Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm at the gateway orientation!

And it's actually been really awesome!!! :)

Trust me, if you're a future exchanger, you are GOING to have fun at your gateway orientation. It's impossible not to, because you're put together with about a hundred other teenagers that are full of enthusiasm and energy, and looking forward to a shared experience. And they are some of the nicest, coolest people you'll ever meet. :)

Anyways, I arrived at about 3:30 this afternoon, said goodbye to my dad, and then checked in, after which I was considered officially on program!
So I guess this is my first post as a legit exchange student...? xD
Oh well.
Anyway, it was really awesome because I met so many people going to, in particular, France, Spain, and Italy. But there are also people going to a bunch of other countries - Ghana, South Africa, Turkey, Bosnia, Portugal, the list keeps on going! And of course Egypt!
The Frenchies in particular were pretty awesome! I'll miss all the cool people I was talking to today :( Hopefully I'll get to do some more of that in the morning before I leave!
One thing I found very funny was that the Spain group was LOUD. XD I don't hold it against them, as they were a really big group and we were all really exited. I know I was very exited to meet the girl going to Egypt. But I will admit to turning around, getting up out of my seat, and calling out "¡España, cállate!" several times. :3
Anyway, we watched a video on the history of AFS, played human bingo, split off into groups for icebreakers and such, and then got debriefed on our own respective countries by experts.
Ours for Egypt was a very nice volunteer named Karolina who spent a semester at the American University in Cairo during college.
It appears that, apart from myself, there is only one other exchange student going to Egypt: a girl from Portland, Oregon, named Carson.
She's really awesome and I'm happy we'll be traveling together! :D
Speaking of which, right after our country-specific meeting, Carson and I were informed that our itinerary has been changed, because apparently a large group of Lufthansa employees are going on strike in the Frankfurt Airport, so instead, we will be flying Turkish Airlines and connecting through Istanbul!

All in all, so far this orientation has been really fun! I'm glad we had to do this! :D

Well, for now I guess there's one more thing to mention:
How I'm feeling.
I'm feeling very the middle of things. I feel like I'm halfway there, looking on towards all the incredible adventures that lie before me. I'm about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life so far, and I couldn't be more exited. :')
Well, I guess this really is the goodbye post!
I will miss all my American family and friends, and all the incredible people I met today that are headed off to countries all over Africa and the Mediterranean.
EGYPT, HERE WE COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
Ma as-salama ya Amreeka,
a picture before our final goodbye!

a Korean Air plane that I photographed on the drive to the JFK airport hotel, when we were very close to the airport 

I took this a few hours ago :) it's the view out a window on the...4th floor, I think
Globally yours.
(Turkish Airlines plane in flight, with the slogan include d underneath :P)

Also, I think that this song is perfect for the journey we're all about to embark on:
And here is the Arabic version, which I think is beautiful:

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