a half. Besides, having to confirm that was the correct gate I and to be in. For this reason, I started to call my mom, to inform her about my insecurities. Later on, I learned about my sisters opinion about my calls. She thought I called for anything. At least, it was appealing for her to hear about my perspective of flying completely alone for the first time. In good time, I was located in the correct gate. 
Afterwards, I wasn't comfortable moving around because it was such a hassle to move with the bags. I proved it when I had to use the bathroom and I had to take all of my luggage and it almost didn't fit in the stall.  Consequently, the bags were also a problem when I had to make them fit in the over head compartment when I couldn't even lift them an inch of the ground. Neighboring passangers took pity on my weakness and decided to help the poor teen. 
Regarding the plane in general it was the biggest one I had ever been in. It was two floors, and the bathrooms were spacious. And I was pleased with the service and the type of food they gave us. I think they gave us cheesecake for desert. 


Eventhough, I was tired I didn't sleep the whole flight, because they had this amazing entertainment system which included the latest movies released. For this purpose, I spent the traveling trajectory updating my film/movies knowledge, critique, and perception. As a consequence, I was really tired afterwards because I had not slept the entire night.

As soon as I arrived to London, England, I followed the crowd as Alan said we should do, to observe and copy. After, I realized they were clueless or worst than me I stopped to think. I called my mom to tell her I arrived to London. Simultaneously, I remember Alan had also advised us to ask, because that could brake many more barriers than observing. And so I did, I asked everyone I encountered for directions. Still, when I found the gate the lady sitting behind the counter told me that wasn't the gate I was supposed to be in so my objective had not been reached. While I was on the verge of giving up someone pointed me into the right direction.

Before the school started, we had to stop by, this way the counselor could inform me about the school system, balance out my options, and choose my grade. I had to do this because I could qualify for any of two grade levels. Due to the fact that my host family's daughter, the girl I exchanged with, was supposed to attend 1st of Bachillerato. This one was recommended because this one didn't have the pressure of graduation and as much school work as 2nd of Bachillerato. Most importantly, they already knew me because, the girl I exchanged with, Paula had already told them I was coming. As a result, they were eager to met me. Yet, the people in 2nd they would be in my age group and it would be their last year. At the time, it made sense because I had already graduated, but I mainly chose it because of the subjects they offered. I felt they were more appealing than the ones in 1st. 

The first day of school was on a Thursday, because they had to do an orientation. However, I had to miss on Friday because the Rotary Orientation Weekend in Madrid started that day. For this purpose, I just got a quick taste of what school would be like for the rest of the year and it was't as favorable as I thought it would be. People already knew each other. They weren't interested in learning about Ecuador or the United States and in between classes everyone would just stand up and leave. I was completely disoriented, at least in The States I would get a schedule with the times on the side indicating when the period would start or end. With class numbers indicating which room to go to. But there wasn't anything not even a bell. 

After that bad taste of school, I was happy to know that I wasn't going the next day. Instead, I was going to a Rotary event which cheered me up. I knew that in Rotary I would met people who are willing to get to know strangers and always make the most of it. Just as it was in Texas. And that happened. I got to meet many people. Specially, from the U.S. But it was incredible, to get together and support each other. 

 

Consequently, when I returned on Sunday, I had to prepare mentally for school the next day. Surprisingly enough, it was much more better. I made a friend who introduced me to her friends and so on. They invited me to a town party they celebrate each year. It was last weekend, and I was able to experience another side of the culture, a younger perception. 

Now I have a lot of people I can talk to. Unfortunately, I still don't know all of their names but I'm getting there. I'm starting to say names that sound like theirs, but its fine they forgive me. 

Regardless, the president of the closest Rotaract club, who is by chance my Rotary counselors wife, invited me to a meeting. Subsequently, this Monday I went to a Rotaract meeting. Although, in order to get there I had to go to the city by myself. Due to the fact that it was during the week and my host family members had other responsibilities they couldn't accompany me. A series of disasters occurred. First, I missed the bus to the city. My host sister, fortunately, came home early so she took me as close to the city as she could. Secondly, the metro station was a little bit confusing and I almost didn't get to the stop I was supposed to be in. Thirdly, to increase my disorientation level the map I had didn't document a few streets. Eventually, I arrived to the meeting late. 

In addition, the meeting was no ordinary meeting. Apparently, it was a special occasion because the governess was going to visit. The only problem with that was that I interrupted the very important meeting while in informal clothing. I was so embarrassed. But, thankfully she asked about me and I was able to improve the first impression I made by clarifying it was my first time in the city alone and I didn't bring cocktail like clothing. She understood, and related with me because she had made and exchange as well. And told me how rewarding it was. That day I didn't only meet the governess but also a lot of young professionals involved with one Rotary's branches, and proud to represent it.

To conclude, I just have one thing to say I'm very grateful to Rotary for giving me this opportunity I have the pleasure to experience. I'm enjoying, learning, and saying yes every day.

 

 
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