Friday, March 20, 2009

I Will Survive- March 12, 2009

Hi everyone- this is my first post for our trip. Destination….Mar del Plata. I am not sure where to even begin explaining my experiences here. Well, I was really overwhelmed when I stepped off the bus and was greeted by about 12 people hugging and kissing me, speaking to me in Spanish; and I didn’t even know them. Everyone referred to me as “the one who plays volleyball” and “yes, yes” (aka CiCi in Spanish). My first thought was, “Oh my gosh…what did I get myself into?” That’s exactly what was running through my mind. A little nervous and scared.

Within the next few days I felt like I was right at home. The people here in this city are more than welcoming and kind- they are something that I want to model and be a part of. For example, every time we greet one another here in Argentina, both people give each other hugs and kiss one another on the cheek- guys with other guys, old and young. The best part is that no one is weirded out about it. It is just a form of greeting. The fellowship is amazing (not to mention that the food is too!). We eat dinner starting between 10-11. Dinner consists of an appetizer that is always enough for a meal. Then about 3 helpings of the actual meal. Then dessert, then more dessert. After visiting for about another hour, dinner ends. Then we usually go to bed between 4-6 am (after experiencing the nightlife). One night we went to a karaoke bar and sung “I Will Survive” in English. It wasn’t pretty, but we gave it our all!
We have seen the important industries that provide many people with careers. We visited all occupations relating to the fishing industry including rope factories, tuna and anchovie canning companies, and ship yard workers. We even got to spend a professional day with a person who is in the same career as us. I went to visit one of the local private schools, and I got to talk to a young man who plays on the Argentina National Volleyball Team here. His name is Juan. The school system is very different than in the United States, but Juan and I had very much in common. It was an amazing feeling to be able to express my passion for something and share it with another person (who I didn’t even know). So far, I could not have asked for a better experience and I hope that the rest of this trip continues to make me feel this way.

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