I have arrived in Puebla, and it feels so comfortable already.

My day was a bit hectic preceding my arrival in this country. Mom and I left our house yesterday, at 7:30 a.m., ate my final Chick-fil-A meal, and drove through icky weather to the airport. I have told people for a few weeks that it hasn’t hit me that I’m moving to another country. Mostly, it just felt like I was driving to the airport to fly to Florida, or somewhere equally as familiar. This is probably due to the fact that I was coming to visit family, that I didn’t have to worry about getting myself from point A to point B once I arrived, and I had become peripherally familiar with the culture through many conversations and photos.

Following my mother dropping me off, checking in, and going through security, I waited at the gate. When I’m flying standby, as I have for many years, I often feel like an animal in competition for a mate, or food. It was with anticipation that I waited for the seat that would supposedly take me to Mexico City. I didn’t make it.

7 hours later, two meals, one completed novel, many text messages and phone calls, and a visit with an old high school friend in another terminal (who knew), I was once again waiting, seething, glaring at the gate agent to please please PLEASE put me on this flight. Finally, I heard my name called, and I was on, jockeying my way through a missionary group, and several other relieved standby fliers. I made friends with a 4 year old in front of me, read over my neighbors’ shoulders (one, it seems, was writing a travel book, and the other was a bug scientist. I don’t know this from conversations with them, but rather, from reading their computer screens over their shoulder. Come on, you know you do it too.)

Finally, I arrive in Mexico City. The third largest city in the world, did you know? Next to Tokyo and Seoul, this city is the most populous in the world. The only word I can think to describe what I saw from the window was “sprawling.” So many lights.

My cousin’s relieved face was my final sight. He had been up since 2 a.m., catching a bus to Mexico City to take care of business before my anticipated afternoon arrival. I am so thankful to him for waiting for me.

I have yet to explore Puebla but have spent a meal with some of the students in the ministry as well as with Nathan and Erin’s teammates, and of course, I’ve met the little one. I tag-teamed with the elder Elsa, who has been taking care of Elsa Lynne for the past few weeks.

Elsa, apparently, likes me. According to her mom, newborns who make eye contact and reach for faces are showing recognition and affection. Score. We’ve had many staring contests and snuggles, and I don’t think she’s completely comfortable with me yet, but I’m absolutely captivated. And yes, Aunt Debbie, I already told her you love her. Several times.

A few photos:

Elsa plays


Don't worry guys, I'll be at home here. There are plenty of books.

Naptime. Check out the slippers.