Huddled in the frosty room, voices echoed as we gathered in the house of God. Darkness crept into the church as the loud, smothering voices of fellow YG'ers soon came to a silence as Jonah's voice became predominant amongst the others. Although voices were imminent to diminishing, Jonah quickly screamed, "To the buses!" As others stampeded out of the room, I slowly made my way to the back of the group with my head drooped low. All around me there was laughter and hugging and excitement filled the air. Everyone was excited to leave the demanding bubble that New Canaan ultimately is and to enjoy the beautiful waves that Puerto Rico possesses . On the other hand, nervousness held me by the neck as I was intimidated by the vast openness and broad goals that YG desires and demands. As I progressed to my seat on the bus to depart to the airport, I decided to drown out my nerves with a nap, in awe that it was also 4:30 in the morning... "Everyone off the bus!", shouted Kim, my team's advisor, as her voice penetrated through my ears. The bus ride only felt like 2 minutes, but the plane awaited our arrival. At this point there was no turning back, as I would either make a memorable time of the experience or endure it in depression. I ultimately decided to give the trip a chance because I heard infinite stories of happiness and friendship about the mission trip.
We boarded the plane and prepared for take off. As the plane ensued take off its passengers were full of joy and laughter. It felt like a wave of acceptance and happiness flooded through the plane and it was amazing. The whole plane ride was 5 hours, but to me felt like minutes because of the jokes and games that partook during the flight. Although, it was mostly other people talking and playing games with their friends, causing me to only briefly chime in and out in spite of nervousness . My nerves were calmed by a soothing rest although they soon became tense as we were approaching landing. The trip, my quest, my mission to enjoy what I was doing during my experience in Puerto Rico was imminent. As we came off the plane in order to go to our sleeping headquarters we had to take a 2 hour bus ride where my drowsiness continued as I fell asleep almost instantly.
When we finally arrived at the sleeping quarters, we branched out into our specific teams for dinner. My team was Team C, or Team Cat, which was made up of 18 people including myself. I felt like this dinner was my time to shine and make a solid impression with the people I was spending the majority of my time with during the trip. As the dinner progressed my input was weak and I was frightened that by the end of the dinner my impression to my team would be the same as my input, weak. As everyone was wrapping up dessert I finally made a joke that would leave a mark for the left of the trip. I clenched my knuckles with passion and stared at the white that surrounded my hands. I felt the knot in my stomach tighten as 17 sets of eyes stared at me. A downpour of sweat soaked my armpits and shirt. Trickles of sweat even rolled down my back and my heart was was beating duhduh duhduh repeatedly, faster than ever. To this day I still can't remember what the joke was or what made this joke so funny, but when I saw the amused and intrigued faces of my teammates, I knew it had worked. Joy ran over me as if I walked into a cloud carrying comfort and bliss. I was sprung into acceptance and free of my old timid habits. In spite of this debut, I decided that I was going to choose an identity for myself and become an unreserved, outgoing person to everyone on the trip.
My decision in budding into the conversation at the dinner table changed my life and it also set the grounds for the best time of my existence. My quest for acceptance had diminished, but my quest to help those in need in Puerto Rico had just begun. This new character that I took on guided my success in aiding the poor of Puerto Rico as I was able to use my new leadership to suppress the problems that they were in need of by working to my full extent. After the long week of team bonding, vespers, and work on the site, it was finally time to leave beloved Puerto Rico. Although sunburn diseased almost all of the bodies in YG, it created a stronger bond amongst us to reinforce our unity. I came to Puerto Rico as an individual knowing few in the program and left with a family of 169 brothers and sisters.