To all of you back in Manitoba that are wondering where summer is... I think I found it!
Not sure what the temperature is right now, but I'm sure with the humidity it's somewhere near 40 degrees celcius! But we've been inside for most of the day, and the AC is cranked, which is why I'm sitting here in my jacket dabbing my runny nose.
For those of you who haven't figured it out, I arrived safe last night, though a little worse for wear. I spent three hours in the Chicago airport, which was probably about 2 hours too many. It's a big airport, and I managed to walk a lot of it just to kill time! Landed in Raleigh at 9:00 PM local time (8 PM "PT" - 'Peg time) amid a thunderstorm, and was greeted almost immediately by Daphne, one of VIFs reps. She brought me back to my hotel, gave me my room key, welcome package and schedule for orientation. I found out that the next day would start early -- at 8 AM -- which wouldn't have been so bad if I could have gone back to my room and just fallen into bed. However, I was a little keyed up (though completely exhausted at the same time), and so I waited up for Maria, my roommate, to arrive at midnight. We talked for a little bit, then I tried to relax enough to settle down so that I could be up early!
There are about 25 of us participating in this orientation, which is a larger number than they originally expected, so we're staying at a different hotel than I was told last week. There are at least 8 countries represented in our group, and everyone I've met so far is super nice and excited to be here! There is also one other Canadian (from Nova Scotia), but she's not a newcomer to the program like me, so a lot of this is old hat to her.
The day has been good. Busy, but less so for me than for others. I was exempt from the driving practice this morning, but I tagged along anyway. I would say that I was there to give the others moral support, but really I just wanted to check out my surroundings in daylight! I forgot what it's like to be in a car with inexperienced drivers! Yikes! The same groups went out this afternoon for more practice, but I decided to spare my nerves and catch a nap instead.
VIF has given us all pre-paid cell phones to use for a little while, and then after that we can decide if we want to keep them or find our own plan or provider. I appreciate that, because I can shop around for a good deal later.
We've got one last thing on our schedule for today -- dinner as a group. Tomorrow is another full day, and I won't get as many breaks as I did today. Thursday I will head off to Clinton, and finally get to see the community where I will be living. I'll try to post again before then, because I don't know if I will get many more chances after that until I get my own internet provider.
Whew! I'm beat! Thanks to those of you who have left comments and have sent me emails. I'll try to reply to them when I've got the time. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!