Until this trip, I had never been so far out of the United States and had certainly never taken a 9-hour plane ride. I was really nervous about it, but I enjoy flying and getting to see the world from above. While most of our flight was at night, the sun rose over South America around 6 a.m. I had a window seat and I got to see the southern end of Brazil and the eastern portion of Paraguay. I was surprised at the number of small rivers and lakes I saw. The flight ended up being really fun, and while I did not sleep much, I got to see some beautiful sights below.
On the flight down there, I got to sit next to my roommate for the next week. I did not know it then, but I had just found a very close friend. We learned that we have very similar interests and personalities. Getting to know Maggie was one of the highlights of my trip. We did everything together, from sitting next to each other on the bus to having meals together. Our first night in Uruguay, we went out together and only became closer after that. She became my very best friend on the trip.
Another person I met traveling to Uruguay was our host, Bruno. He was one of the coolest men I had ever met. I got to sit next to him at dinner one night and he told me about his farm where he has a herd of Herefords. He also told me about his kids, one of which was born in Athens. He told me his family all have dual citizenship between Uruguay and Italy. This is common for many Uruguayans, as their country has much Italian influence. For example, while Uruguay is a Spanish-speaking country, they say “ciao” which is Italian instead of “adios” for goodbye.