We’ve been here for a week!

It’s hard to believe we left Dallas a week ago today! It seems like a lot more time has passed since then. The first day of the week was full of traveling, and we arrived here late Wednesday night. One of the local men picked us up from the airport and commented on the large number of bags we had with us. He seemed very surprised that we had 4 suitcases and said he had never seen anyone with so many bags. I was very confused until we discovered that he thought we were only staying for a few weeks. He took us to our apartment and explained a few things to us, like how to use the water heater and how to open the door to the building and the door to the apartment. Doors here are very different from what we’re used to. Lots of the doors into a building have a latch that opens when you push the correct numbers on the front of the door and push/pull the door just right. The numbers aren’t electronic, though. They’re mechanical, and they have to be pushed in just the right way. For instance, for one of the doors, you have to hold down two numbers at the same time, and for another door, you push three numbers in a specific order. The office door is opened automatically by the receptionist when she pushes a button. There are so many new things in a new culture that you’re expecting, but I can’t say that I was expecting to have to learn a new way to open doors. 🙂

The rest of this week has been full of “getting settled.” I know in reality it will take a while before we are truly settled, especially since we’ll be moving to a new apartment sometime. I am learning where the different grocery stores and shops are, and we have ridden in taxis, buses, and on the metro. I think the buses are my favorite because you can see so much of the city. Of course we haven’t ridden any of these by ourselves yet since we don’t know where anything is! All the stores I’ve shopped at are within walking distance. We are getting lots of good exercise from all the walking and from the three flights of stairs to get to our apartment.

One thing I’ll be happy to be finished with is having to go to meetings. We haven’t had a very regular schedule so far since the meetings have been at different times each day. This afternoon, for instance, we have a meeting, or an orientation class of sorts, to introduce us to the local culture. We’ve done some reading of a few articles they gave us, and this afternoon they are going to discuss the readings and go over some other useful things that we haven’t learned yet. While I’m a bit tired of meetings in general, I am excited about this one. In order to be more comfortable in a new culture, it really helps to know the local customs, attitudes, and expectations.

As far as I know, I don’t have anything that I’m supposed to be doing tomorrow, although I think Bryan has a meeting with his boss. I’m looking forward to a full day at home to finish the laundry I’m working on today and to take care of other household duties. Language learning officially begins on Friday!

Published in: on July 14, 2009 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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