Sunday, March 8, 2009
I knew I was going to be alright when we arrived at the bus depot and saw the families clustered together waiting for us. The anticipation on their faces plus the nervousness of the kids on the bus heightened all of our emotions as we were told to wait for everyone else on the bus to deboard first. Most of the kids had their faces glued to the glass of the windows, looking for their new families and waving to them. I think we all were kind of afraid that we wouldn´t recognize the people that were temporarily adopting us, even after spending hours on end examining their photos and the short descriptions they gave us about themselves. Every kid has some fears lurking in the back of their minds going into an exchange program. They fear that they won´t like their family, or their family won´t like them, or they´ll get placed in a bad town, school, etc, I could go on for days, but when I got a chance to look out that window and see my family I knew it was a well made match and I would quickly come to love them. They had a big yellow sign waiting for me that read ¨Bienvenido a Chile Analisa¨(Welcome to Chile Analisa) and three star balloons that were red, white, and blue. A man came on the bus and explained that we would get off one by one so that there wouldn´t be too much chaos and they could take pictures of us first meeting our families, of course the group elected me to go first. I put my backpack on my shoulder and walked out. The second I stepped out everyone burst into smiles, including me. My host mother was beaming and literally jumping up and down while all the others called my name and ambushed me with hugs and kisses. It was the perfect welcome and the start of many wonderful memories.