Saturday, February 26, 2011


I have so many things to write about, but it'll have to be in parts. I'm also on an American keyboard but set to a Spanish keyboard so things are in different places but you can't SEE it. Anyways, I'm in my host family but that story will come later. This story is about my flight to Miami and my first orientation.

So at approximately 3:45 Wednesday morning, i woke up and finished putting things in my suitcase. My wonderful mother woke up also and worked on a beautiful lunch and breakfast for me to eat. (Leo woke up later to see me off).

I took my suitcases downstairs and we weighed the big one with the luggage scale. 66 pounds. I was devestated, it was now like fifteen minutes before I was supposed to leave and I had to take 16 pounds out of my suitcase! We took out a lot of random things (especially books. Also things like brownie mix and conditioner). I also put a bunch of stuff in my carryon, hoping they wouldn't weigh it.

We finally get on our way and halfway there we realize that we left my beautiful breakfast and lunch at home. Bad news. In the rough emotional state I was in, I cried about it. You'll start seeing a pattern here soon.

We arrived at the airport and checked in--still about five pounds over. I took out MORE stuff (soccer shin guards, other random stuff). We finally got it down to 48.5 (and my carryon wayyy more than whatever it was supposed to be!).

Okay, so I checked in smoothly and then had to say goodbye. I cried. It's really scary knowing that you'll leave for so long, and I was having a rough morning anyways with taking out all my stuff and not bringing my food and stuff. Luckily, my great mother bought be a bagel and some other treats for my trip.

Madison to Miami i cried most of the time. The lady next to me looked at me like I was a complete lunatic. Then, I pulled out the note Thalia wrote me (she's one of my friends). I started laughing hysterically (it was funny!). Then I felt a lot better, but the lady still looked at me like i was a nutcase. When i arrived in Memphis, I had some free time, so i bought a Seventeen (tradition!) and just chilled. I saw this boy that looked young sitting near me but he didn't have AFS luggage tags on his stuff, so I didn't say anything to him. Memphis to Miami was much better. I listened to Taylor Swift and chilled--I didn't have a seat partner! It was the first time that has ever happened to me and was super nice to spread out my stuff.

When I arrived in Miami, i collected my stuff and the guy talked to me! HE saw i had AFS tags and he just hadn't put them on. He was Josh from Wisconsin also! We went upstairs to catch the shuttle to the hotel and met two other AFSers. This was the start of meeting a lot of people.
Some of the exchangers

There ended up being 40ish kids going to Honduras, Chile, Argentina, Panama, and Brazil, with Argentina being the biggest. There are eight Chile girls, all for the semester except one. I'll talk more about them during the blog post about the Chile orientation because that was really when I started to get to know them.

Argentina, Chile, and Brazil going to the airport
But the Miami orientation was just about rules and that sort of thing. It was good that it was there, but we all wanted to get moving to our host countries and on the way to our exchange. It was fun being in Miami though, where i wore shorts and sat outside in birkenstocks totally comfortably. Hotels are always fun and the second day we played a giant game of Sardines (like backwards hide and go seek) in a ten story hotel. I'm still convinced the hiders cheated. Also, after dinner one night, we went up to the tenth floor where there was an incredible view of the runway of the Miami airport and you could watch all the planes take off.

So we stayed one night and went to the airport at, like, sevenish on Thursday night. We went through security smoothly and after about an hour the Chile kids said goodbye to Brazil and Argentina and headed off to our gate (via sky train!).

And at 11:25, we took off. And that started the second half of my trip, which will be the next blog post!

But I'm doing very well and I'm excited about this family. I hope you are all doing well.


PS: Spell check is in Spanish, so please forgive me for any spelling errors. Libby.


  1. I want you to know that I'm reading every post and I totally noticed your p.s. :) Spelling looks good, Niewold.

  2. Totally jealous you guys got blue shirts- ours were the same but yellow xD haha hope your trip goes well :)