I arrived at Mount Angel Seminary in Saint Benedict, Oregon on August 23, 2009. My flight from Seattle was a short 30 mins. on small Horizon Air Commuters. I was picked by a seminarian brother. With a full luggage suitcase and a balikbayan box (a term used to describe a shipping box used in travel), I expected to be riding a van. When we arrived at the car, it was a small old seminary car. There was another new seminarian that also arrived the same time as I did. With four pieces of luggage, I thought that we wouldn't fit. What such doubt. When our driver, Joseph, tried to open the trunk, it was stuck. We couldn't open it. Ahh, I thought. What such luck.
So, with the faith of my other new seminarian brother, we tried to fit all our luggage and three bodies in a 4 seat car. Although this puzzle was only a few pieces, it felt like a thousand. Praise God we managed to fit all the pieces together, leaving not even leg room for all of us (well at least the driver). The first cross I had to bear was seating in the most awkward position for about an hour (seated in the front seat with my seat belt on, my carry-on on the floor, and a checked baggage of my seminarian brother (at least 40 lbs.) on my lap. We all had to serve as rear-view and side mirrors. My agony in the garden was eased when I got to see all the sites of the place I will call home for the next four years.
When we arrived at Mount Angel Seminary, we were greeted by the orientation team. I got my room number, 329, and began my second carrying of the cross. My room is on the third floor and they haven't finished building our elevator. I had to bring all my luggage up to my room. I thought to myself, can't I just sleep on the first floor. My pain was eased when a seminarian brother helped me carry my heavy luggage up three flights of stairs. I was inspired by the lack of complaint from him. A stranger and he helped me. That made realize what service I am called to do for others.
I got to my room and there laying on the table was a Saint Benedict Medal and Holy Water. Felipe (Seminarian that helped me) instructed me on some housekeeping and then left me in my room. There I was, alone. I sat on the chair for several minutes to thank my God for bringing me here.