After the awful start to my flight, it was quite uneventful. It took only just over an hour in the air and I was served another meal. This was rice with a vegetable curry and it was really good for plane food.
I got through immigration and baggage claim easily, no hassle at all!
The Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) instructions were that they would meet in the arrivals hall and have a sign with our names.
There was no one obviously stood waiting for me, although I was on time. I wondered if it was because I had been so quick through all the checks that they didn’t think I’d be there yet.
I was just loading my emails to double check the meeting point when someone in a PMGY tshirt walked towards me. Luckily I spoke to him as he was actually on his way past me to buy water.
He apologised and said he didn’t realise there was such an early flight. There were others coming from London and Canada so they had missed mine.
It was fine, I was just glad I had found them and no more stress!
I sat waiting for the next flight to arrive, where 4 people were joining us from London.
Rhian arrived first, she sat down next to me and was talking in a chatty nervous way. She is 19 and on a 2 year gap after starting uni in sleteber but hating it. She is lovely and we got on straight away.
The next 2, David and Phil, are 18 and both on gap years before starting uni exit year. They know each other and so have come as a pair.
The final girl was Brittany, she’s only 17 and away for the first time.
I felt very old and worried that everyone was going to be sub-20. After spending the 3 weeks in Goa doing stuff myself, I think I would have been ok if I had just done Sri Lanka independently too. Never mind, I had booked it now and this was what I was doing for the next 4 weeks.
We all got into an air conditioned mini bus and had a 2 hour journey to the house. It was now nearly 2pm, having sat waiting in the airport for 2 hours.
It turns out we are all doing elephants together so that was nice that we would be working as newbies together!
The journey was long. After no sleep I was feeling tired and the others had flown overnight so they also felt tired. We didn’t speak much in the bus, just a few comments on the driving and the weather.
About half way, a rain storm hit. It was very heavy rain and you could feel the humidity drop with the rainfall. There was thunder and lightening and the roads quickly became water logged.
The landscape was very lush with forests of palm trees and green fields as we travelled south. It felt different to India, the same heat but it was much stickier.
We finally arrived after all falling asleep on the bus. I hate sleeping like that, when you keep fighting it and your head jerks around all over the place. When I wake up I worry I’ve been snoring or dribbling, or sitting with my mouth wide open catching flies as my dad says.
We climbed off the bus and the guy told us to just go on up and he would sort the luggage.
The house was all white painted and there is a small pool on the ground floor. The owner’s family live on the ground floor so we passed them in their living room.
Upstairs, we were greeted by a room full of people. There is a large sofa which had about 10 people spread over it and people also sat on cushions on the floor and out on the balcony. It was a lot to take in and we felt a bit stupid arriving, not knowing where to go.
One of the PMGY coordinators greeted us and showed us to the girls dorm and then the boys to their dorm.
Our dorm has 9 people in it and is like a pink princess palace with all the mosquito nets being pink. The bed sheets are orange so it’s quite a clash of colours. I managed to get a bottom bunk and luckily all the beds have their own fan so it was going to be much cooler than the hostel.
We were shown upstairs to the dining room which is a long room with 2 long tables and a serving area at the one end.
There is a roof terrace with a grass area for sunbathing as well as 2 shower rooms in addition to the 2 on the first floor (4 in total).
There are 30 people sleeping in the house this week, but Saturday is a change over day so there were more people who were leaving for the airport later.
The old volunteers were all chatting and joking together, and it was difficult to know where to sit or who to start talking to. The first question everyone asked was about starting uni. I felt awkward and wondered whether to lie about my age, but I’d already told some people.
The 3 of us girls stuck together, although Brittany spent a lot of time in the dorm on her phone. She is very quiet and probably also felt out of it as she is the only under 18 here.
We spent our afternoon on the sofa, occasionally speaking with the old volunteers but really just trying to stay awake!
Dinner was at 6.30pm and was pasta in a tomato and chilli sauce, with a boiled egg and also tomato soup. Nice but a strange combo! All the food is prepared and served by 2 ladies called the sisters who are Sri Lankan and very cute.
The old volunteers decided they were going for ice cream, which I declined as I was tired but I also didn’t have any money yet. Rhian also stayed. But everyone else left!
I know it probably looked antisocial, and if I’m being honest I just was not in the mood to be making small talk with so many people.
I was in a strange mood, I think it was partly being overwhelmed and feeling old, and partly because he’s been texting me and he even called me by the pet name he had for me. I just don’t know what it means or if it doesn’t mean anything.
I know I’m annoying people now, I know talking to him doesn’t help me. But if I totally stop speaking to him I miss him and I also don’t want him to think I have moved on. I’m still holding out hope that he will want to meet up whilst we are both away. J thinks this is going to happen, but I just don’t know. There is nothing anyone can say to make me feel better, except for him to say that he misses me.
We had a shower, which was so nice and cold, and then got into bed. The beds aren’t the comfiest, with cardboard under the thin mattress to stop the metal bars from digging in. They are also quite short – I’m only 5’3″ and my feet hang off the end.
However, with a fan directly pointed onto my bed I had such a good night sleep!
A stressful and overwhelming 24 hours but I’m finally here and Sazzle will love the elephants.