Well Sarah and I have arrived to Puerto Rico, safe and sound (and sweating – its hot!). Sister Mary Ruth and Sister Miriam were waiting at the airport for us. On our way out of San Juan, we got caught in a mini traffic-jam outside the Krispy Kream doughnut shop, but eventually made our way to Longhorns Steakhouse for a very non-traditional dinner. Nonetheless, it was good food and made for a good transition, I suppose.
This place is beautiful – the Sisters, the Monastary, the school, the church, the teachers, and the backyard (papya mango and banana trees)! The Sisters were so excited to show us our room, which is incredible. The furniture is very nice, and Sarah and I have cute, matching comforters. We also have a bathroom with warm water for showers (an amenity I did not have living in Guatemala, however I should probably shower more often as a teacher than I did as a student), and a flatscreen TV with satellite (another amenity I’ve never had).
Next we met our pitbull guard dogs named Luna and Carmello. Carmello warmed right up to us, but Luna will take more work… I’ve made it a goal of mine to befriend her.
“No hay prisa” – There is no rush! We figured that out quickly. For example, mass started at 6pm last night and we got into the car at about that time. The next morning, we were supposed to have a teacher conference starting at 8:15, and we left the Monastary at about… oh, 8:15! The great part is that nobody minds. When we got to the teacher conference, Sister Mary Ruth brought us right up to the front and had us introduce ourselves in Spanish, of course! It was a little intimidating but I kept reminding myself that it is the best way to learn! My name here is “Hana”, because “J” is not pronounced the same way. I also learned that I will be teaching Health and History/Geography of the Americas to eighth graders. I am still crossing my fingers that I will be receiving textbooks/materials for both of these classes before Monday, because otherwise I don’t really know where to start. I am also hoping to get a girls soccer team going at the school!!
Today we saw a little bit more of Humacao, the city we are living in. I have noticed there are a lot of abandoned and run-down buildings right next to nice, clean houses. It will be interesting to get to know the town better.
For those worried about our safety here (Mom, Dad…), rest assured that we are quite secure! Sarah and I learned quickly to be in our room by 10pm sharp. At that time, loud beeping fills the monastery hallway and a Spanish voice warns of the motion detector that is being activated – the device detects movement DIRECTLY outside our door, so no leaving that way. As for the windows, I don’t think we will be testing Luna or Carmello’s protective capabilities.
I cannot express how happy I am to have Sarah on this adventure with me! It’s good to have someone I can be completely lost with in chapel (there is only an average of 5 of us in there at a time, 2 of which are Sarah and I…), laugh with when everyone else is laughing and we don’t know why, and to hang onto when the Sisters drive on the wrong side of the road. But really, I think this journey will be even more meaningful having someone who can completely relate to all of the new experiences to come!
My favorite part of tonight was that Sister María gave Sarah a plastic recorder from a fast food restaurant, because Sarah told her she used to play flute. When we got home from dinner (Pizza Hut), Sarah played “Hot Cross Buns” and I danced to it in the kitchen for the Sisters! J It’s going to be a good year.