Valencia, Week 1 Part 1

Well, after a whole five days here I have decided to start a blog. One of the hardest parts of my trip so far is being on my own and not having anyone to share my experiences with, so here it goes. That, and I was becoming overwhelmed by the number of people asking me, “How is your new life?”

The short answer – I wasn’t immediately impressed with my new job/city/lifestyle. First of all, I don’t think I mentally prepared myself enough for leaving my comfortable world surrounded by family and friends. I have left home for new places plenty of times, but almost always with someone else to adventure with. Being on my own has given me a lot of time to think about what I’m doing. Let’s start from the beginning…

Monday, 23/09 and Tuesday, 24/09
I had a pretty tough time saying goodbye to Brent, who I won’t see for months! I flew from Denver to Ft. Lauderdale where my friend’s mother Suzy picked me up around midnight. My flight out from Miami the next morning was at 5am, so sleep was minimal. Stepping into the Avianca check-in area in Miami, I already felt like I was in Latin America! No one spoke English and everyone else checking in for the flight had suitcases upon suitcases of luggage, presumably for a long trip home. I slept on both of my flights from Miami to Bogotá and Bogotá to Valencia (shocking, I know) and woke up just after landing at the minuscule airport in Valencia. After what seemed like hours of standing around watching the baggage crew also stand around, the conveyor belt finally started moving and I retrieved my bags and met Angel, the director of the company. Apparently we were running late for one of his classes, so we drove directly to Sika, my future employer. Sika is a Swiss company that specializes in some sort of chemical sealant, but none of my students are quite sure what they actually make at this location, hmm. As explained in the car by Angel, my primary job will be teaching business English to a large group of workers at Sika for the next two months. When we arrive, students from Angel’s class slowly trickle into the board room with no apparent sense of urgency, which I find odd because they have a test today. In that moment I realized that my sense of time, based on my previous cultural experiences, was a lot different than the concept of time in South America, which I will expand more on later. After class, Angel took me to lunch with his wife, Yulmi (pronounced jewl-me) and finally to see my new apartment! I felt very grateful to have such a wonderful and spacious place all to myself, especially after a long day of traveling.

 

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