The day was long and the travel to our quaint town was exhausting; the journey left me tired, cold, and a long way from home. When we reached Morretes, I saw pitch black streets solely illuminated by a single lamp post. My heart was pounding like adrum-roll when it was determined whichof the three other Fellows would be the first to arrive in their new home. Luckily, I was not chosen first; I don’t think my little heart couldn’t have taken it.
As I entered into my first home, I was greeted warmly with all smiles. In that moment, I realized that this first encounter with our new families would be our labels for the time period before we forget this is only temporary, until we build a bond. How we respond, the tone in which we reply, how enthused we are, (all while trying to continue on24 hours lack of sleep) – those actions are the foundation of the journey to come.
I once again surpassed the nerve juggling drum-roll when I was meeting another family with bright smiles, while I was mustering up a smile to hide my unsettling nervousness.
For the third and final time, I hopped into the car with no interest in drum rolling, but thedrive felt like an eternity, and I was unable to imagine what to come next as I stared out the window into the night. My search was often interrupted by potholes the size of small children. In one of those spaced out moments, I had arrived.
First, I recall beinggreeted by somewhat intimidating dog. This time, I was a lot more timid when gettingout of the car, maybe my fear stemmed from what I learned at Pre-departure Training: that there were a surprisingly high number of canine attacks on Fellows. However,I stepped out, not only from the car, but from my comfort zone; the people and things I drew close that reminded me of true home popped!
My first impression of my family was something similar to a movie with rain and the added sound effects. Note: no filming took place in those moments. I was embraced the very second I stepped out of the car. Where have you been son!?” rained from my host family’s mouths.