Thursday, July 5, 2012
I packed up my bags, had my last home cooked meal and said a final goodbye to all my relatives. Though the Goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life I knew I just had to think it was only a “see you later”. I set off on that plane ready to embark on my year long adventure!
Me and Hannah were part of the first batch to arrive and Hannah had to here me cry the whole flight! When we landed we were greeted by a YES-Abroad alum from Indonesia. We grabbed all of our bags and took the hotel taxi to the hotel to meet all of the staff and volunteers. We got our name tags which looked super official. Than, we went out to lunch, which I could not eat at all because I was too nervous and excited.
When all the other “YESers” arrived we started to talk about everything that we were feeling.. All of the countries were there but, India Malaysia and Thailand were the only ones leaving right away. The India Group was the smallest and consisted of Me, Mila from Montana, Maggie from Seattle, and Rowan from Ohio. We clicked immediately and especially because we had the best group leader EVER! He was A Yes-Abroad Alum from Mumbai and his name was Austin ( later to be referred to as “DAWWWW-STIN) The PDO was jam-packed with workshops from 7 to ten. The most memorable part would probably be the trip to the State Department and embassy’s!
To go to the embassies we split up by country and took the bus with the Departing inbound students from our country staying in the U.S. The bus was Packed with about 50 YES kids from india and than just the four of us who were from the U.S going to India! They were the most friendly and amazing people ever! They Gave us some great tips such as: “Never cross a street, You will be hit!!!” and offered to teach us cricket! Our bus wound up getting lost so we missed the embassy but we didn’t mind much because we had a really fun ride. Next was the State Department, Which I was extremely Nervous for! It was super High security and we all had to go through metal detectors and be escorted by groups of ten into this huge fancy and official meeting room that looked like the U.N! The Under Secretary even came in to talk to us and answer questions! I was terrified but managed to raise my hand ask how she and the state department made attempts to involve students from all different socio-economic class in both the Inbound and Outbound program. Than there was a panel discussion with representatives from all the different continents there to answer are questions. And this is where it gets CRAZY!!!
Let me just give some background information. During the interview a few months back there was supposed to be a talent show. For this talent show I thought it would be a great idea to write a rap about what thing program is all about to the beat of “where is the love”, by Black Eyed Peas. I performed this rap unofficially in the Lobby just kidding around but I guess what of the state representatives over heard it and loved it. Soooo, back to the State department experience.
I was sitting there trying to pay attention to the speakers when all of a sudden I here from the representative “I here there is a Yes-Abroad Rap going around”. MY face went Red as can be and I froze and I think I almost cried I was so in shock. Imidiately everyone knew they were talking about me and turned to see me. I was shaking terribly!!!! They begged me to get up infront of everyone and rap. Ummmm yeah I refused to rap for the u.s government and be known as a rapper! But they made me Promise to record it and sent it to them :p SCARIEST THING OF MY LIFE!!!! Oh and to add on to it im also known as the Girl who sleep talks about Allen Evans (person who Runs Yes-abroad) and screams and cries because I thought the late night room check knock was actually a serial killer out to get me!
The Gateway orientation was really fun too! It was a lot less of and at a really nice new hotel. This was just For Malaysia Thailand and India Right before we left! It was a lot more relaxed and also had AMAZING food! Here we learned more country specific information. It was so much fun! And we got a lot of good bonding time with our India group. And even came up with a new saying: YOLAFT! Its short for You only live a few times because in India Hindus believe in reincarnation so YOLO just would not do! Also me and mila decided that we are WINNERS and so even we lose we still win. So everything we do we only will accept victory all year. For example: I finished my potato soup and Dinner…WINNNER!!!, Mila answered a question during a workshop…VICTORY! Me and mila have a lot of common but I call her sasquash because she is “sassy”. One night allen evans came over to are table and just so you know if you don’t know allen evans he is super intimidating and I kind of have this slight fear of him but yet we all love him. So he came over and Said that the department of state assigned him to MAKE SURE that the rap was sent to him. So we had to make a music video on my rap which was extremely ambessing and I looked realy awkward and weird in! And than he played it on the big screen for everyone and than sent it to the stae department :p.
Okay im going to fast forward now because I want to talk about INDIA. So the rest of Gatway orientation summed up.
1) Maggie told allen evans I sleep talk about him (awks)
2) A huge lightening storm came and I freaked out
3) A yes abroad alum told us scary stories and made both me and mila cry L
4) We bought allen evans a pink monkey that said hugs from DC J
5) We made a toast for a great year to come
6) The Yes-abroad kids from Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand returned and we got to talk to them for a little.
7) I cried a lot and was super emotional and than Allen had to pull me aside and talk to me about not getting home sick!
SO THATS is for Orientations J and what I learned is already coming in handy now that im in INDIA!!! (sorry about my grammar)
Posted by Ryley Conway at 8:22 PM