Today was the day of all days. After a wonderful dinner last night at Diego’s Finca in the highlands of Santa Cruz, we were driven out to a campsite with pre-arranged tents and a fire, and left to bond and collect moisture from the rain. It was fun, but also cold and wet. Diego and one of his mates came to wake us at about 4:30am, so that we could see and experience the process of milking cows. Nobody was happy about this, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone obliged and at least attempted to milk the cow. Thankfully, Sandra requested that rather than return to our sopping camp site for a quick siesta, we simply gather our belongings and return to the house. So we did, and I got an extra ten minutes of sleep or so before breakfast.
Breakfast was followed by a tour of the finca and multiple hikes to multiple craters, all on Diego and Nicole’s land. They own over 300 acres for their finca, and have the luxury of owning the tallest hill on the island. It was a bit rugged and wet, but I did have a good time.
After a bittersweet goodbye to Diego and Nicole, we all hopped into another private bus to collect our bags at the hotel. Finally we were allowed to quickly change out of our soaking wet clothes, and we had lunch yet again at El Chocolate.
After lunch was the main event- the 2 hour boat ride to Isabella. Most of us fell asleep during the ride, and I’m thankful I did, because as soon as I was more than half awake I became aware of my stomach ache, despite having 3 Dramamine in the previous 24 hours. Fortunately for me, I was only queasy for about 20 minutes until we reached the island.
After being auctioned off at IOI (dancing like a blue-footed booby to match my family), I finally met my host mother and sister. Both are very nice, and Argentina was very excited to see me. We took a taxi to the house, where Argentina showed me my room (complete with my own bathroom and mini fridge) and fed me milk and juice.
At last I got to settle down into my own space. I needed a shower, but couldn’t bear to take one until I was mostly all unpacked, and it didn’t take me long to pull everything out of my suitcase.
I relaxed for the next hour or so before going to dinner with my host sister and host dad. We didn’t say too much on the way there, or at dinner, but that was fine with me. They seem to be fairly quiet in general, and I’m ok with that. All of the families were at the same restaurant for dinner, so I saw all of my new friends. Amanda passed out maps to each of us indicating how to get from our house to IOI, and we shared the maps amongst ourselves so that we all know were everyone lives.
We missed each other in those few hours apart. We were really on our own for the first time, and we all felt a little overwhelmed and lost. The language barrier became a reality, and we all felt that we should come together again. So, a few of us met outside IOI after dinner, and strolled around town. We talked about our families, our houses, whether or not we have internet, and the transition from being all together to being separate. We realized that we wouldn’t be together as often now, and we were all a little sad. We decided to make an effort to spend time together as much as possible.