Joshua Yount
2007-08 Outbound to Argentina

Hometown: Orange Park, Florida
School: Orange Park High School
Sponsor: Orange Park Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida
Host: La Lucila Rotary Club
         District 4820, Argentina

Josh' Bio

Hello everyone. My name is Joshua Yount and I live in Orange Park, Florida of the USA. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and have lived many places since. I am a person who loves doing anything as long as it isn’t nothing. J I love swimming, surfing, soccer, golfing and anything that keeps me outdoors. I also like rebuilding cars and motorcycles which is a skill that I learned from my dad. However, there are always days that I like resting and just chilling with some friends or family.

I work at Chili’s restaurant as a waiter and love it. I am very much into music and play many instruments. The three that I play really well are piano, drums and guitar. I write music for the piano and drums. I was assigned to the beautiful country of Argentina and , as you may have guessed, look forward to learning how to play their music and learn their culture including the language, customs, and last but not least, the dances.

I enjoy going to movies with friends and then going to eat later. I eat a lot, which is another reason I’m looking forward to experiencing another culture so I can have the opportunity to try new things, including new foods. I don’t know what the future will bring but in another country I’m sure anything that happens will be unforgettable and will enhance my person. I plan on becoming a very prominent business man and entrepreneur and starting my own corporation someday. I plan on attending the University of Florida. GO GATORS.!!!!!

Well that’s pretty much all of me. If you want to learn more just email me and we can chat or hang out. I’m very open and will talk to anyone. Good thing or bad thing? Who knows.


September 21 Journal

 As the clouds parted, I saw for the first time the beautiful country that I will be calling home for the next year. I had been crammed in an airplane for 12 hours, and my neck had decided not to work. I turned my whole body so I could see out the window and there it was. A slight fog was sitting just above the ground. I could see houses and streets, trees and prairie, beauty and wonder. It was my first time seeing such a foreign landscape and I couldn’t believe that what I had been waiting for, for so long, was finally happening.

My plane touched down and I walked down the terminal, which by the way was full of English speaking people at this point. I walked up to the baggage claim and headed off to customs. That’s when good old culture shock gave me my first smack in the head. All the officers in customs were trying to tell me what to do, but it was as if there mouths were moving without sound. It's not that I’m bad at following directions, IT WAS ALL IN SPANISH!!!! After officially ruining their day with frustration, I walked out into the crowd of parents who were all holding signs up for their students. I read names such as George, Jim, Laura, and Rebecca. The only problem was, there was no sign with the name I wanted to see, JOSH! I thought great, I’m in a country I know nothing about, speaking a language they know nothing about, and my family wasn’t there to help with the situation. I’ll have to say, I got just a little bit scared.

Finally I heard my name screamed about 7 different ways at the same time and saw my family and the family of a friend who lived in Jacksonville two years ago from Argentina running toward me. They were at the wrong gate. I got in the car and after answering all the question I understood, about 2 out of 200, the drive home began. I have to say something at this point. The lines In the road and the street lights mean absolutely NOTHING!!! I knew I was going to be dead before we reached home either by a tractor trailer or some runaway car, but we made it home safe. I went to my room and unpacked my clothes and set it up to look like home. We had a BBQ for my coming and a lot of family came and welcomed me. Aunts, Cousins, Grandparents, and friends. I knew everything was going to be alright.

After the first few days I was set in the routine of the home and used to being with the family all day. However, the day I dreaded was finally here, the first day of school. I can't even tell you how scared I was that first day of school. I was afraid that since I couldn’t make good conversation that the kids would try to talk to me at first, but after realizing that all I was doing was smiling and nodding at everything they said they would leave me alone. Of course, as always when you assume something in another country, the complete opposite happened. After my first day of school, I was off with the kids to dance halls, soccer fields, and rivers. I’ve never had so much fun without saying a single word.

This first month has been more than I could have asked for and I’m enjoying every moment of it. I’ve been to the soccer field of River Play, to the President's home (well about 100ft from it) and on a road that has 12 lanes (imagine crossing it, you're half way across and the lights change and you have to sprint and put up with people honking and yelling names I can't repeat). I figured out the bus system pretty well after taking a bus for an hour in the wrong direction while my parents were at work so I couldn’t call them. That was a journey, but all part of the experience because I was forced to stop a bus and ask the driver how to get to my home and it happened all in Spanish. In return for trying the bus driver drove me home at no cost. What luck!

It’s still really hard hearing nothing but Spanish all day and when I get home from school I’m usually ready to take a nap. Speaking of my school, for all you Harry Potter fans, it’s a castle. I have some pictures of the courtyard below. Its just amazing. I still don’t know what the teachers are saying, but I think I know which teacher teaches each subject. There is one teacher who writes numbers on the board so I assume that’s math. I’ve been wrong before though. I can only hope that the next month stays this amazing. After all this, you have to wonder what’s going to happen this next month. 

Josh

(also known as hosh, yosh, shosh, and yersh)


 

November 16 Journal

 Hey guys!! Sorry its been so long since I have wrote. Its been pretty busy and crazy and hectic and just simply amazing the past two months. We're moving into spring right now. You would never be able to tell because it is sooooooooooooooo cold. I thought this was South America!! You know tropical, warm, thanks Al. Just joking. School is going so much better now that I can actually understand the teachers. You would have never guessed but it helps a lot when you actually understand. I'm doing really good with the language. I can carry a normal conversation without thinking but lack basic vocabulary as far as the names of things. Like street light or things like that.

OK, time for a sweet story. The other day during lunch I went to eat with a friend of mine from school. We were talking and what not and when we got back to the school I was getting the stare from my friends (the stare like how the heck are you talking to that girl ) so after I left her and went to my class I asked why they were making such a big deal about it. Ready for this?¿?¿ IT WAS THE PRESIDENTS DAUGHTER!!!!! holy cow. That was pretty cool. Need to ask her if I can come over for dinner to meet her family lol.

I bought a guide and for the last couple weeks I have been going and visiting the historic sights of Buenos Aires. The architecture would simply take your breath away. It's amazing being in such an old city that has turned modern.

Don't even know what to say about class here. Any teacher from the US would just die within two seconds of class. I cant even believe it. Its basically a free for all. ipods, cameras, arm wrestling, shouting, and running while the teacher just keeps right on talking like nothing is even happening. I must say this is more of a help for me because I am able to practice talking with my friends like all day. The amazing thing is all the kids study at home and learn all the material. We definitely don't have that much discipline in the USA.

There are 4 futbol teams of Buenos Aires but two are way more popular than the other two and they only play each other once a year and I was able to go the the stadium and see the game. It was simply amazing how much the people get into the game, you just simply wouldn't believe it. I'm for the team called River Plate. There are so many chants too. I need to learn those so I can scream them at the other games of river when they play other teams..

Guys. I can't even try to tell you how good the food is here. (I had to get a gym membership just to kind of stay recognizable.) It is sooooooooooo good. But the hours when we eat here are Way different. breakfast pretty much doesn't exist. Then there is lunch at like 1230. Then dinner doesn't happen until like 10 at night. THAT'S A LONG TIME WITHOUT EATING!! especially for me. But here's the thing. When you do eat, you eat enough to last like a week. Full on 4 course meals and then finished of with a good cup of mate. Mate is like a traditional tea like drink. It's put in a silver bowl with hot water and you have a silver straw with a filter inside and you drink it. It takes some getting used to at first but now I cant quit drinking it.

Well, guys, I'm tired of typing so I'll let the pictures say the rest for now. Hope to here from everyone soon. Suerte (luck) to all the exchange kids.

Josh



November 28 - Visit to the Zoo

 Hey guys. This weekend I went to the zoo of Buenos Aires. It was my first time ever going to a zoo, and it was sooooooo amazing. Seeing all the animals that you normally don't ever see except on TV. The story is that the old government of Argentina, which was a really harsh one, didn't put any money into public things like zoos. It was just recently that with the new government the zoo started receiving money to rebuild and bring in new animals and now it's just amazing. Here are some fotos for ya.


   

January 14 Journal

 The holidays here seem to pass as one long day of vacation. You move from one family even to another and one trip to another so fast you hardly remember where you were the night before or where your going tomorrow.

Christmas here is pretty close to how we celebrate it in the US except that the big dinner and family get-together takes place the 24th not the 25th. The house was so full of family members for Christmas dinner that half of us just had to find a place on the floor to sit and eat since all the older people needed the chairs. The meal was pretty much like a normal dinner here, meat meat meat meat meat and more meat with sauces and toppings. (sooooooooooooooo good you have no idea)

The 25th we got up early to catch a micro (which is like a huge travel bus ) to go to Mar Del Plata. It was a city on a slope that sloped down to the beach in such a way that no matter where you were in the city you could see the ocean. It was a 2 week paradise of sun tanning all day and dancing all night, and the city was completely full with people from all the country and from outside the country. We passed new years there and watched the fireworks and danced on the beach with everyone. It was definitely a night to remember.

That's another thing about here, you can meet up with someone for the first time in your life and that person is instantly your best friend. If you find yourself alone here, it's your fault because the people are so open and so willing to share whatever time they have to have a good time.

After this city we came home for a few days then left for a town called Arresifis. It was small in comparison to Jacksonville or Buenos Aires but the funny thing is, we seem to have a better time in small towns because the people all know each other and all gather together to have fun and drink mate so it was really nice to spend a few days in a quieter way of life.

The language has improved dramatically. It was almost as if I woke up one morning and all the Spanish I was trying to learn and couldn't all came into my head at the same time. It feels really good to be able to just say what I want to say and to actually nod my head to what people are saying and understand them at the same time jajajaja.

Well don't have to much else to say so I will let you guys go. I hope all my fellow exchange students are doing well and that the future exchange students can maybe learn something from what I'm writing. (and that Rotary has an Argentinean all ready to do exchange in the Jacksonville area next year. ;) )



April 9 Journal

 I know, I know, I know, way overdue. I guess that’s what happens when you're having the time of your life in another country. The last time I wrote we were passing the Christmas, new year, season in Mar Del Plata, a beach city of Argentina. Well I loved it so much I have been back 4 times since then to visit. I have made many friends there. This is the golden part of foreign exchange, you end up making best friends and contacts all over the world.

Now we are going to move the best thing that has happened since I last wrote. THE NORTH TRIP!!!! We went on a 19 day trip all over the north of Argentina with 42 other exchange students from all over the world. Argentina has an ever changing landscape like the United states. Cordoba, which would be like the Arizona, New Mexico area of the US is a part of the country completely different from the rest. It has its own dialect, diet, and movement. It’s normally really hot in the afternoon so the “siesta” is almost law, because without AC there is not a whole lot else to do but sleep. We then moved on to Salta, which was a region like the Rocky Mountains, Dakotas mix. There, we went on horse back for 3 days traveling through the mountains and slept in tents at night. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. To wake up in the morning to see a never ending, rolling green landscape with a hint of fog, then to get on your horse and take off. Of course the highlight to the whole trip was, you guessed it, IGUASUUUU. The worlds largest waterfall. We stayed in the town of Iguassu for three days and took a full days hike all around the waterfall. We also were able to go in boats underneath the falls and let the water soak us; it was the most amazing experience of my life.

Upon arrival to Buenos Aires, I had to start school again. I thought it was going to be the end of all fun but the exact opposite happened. After being on a three month summer break, I never realized how much I improved with the language. I sat down in my seat, and as sociology began, I realized I UNDERSTOOD IT ALL. It's just one amazing experience after another. I am now able to do the homework and take the test. I’m not saying I’m straight A’s just yet but I’m getting there.

As I enter my 8th month of exchange I come to realize just how short my exchange really is. A year of something as amazing as what I am experiencing just flies by, yet, at the same time, you can't help but notice just how much you change, mature, and become more open to life and the ideas of others. You come to realize that there is a world out there outside your own borders with people who just might think differently than you without being wrong. You also get the amazing experience of being able to think and speak in a completely different language, with it all making since. Although I will admit I am not yet totally fluent. I understand 100% when people talk to me but I still make grammatical errors and speak with an accent when I talk. I’m hopping to be able to iron that out before I come home. Until next time.