Ostin and Karla arrived safely to New York City. Although they’re both mobile, we had requested a wheelchair so that someone could help navigate them through immigration and customs in Miami. A couple who happened to meet them in Honduras, escorted them to meet us and handed me a small bag, smiling as she said, “this is all they have.” It didn’t surprise me at all, nor did seeing Ostin in sandals about to face the freezing cold. Part of me admires the simplicity, and how much I over pack every time I travel. But I also know the reality that Ostin does not have sneakers or other footwear, things we often take for granted.
As we headed to the exit, we handed them winter coats, but they didn’t seem too interested. Once we opened the door to the parking garage, the look of shock on Karla’s face was priceless. “Mucho frio” (very cold) as her eyes widened and she gasped in the cold air! She quickly grabbed the jackets and wrapped Ostin in his new quilt. As we opened up the car door, the next cultural adjustment to hit them…a car seat! We quickly learned Ostin is no fan of these and his piercing screams remind us.
Fortunately, it was a short ride to our hotel. I had reserved one room because I didn’t want them to feel afraid and alone, but I did wonder if this was a wise choice as we tried to settle in for the night. The night actually went better than I expected, and before I knew it I woke up hearing Ostin saying, “que es eso?, que es eso?” (what is that, what is that) as he stared out the window. A whole new world before his eyes as he stared at the street in New York City filled with cars, and buses and construction trucks (his favorite). He’d only been in the city for eight hours and was overly stimulated by the sights, sounds, and temperatures. The adventure had begun.