Mon, Jan 8, 2018.
It is 6:00 a.m in the morning as I’m preparing to leave MCO and hop on a plane for approximately 21 h 15 m. After the first 6 hours of my journey, the plane makes its first stop in SFO, California. I find myself eating breakfast for the second time that day, with a weird perception as one feels they just traveled back in time. A couple of hours pass, and I get ready to board a Boeing 777-300E (a.k.a jumbo plane). I´m very excited to board this aircraft as it is my first time flying a plane with such notable dimensions. As typical one goes in through the first class rows before reaching those uncomfortable economy chairs. My jaw drops as I see the seats these people have, I had only seen such a thing in pictures. Next thing you know, I find my seat and start working on the hardest math problem I´ve ever done; solving a Rubik’s cube. Only 10 % of the population can actually solve one of this things, so without further due, I downloaded a cheat sheet and attempted to work on it for the remaining 15 hours. Luckily it didn´t take me the entire flight to figure out how to complete this cube, which allowed me to get at least 9 hours of sleep. Finally, I arrive at Hong Kong´s International Airport where the real struggle begins. After one takes a train to get to immigration, you will find multiple electric staircases that take you to the main lobby. As I’m going up this stairs, one of my apple earbuds falls to the lower floor where the train arrives. I was trying to get back down to get it, but there were no stairs going down. I spend the next 45 min trying to communicate with the airport security to show me a way down so that I could retrieve my missing headphone. Finally, a security guard points towards a staff elevator, where everything was written in Cantonese. I start pressing the lower level buttons and accidentally triggered the elevator alarm. Luckily for me, no one noticed that, and I was able to get my earbud back. Now, I’m on my way to immigration. Hong Kong Baptist University sent a welcome packet with our student visa on them. I had no idea the visa was an actual sticker that you had to paste in a blank page of your passport, so when I get to the immigration officer and try to show him my documents he just sent me to the back of the line and told me to paste the visa. I was confused towards where to paste it, the sticker had some barcodes that were useless but I wasn´t sure if they needed them or not. The lack of directions made the officers send me to the back of the line at least twice. Finally, I got through as a student and was picked up at the airport by a beautiful local named Alexandria.
When I first applied to study abroad I knew I was seeking for a change in my life. I honestly wasn´t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that it was somewhere in Asia. Being raised in Honduras and studying at Rollins already made me a diverse person, however, that didn´t full fill my need to seek that multicollinearity in a different society becoming more of a citizen of the world. I ended up going to Hong Kong because it is one of the greatest metropolitan city in the world. A former British colony and one of the greatest harbors in Asia, Hong Kong presented itself as a culturally diverse city. Something that I really wanted to experience. In the pre-departure orientation, we discussed traditional values and placed them on a spectrum, asking ourselves if tradition is important or if change is good. I grew up in a Catholic family, but with opened minded parents which didn´t enforce it quite heavily. Traditional values are important, the fact that I´m from Latin America, speak Spanish, and have different cultural backgrounds makes me want to carry on with my identity and mix it up with all the cultures I’m able to. It is important to remember once root, but it´s also really important to grow far apart from them. The only constant thing is change, and adapting to change is one of the things that I´ve had to cope with my entire life. Lastly, if you take into account that I´ve had to adopt the U.S, Honduran, and Colombian cultural values; And in a couple of months, I will be experiencing the Asian culture. I strongly feel that people without these experiences will see the world differently. Traveling and emerging different cultures, broadens your perspective of life by getting you out of your comfort zone, and making you feel more connected to the world.