Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The big move to Borneo

Today was the big day! After waking up early and finishing up my stress-packing (long story short, my luggage was overweight, especially after they gave us so many teaching books/resources, so I had to do a lot of rearranging and donate a large luggage, large jar of peanut butter, and some Clif bars to lessen the load), our state group took off for the airport around 9AM. 

Though I was definitely ready to leave KL, it was a little sad to say goodbye to all the other ETAs. It won’t be until midyear that we’re all together again.

We arrived in Sabah, Borneo—our home for the next 9 months—after a 3-hour plane-ride.

As we emerged from the baggage claim, we were greeted by the cutest welcome party ever, composed of the state education administrators—who held a large banner and gifted us with colorful beaded necklaces—as well as a photographer and videographer.

It kind of felt like we were mini-celebrities. :p

My roommate and I were even told that there had already been an article about us in our district newspaper. (I wonder what picture of us they dug up…)

We were then bussed to our hotel just outside Kita Kinabulu.

We checked in and settled in for dinner at the hotel buffet (at which I appeared sweaty and red-raced, because I had went for a quick run and overestimated the time I had.

So I ended up not having time to shower. And if you’ve ever seen me post work-out, I look awful.

How people manage to look cute after running is beyond me…).

I sat with the administrators and learned some awesome things about my district, Beaufort—like how they have amazing seafood, and there are about 30 bajus waiting for my roommate and I, leftover from last year’s ETAs (sweet deal, since I only have 1 complete baju at the moment), and our house is going to be a 3-bedroom affair.

After dinner, we had a quick briefing, then blissfully settled into our rooms to rest.

Words really can’t describe how excited I am to be here. Sitting on the bus from the airport to the hotel, I couldn’t help but discern the relaxed island vibe immediately, and was reminded of Central America (especially Panama, with the isolated islands and houses built over water), New Zealand, and Asia all at once—three of my favorite places in the world.

So if my instincts are right, I think I’m going to fall in love with this place.

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