Sam Peltier
2011-12 Outbound to Argentina

Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida
School: Leon High School
Sponsor: Tallahassee Rotary Club, District 6940, Florida
Host: Rotary Club of Curuzú Cuatiá, District 4845, Argentina

Sam's Bio

Hello! My name is Sam Peltier and I will be living a year abroad in Paraguay through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. I live in Tallahassee Florida; I’m fifteen years old and a freshman at Leon High. My passions in life are soccer and my family and friends. When I was 10 my family and I went to Ethiopia to pick up my new adopted brother Kereyo from his orphanage. While it was a very scary and humbling experience it gave me a thirst for world travel that has never been quenched to this day.

My interests are mainly based around my friends and soccer. I play for a travel team as well as my school and I guess you could say I’m really, really into the beautiful game. My family consists of my only sibling (Kereyo), my mother and father, and our three cats.

So yea…I just got accepted to live in Paraguay for a year, which is pretty chill. The first I ever heard about this incredible opportunity was in my Spanish class and while most of my classmates were not interested, I was hooked from the start. I arrived home that night convinced that I was going to do this, and that this experience was going to be life-changing. Sure enough, four months later here I am writing about myself in preparation to leave. Looking forward to this momentous experience I’m filled with several different emotions. While I’m pumped for it all to begin I’ll admit fear is also going through my mind as well. My biggest fear is the language and not being able to cope with it all, while I’m confident I can handle it, I still feel like it’s going to be a challenge.

I’d like to thank the Rotary Youth Exchange for allowing me to be able to do what few people in the world ever have the opportunity to do, and look forward to representing them well over my trip in Paraguay.

Sam's Journals

September

About 6 weeks ago I landed in Buenos Aires for my exchange year! The first day was hectic, first landing and having to go through customs, to driving around Buenos Aires for 4 hours waiting for my host brother to leave for the U.S., man was I tired!

I arrived in my city, Curuzu Cuatia, to 40 people outside of my house waiting to get a glimpse of the exchange student and say hello. I started school and it is very different! I am with just 30 kids all day in the same room, where we take 15 different classes! Luckily I have been able to make friends very quickly because of my constant contact with them, as well as them being very friendly and gracious. The language is difficult but I can definitely see myself improving!

In three weeks I get to take a Rotary trip to Iguazu Falls, so pumped!

Friday, December 30, 2011

08:29 AM

Well here we are half-way through my exchange and it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. Since my last journal entry I have changed families, started summer break, taken several amazing trips, and contracted Botfly.

To start with the slightly less horrid topic, I changed families in November, and I can say without hesitation that I am a lot happier here than I was at the previous family, not to mention the switch’s outstanding timing coming right as summer commenced. With the family I will be taking a two week trip to Uruguay in February, which I'm incredibly excited about, I’m finally getting to see the continent.

On the subject of trips I have taken several in the last two months, the first being a weeklong trip to rendezvous with my soccer team in Florida to practice with Estudiantes De La Plata, one of the best professional teams in South America. It was an incredible experience, not only did I get a true taste of the true soccer business, but I got to play with some of the most talented kids in the surrounding countries, it will be an opportunity I will never forget, and hopefully I might be able to go back for another short stint during my exchange. This last week I also passed my Christmas in a different city, it was a weird experience not being in bed awaiting Christmas morning to share with my family, instead I was with the family at 4 a.m. walking the river boardwalk starting out at the water, while it was an incredible experience, I would be living if I said it wasn’t a slightly bittersweet one.

And finally the gruesome part, in October I had an infected bug bite on my foot, after a short regimen of antibiotics I saw the swelling down to nothing, and thought that it was over, but over the next but two months there was still constant bleeding and pain in my foot, I had no idea what to do. Then one night this month the pain became excruciating, so out of frustration I stumbled my way to the bathroom armed with a pocketknife to play surgeon in the early hours of the morning, after enlarging the strange circular hole in my foot I become to push around the periphery, hoping that a stinger or something would pop out, something popped out alright… To my horror a larvae about ½ an inch long began slowly exiting my foot. So continuing the operation, while trying not to scream in horror I extracted in completely, the following day I went to the doctor, who insisted on shooting my up with morphine and cutting open my foot to see for himself, seems I got them all.

On another note, my fluidity and prowess in the language of Spanish is continuing to develop and improve. I have come to the realization that fluency is such a relative term. I think initially coming here I thought in 3-4 months I would be talking Spanish like I talk English, not the case. Though I understand mostly everything and can converse to the point I’m not terrified of engaging conversations with someone one on one, I still think I have a long ways to go before I am where I want to be, and hopefully I can reach that desired level in the next half on my exchange.

January 21, 2012

Well summer is in full swing in Argentina and I am sure that most of the exchange students are cursing me behind my back for my good fortune, I can’t blame them. My days as of now consist of getting up in the late morning, watching all the soccer I can bear, and then having the arduous task of deciding whether to enter the pool, or just keep reading beside it. Since my last post there have been no larvae coming out of my foot, or any other shocking event, I guess you could say that exchange life has almost settled down into a calm, normal summer, if that’s at all possible.

In two weeks I will be traveling to Uruguay with the family for two weeks for our summer vacation, afterwards we plan to travel to Buenos Aires for several days, but as for most good things, they usually come to an end. When I return home from my vacation I will unfortunately have to start school again, but again, it seems that my fortunes are evening out from a rather bumpy beginning to this exchange, I say this because a mere two weeks after school starts I will be traveling with my actual family in Buenos Aires and my dear little city Curuzu. So I think it’s safe to say I’m looking forward to the upcoming months.

As for my life in Curuzu Cuatia as of now I can’t complain, I am beginning to see the wonders of a small town compared to a big city, although there may not be many things to do (though the pool has become a vital part of the weekly routine of my friends and I) there is a beauty in the fact that I can walk to most of the places I need to go during the day, which we take for granted in a culture where mostly all us or our friends have cars. So being able to walk everywhere as certainly opened up my social life, meaning that if someone ever invites me to their house, regardless if they can pick me up or not, I’m there.

A few days ago my family and I requested that I be sent home early by several weeks. I felt that I should take the time to address my reasons for requesting this “Early Return” in this blog. I feel that most exchange kids and maybe some of the adults in this program see this as an attempt for me to shorten my exchange, with the sole purpose of getting home to our U.S.A. slightly early and starting yet another summer break, well that’s simply not the case. If I have learned one thing from this exchange trip to Argentina it is that you have to do what makes you happy and what you think is best. There are several events in the U.S. in late May that I think are important for me to be a part of, and I don hesitate in ending this magnificent journey a few weeks early, so I can begin the process of fully understanding and applying all I have learned from this year in the next step of my life, and it probably squashes the thoughts of me trying to get out of here as quickly as possible seeing as I am already thinking about when I can plan a return trip.

But enough about thoughts of leaving, which are quite hard to think about, for now I take this wonderful experience one leisurely day at a time.