Chapter One of the Guadalajara Diary can be found at:
Chapyer II: D-Day or Departure Day
From Patti’s journal written at 1:03 a.m. on the Monday morning of departure:” This long pregnancy has finally come to full term and is about to give birth. In ten hours we leave for Guadalajara. Will the labor pains be very severe? All that is so familiar and comfortable to us will disappear in a few short hours. Will we be ‘up’ for the challenge of a new land and its people? Our dreams, our hopes, our expectations are all on the line here. An adventure awaits us and we anticipate it eagerly!”
On the day of departure we were up at 6:30 a.m. Our 4 hockey bags had been packed in the days before with what we deemed would be necessary for a year or more in Guadalajara. Our friend, Barbara in her station wagon, and our sisters-in-law, Millie and Sandy with their car, would ferry the four of us and all our luggage to the airport. We left at 8:00. The adventure was launched.
At the airport my brother Ray, and his wife, Angie were there to see us off. We had so many farewells in the past weeks. Some of them were very hard on us and it would be good to finally depart. One of the most difficult farewells for me was to say good-bye to my constant shadow and companion when I was home. I am to this day haunted by the sight of our little black dog, Boots, with her head pressed against the gate to the backyard, her black snout peeping through, watching us depart and whining! She had always accompanied us on all of our trips in the past. Why not this time?
We met another teacher who would be also traveling to Guadalajara to teach at the American School of Guadalajara, which shall be henceforth referred to as ASFG. Brigitte was accompanied by her son, Matthew. And then finally after one more round of good-byes, all of us were on the plane and heading south!
Our flight went by way of Minneapolis and then on to Dallas where we had a 3 hour layover. Then it was on to Guadalajara on United’s supper flight. They still served full course meals back then. Our view out the window showed very few visible lights on the ground. In 1989 rural Mexico had little electrification. Occasionally we passed over a larger center with its subdued yellow lighting. A lot of the land we flew over was mountainous and desert in turn and sparsely populated.
Upon landing, we disembarked and were taken by a shuttle bus to the terminal. Customs was a breeze. We only had one bag checked very perfunctorily by a shy young customs’ woman. We soon realized that our flight was carrying about 15 to 20 teachers destined for the ASFG. There were some people from the school to greet us. We were delayed in leaving for an hour or so because one of the arriving teacher’s luggage had been lost.
Finally we were shepherded to a small fleet of vans which took us to the Lafayette Hotel where we would have a late supper and spend the night. The trip there was very eye opening to us as everything was so different and strange to our foreigners’ eyes. Very quickly we realized that the exhaust pollution was incredible, the city was very beautiful, and everyone was so friendly!
We took a short walk around the hotel and familiarized ourselves with some new teaching partners. Guadalajara! It was all new, all strange, and yet very stimulating and exciting! A spectacular thunderstorm started as we finally bedded down for the night, exhausted by our long journey and all the new stimuli!