After a peaceful night of sleep, I woke up to the sound of loud voices and people walking in the hallways. This is it, I thought, this is the day I’m going to meet my fellow exchange students. First things first, I needed to take a shower. Remember how I said in the first post that I was ready to take a hot shower? Yeah, none of that. It was a very cold morning, and I really needed a shower. Of course, when I turned on the water, I should’ve been expecting to be met with cold water. What followed suite was one of the shortest showers I have taken in my life.
I got out of my room, desperately hoping that one of my fellow Belgians was at breakfast already so I won’t have to face a whole bunch of new people alone. Luckily, one of them already was. Breakfast wasn’t very eventful, I just ate and talked a little bit with the other exchange students. Next up was the welcome’s speech of the AFS coordinators. All of us were put into a big room while we got an explanation about lots of stuff. First we got a file with our travel rules, then we got safety tips and some more stuff happened that I don’t really remember, so hopefully it wasn’t too important. I can only remember two significant things that happened. Firstly, the introduction game.
As a way of introducing ourselves we had to draw a random person without looking at our paper and at the same we had to ask them some questions (Where are you from? How old are you?) I got paired up with a sixteen year old girl from Thailand, who understood most of what I said until the questions were over and I had to make some small talk. While sometimes she understood me, the other times her reply to one of my questions would be staring at me while putting on a big smile and nodding her head. Then she would look at her friends who were standing somewhere else in the room, she would laugh, and look at me again. Awkward much.
The second thing I remember vividly was also a “game”. We were being taught about (sexual) abuse and different situations in which they can happen. This is important information and everything was fine… until we were separated into groups and had to act out one of the situations. Cue awkward conversation about who should play the abuser and who should play the victim. At the end of the “scene” we were supposed give solutions to the situation, which made it kind of better.
Luckily nothing major happened the rest of the morning. When we came out of the room, there were two tables with loads of Peruvian fruits on them. We got some info about the fruits and then got to eat them. Some were actually good, while some I didn’t like at all. I’m also not a big fan of fruits (but you can make me a smoothie any time), so eating totally foreign fruits is not what I would call a good time – but it was a good experience. When I saw some normal bananas I think I almost cried of happiness.
Then came the time to eat lunch. After lunch we were playing another game and at this point I was already familiar with some AFS students, it was kind of sad to know that I wouldn’t see most of them until the mid-stay camp in January. So when we got our AFS t-shirts and luggage ready, it was time to say goodbye. This included lots of fotos and hugs. Two of the Belgians were going on another bus, so I was prepared to not see them again. It was really strange to think I would only see them again after five months, even though we had been going through this adventure together. Of course I didn’t expect that not even five minutes after leaving, everyone had to get off of the buses because there was a particularly big bump in the road. So we said hello again, and we said goodbye again.
Well… it was a short goodbye as I saw them AGAIN after we all of a sudden arrived in a hostel, where I had to wait to get picked up and be brought to my welcome family, and the others had to wait to get on their bus to other parts of Peru. So after a third time of saying goodbye, we were all finally on our way to our own adventures. In Belgium I would say “Derde keer, goede keer.”