Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stephanie's Europe Journal: Day 4

Day 4


{This was during the Homestay, and I accidentally used a lot of Spanish because it's literally ALL we heard or spoke, so I'll translate sentence by sentence in this lovely brackets.}

Hola! Ahora eso cosas are settling dow, puedo escribir. {Hey! Now that things are settling down, I can write.}

Alicia y yo estamos staying with Consuela y ella nieta, Lucia. {Alicia and I are staying with Consuela and her granddaughter Lucia.} We were picked up by Consuela's either hijo {son} o nieto {grandson}, which scared me to death. I'm not sure cuando {when} I've been so scared. We were la prima {the first} to get assigned to a family, and Sabine, our guide, said, "You're going to be staying with his mother, who couldn't make it."

Okay, sketch. That immediately sent my estomago {stomach} churning. The guy was about 25ish, and he had a girl about the same age with him. He seemed simpatico {nice}, and even made a joke about how we pack smaller than everyone else. although he said it in Spanish.

He put our stuff in the trunk of her car, and the cuatro {four} of us drove off. More like "dug off." This guy drove like un loca persona {a crazy person}! We took esquinas {corners} like no one's business, pulling out without looking. We sped in front of motorcycles,m just hoping they'd stop. We drove 45 down streets narrower than our old driveway, zipping past people and open car doors with no room for error. It was freaky, but mostly exciting. The thing that bothered me was the lack of security; I felt thrown under the the bus, and I didn't trust this guy! He and his girlfriend kept talking in low voices, and the section of town was growing more ghetto with every hairpin turn.

His mother couldn't make it? My thoughts were jumpy and scared. What kind of rapist bull is that?? I was growing more terrified by the second, almost sure this would turn into something wrong.

Suddenly, the car stopped, right in the middle of a street that screamed "ALLEY OF DEATH" and the guy said, "Vaminos," and got out of the car. He went to the trunk. I looked wide-eyed at Alicia. "Here? Where are we going?" She shrugged, not looking as freaked out as me.

I turned to the girlfriend. "We get out now?" She laughed in an accusing sort of embarrassed way and called to the guy. I asked him the same question. "Here? Now?"

"Si," he said, looking like he doubted by mental ability. So, shaking, I got out. There were bars on every window and graffiti on every wall. A guy drove up behind us and honked the horn. He was about the same age as our guy. Our guy grinned and called something to the other. THey joked and gave each other thumbs up. I couldn't understand anything, but I felt like we were being led into a gang rape or something.

Our guy led us inside a storefront building, and inside it was pinkish tile and stuffy air. Directly in front of us was an elevator, to the left, some stairs. He pushed the elevator button--wait no, we just stood there with our stuff. After an eternity of me praying for help, the elevator opened and a lady like a Spanish Mrs. Bernie {my grandpa's wife} came out. Relief flooded through my body in cool, electric rivers. His mother?! We were safe?

"Hola, que tal?" she said.

"Bien," said the guy. She stuck some money in his hand and he left with an abruptness that felt rude. The lady asked us the same thing, and we said, "Bien." She was smiling and friendly and not at all scary.

We got on the elevator and she asked,

"Hablais espanol?"

"Poquito," I managed. Alicia didn't understand, so we took that as a no.

"Es muy calor," said the lady, acting out the feeling. I smiled and agreed.

We got out of the elevator on floor cinco {5}, and she let us in to her casa. She showed us our room, which is pretty much square, a little longer than a twin bed both ways. There were dos twin beds in there, with only sheets. The walls were pinkish tan and like a popcorn ceiling, but a little smoother. Above one bed is a big rectangular window with closed blinds. Above the other is a dark wooden Jesus on the cross.

I said, "Gracias," and we put our stuff in there. Then the lady started to tell us things in Spanish. No comprendo. At all. For a moment, I was totally lost, but then a girl my age walked in.

"Hola," I said.

"Hi, girls," she said, waving. Another girl followed. The lady made a motion like she was handing over the situation and smilingly left.

We soon learned that the girls, Kira and Hannah, were from People to People too, on the same trip but they'd done it backwards. They told us everything.

Shower for ten minutes, and there's no hot water.
Always wear shoes.
There's no air conditioning.
We can't drink the tap water here.
Lights out at 11, and be quieter once Consuela's asleep.
Don't put your hair up when it's wet.
Eat EVERYTHING or she'll think you didn't like it.
Her granddaughter will take you to the park and try to get you to do stuff that you can't fit into. It's horrible and it's like babysitting.
Don't feed the dog, Lica.
No phone.
Don't use the lights much.
You can't charge anything.

And lotsa other stuff, like how she'll give you this gross peach juice and nasty toast. Oh, and they speak no English; none of them. Not Consuela, not her granddaughter Lucia, not her daughter-in-law. No one. And there's a French boy here too, for tennis camp. He speaks a little English and Spanish.

They--Kira and Hannah--had us pretty much depressed and ready to leave, even though I really appreciated their help, and they really were trying to help.

{This journal entry is wicked long, so I'll continue it either tomorrow or Thursday :)}



  1. Nothing like a little culture shock and "what did I get myself into?" But seriously, so far this could be made into a story. Did you look back at your pre-planned posts and see if they matched to what was really happening?

  2. Ohhh yes XD Thanks :) And I did a little. The pre-planned posts were pretty vague, but I guess they do match up :)