In 2008, near the end of my sophomore year of college, I bought a plane ticket to Argentina. I had never traveled out of the country, had skied over 100 days that winter, and had no itinerary for my trip except a return plane ticket 2 months later.
I was going to Argentina to ski.
I had 4 layovers on my way to Argentina. When I finally arrived at my first Aerolineas Argentinas flight, I was suddenly surrounded by the smooth yet abrupt-to-my-ears sounds of native Spanish.
I nervously boarded the plane, found my seat (luckily, “27B” looks the same in Spanish as it does in English), and was instantly grateful for the bilingual pilot.
Nearing takeoff, a middle-aged female flight attendance, with lips redder than my cheeks, approached me to politely ask, “Asegurará el cinturón de seguridad?”
Because a) it was 11am, b) we were still on the ground, and c) I don’t drink alcohol, “No, gracias,” seemed like a reasonable response to the offer of a glass of red wine.
The flight attendant leaned over and quietly, to disguise our conversation as she pointed to my folded waist, said in perfect English, “Sir, I agree, it’s a bit early for vino, but we can’t take off unless you fasten your seatbelt.”
She smiled as I belted (pun intended) out a nervous ha with my head down and frantically searched for the metal buckles.
And I was supposed to do this for 2 more months? This was going to be an adventure.