18th of October 2016 – 5:45 pm
Sitting on the floor with Oliver.
Since I forgot to tell you about what we did Yesterday, I decided to start this blog from the hotel we stayed at.
As you might remember, my last blog post is about my second day. Well, actually my first day in Lousiana, because I start the story from the day we get on the plane. But anyway, the day before yesterday I stayed at the hotel and roomed with Patricia. I talked about how we got up in the morning and got ready to eat breakfast. (If you’re asking yourself what in the world I am talking about, then, buddy, scroll down to where it says posted in Journal Entries – Starting Somewhere (new) – LSU and under that you will find an area that says tagged. Click on day 2 and it will take you to the blog post before this one).
Now continuing where I had left off:
After the struggle of waking Patricia up that took place a few minutes ago, we traced our steps that we took last night to find our way downstairs. Still a little bit tired, we made our way to the breakfast area. Not very surprisingly we found the rest of our classmates sitting at their tables. The atmosphere of the eating place was almost drowsy: everything and everyone was tired.
We were told that we could only take the food with the yellow stickers on it. This limited us from the wide variety of choices they provided. Taking a plate, we scanned the buffet laid in front of us. Luckily, I wasn’t very hungry. In fact, my stomach was twisting and turning like when you go on a roller coaster. But then again, I haven’t actually been on many roller coasters. I’m just assuming that’s what if feels like.
I looked down at my choices. A small bowl of cereal, milk in a carton box, and an apple. Not very distinctive to an ordinary breakfast. I guess it was fine.
We looped around occupied tables and found the spot we were all happy with. “I’m so nervous,” Olivia stated, “we’re going to meet our hosts today!” I’m not sure if it was the table that sparked our conversation or if it was just a random coincidence. The families were going to come at 11:00 am. The fact that it was already 9:40 ish made my stomach feel even weirder. All of a sudden, the meal didn’t seem as appetizing as it did before.
We rushed down the hallway to our rooms. Twenty minutes left to pack and go downstairs. Everyone seemed nervous, even Jenny, who never seems to be nervous when meeting new people. As we entered our room, Patricia went to her bed and laid down, face flat on her pillow. I decided to neglect her; I decided to pack my belongings instead.
Ten minutes passed and I had already done everything. I brushed my hair, packed my suitcase, charged my phone, unplugged the charger, brushed my teeth, and I even put on my shoes. I looked over at Patricia. Still on the bed. By then I was assuming she had fallen asleep.
I decided to go and check in on Olivia and Jenny (who had slept in another room together with Felicitas). As I walked in I found them all ready. Sitting on their beds with their phones. Even their shoes were on.
“Hey, guys!” Mr. Wallace’s deep voice almost echoed through the hallway. Luckily, there was a mat on the floor and furniture against the walls that absorbed the noise just enough to make it sound a little duller and not wake up everyone else in the hotel.
Most of us were in the hallway. Maybe like 12 of us? Anyway, Mr. Wallace only had to say two words to grasp our attention, and two other words that made our hearts race in our chests: “They’re here.”
Nervously, we strutted along. We got into the elevator and started one of those weird conversations you get when you’re worried. The conversation in which everyone agrees with whatever the other person has to say. That awkward, harmonious sound of everyone saying yeah.
The elevator let out a familiar noise. A ding that lets you know when the doors are going to open. At the moment I felt my heart sink into my shoes. I didn’t want the doors to open. I wanted to be trapped inside – wait for hours before we got rescued if we had to.
Luckily, Jenny nudged me forward. I wouldn’t have moved if she hadn’t had done that. “Are you nervous?” she asked.
“Maybe,” I swallowed the yes that came after that so that she couldn’t hear it.
Together as a pack, we walked through another identical hallway that led us to a large open room with chairs, tables, and whatnot. I shuffled along, almost shivering. I hadn’t felt this way for years. The last time I felt this nervous was the very first day of school when I came to Panama.
I clenched my jaws together to prevent them from saying anything stupid, or funny, or sad, or anything, really. By this time I could hear my heartbeat thudding in my ears as if it was heavy metal music from the seventies.
As we turned the corner I was convinced that everyone held their breath. In front of us, surely at least fifty people were socializing with each other. Talking, laughing, interacting: not noticing us yet.
Two seconds later, though, all eyes were laid upon us. Everyone became quiet and focussed on us. Meanwhile, I searched the room for my host, Katherine… yeah, Katherine, I think.
My group scattered as they found their hosts. A few seconds later I heard a voice from beside me. “Amaia?” I swung around to see three familiar faces I had skyped with about a week ago. I firmly took a few steps their way, smiling at the encounter. They were all very tall and were encouraging me to come over.
“Hey, Amaia!” Katherine’s mom exclaimed, “Is that how you pronounce it?” She stuck out her hand and I shook it without hesitation. “Yes, that’s right,” I simply replied. It was weird, though, because so many people mispronounce my name before I correct them. They say maya, or amia, or even ameya.
I looked over at Katherine. She smiled and we just said hi. She then introduced me to Olivia’s host, Jenny’s host, and Patricia’s host. It turned out that they were all best friends, so we were in luck. The conversation already started to become interesting when Katherine pointed a guy in our class out and was like: “who is he? I think he’s cute.” We all giggled and that’s how our friendship flourished.
This was us when we arrived at the Lousiana airport at around midnight: