When I first arrived here I knew literally no one, and most new students were in the same boat. I was nervous about using my Spanish so I had very limited conversations with my host family, and at school I had met a hundred new people whose names I could not remember. Basically, I was on my own. Even finding my way home from school the first day was a challenge, the idea finding a supermarket to buy groceries was intimidating, and the thought of figuring out how to travel 5 hours to the nearest beach was downright impossible. I knew that I wanted to travel as much as possible, but all the other new students were as lost as I was.
My salvation came when I was waiting around between classes and I overheard a group of girls talking about their plans to head to a beach on the Caribbean coast for the weekend. I scooted closer in order to hear better, and one of them caught my eye and introduced herself. Soon I was in the conversation, and when they asked if I might like to join them on their excursion I immediately said “Yes! Absolutely!” After I agreed to go, I realized I had no concept of how it worked. I shamelessly grilled them for every detail about the trip, and even though I’m sure it was annoying they answered every question. It turned out to be a great decision, because after just that one weekend I had all the tools I needed to figure out my own plans. Not to mention we had a blast and are now good friends.
Because of that first time, when I put myself in the position to be noticed and to receive opportunities, it put me on the right track. Since then I have never turned down the chance to try something new, even when it’s with people who I’ve only just met. Let’s just say this: I have never regretted saying yes, it only brings good things. Even when things don’t turn out perfectly I have at least learned something from the experience. In my brief time here I have agreed to many adventures, including but not limited to:
- Spending the weekend at the beach with only a hammock as a bed
- Swimming in natural pool inside of a restaurant
- Snorkeling in water with sea creatures of many, sometimes scary, varieties
- Learning the salsa, merengue, and bachata dances with only minimal embarrassment
- Jumping off of a 50 foot water fall
- And hopefully more to come!