I arrived to San Francisco International Airport at noon this Monday after a long and exhausting journey across the Atlantic. It started at 3am Swedish time on the day of my departure when Ellen was kind enough to sleep over and drive me to Arlanda, from where my flight then left at 6.30am. A 2hrs flight later (from which I remember close to nothing except me waking up sitting with my head resting on my knees in an incredibly uncomfortable position) I arrived in Frankfurt. If you have ever been to Frankfurt International Airport, you probably know the humongous size of it, and will thus understand my dispair of having to run from gate A23 to gate Z56 in less than 40 minutes to make it through another round of security and passport checking (oh, dear US).
The flight across the Atlantic was nothing more than expected - life-threateningly boring. I watched 3 movies, had already seen 2 of them and fell asleep during the third. I looked out the window (clouds), I went to the bathroom and tried not to bumb into the slightly too large American couple sitting next to me when I desperately tried to make myself comfortable enough to fall asleep and hopefully kill some time. I must have fallen asleep at some point, because somehow 2 or 3 hours suddenly disappeared from the count down on the screen in front of me.
When we where closing in on San Francisco around noon local time, the pilot announced that we would be able to see the Golden Gate bridge from my side, and I frantically stared out the window to get a glimpse of this iconic view. Fog. Miles and miles of fog. I guess we can't always have the luck on our side.
At 3.00pm I finally reached the Residence Hall on Market Street after having walked around with my iPad glued to my nose for a while trying to find out where the heck this building was where I was going to spend my next year. After passing countless of homeless people with my bajillion bags and loose objects I found it, and the receptionist Bob gave me my key and a welcome package from my supervisor Katie. I was alone and had no idea what to do and where to go. I decided to cry. I was so tired and I felt so lonely, so incredibly lonely. What had I gotten myself into? I went though a million reasons for why I should hop on the next flight back home during that hour, but finally (with the online help of some friends) gathered enough strenght to get up and get myself together.
The next day more people started arriving and it all started feeling better. I wasn't all alone anymore, and even though I didn't know these people, they meant well and I knew we were going to be friends at some point, so whatever, right? (Thank you mom for giving me that last piece of advice the night before I left!) Antonia from Ireland arrived and somehow we managed to find each other and decided to go out and eat some pancakes before our first meeting that afternoon.
The coming week would be filled to the breaking point with meetings and practical training, and there was basically no time to stop and think over the span of the 4 days we had training as there was always something going on. My fear of losing out was not even that present as I noticed that as soon as training was over, we all were too tired to do anything fun. Oh, I should probably explain this part a bit more I just realized. Basically, (and I will try to describe this in more detail at a later occasion) I am one of the 9 so called RAs (Residant Assistants) who were called into training for 10 days before the rest of our class arrives next Friday. I will explain my job description later, but see it as a sort of peer counseling and community building position.
After a week of an incredibly packed schedule I now lay in bed after my first day "off". Me and the others haven't had enough energy to actually get out and do stuff today except a hike up Corona Heights organized by our supervisor Katie this morning. Pictures to follow.
All in all I am... Way less stressed out than before I left, and happy over having the opportunity to settle in in this crazy place before it gets even more crazy, and happy over the fact that the group of RAs I am surrounded of seems to work well together and have fun. I don't know what the next week holds, but I'm sure it will be as educating and interesting as this week, and I look forward to see what awaits me.
Now it is time for little me to sleep before I have to wake up again tomorrow to go to the Farmer's Market on UN Plaza and make name signs for my residents' doors.
A bad quality picture of what my dorm room kind of looks like.
My supervisor Katie on top of Corona Heights.
The majority of my group of fellow RAs. (Corona Heights)
Sara from Canada and MUWCI with the stunning view of San Francisco's the Mission District in the background.