Randy Jaycox
2013-14 Outbound to Hungary

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
School: Stanton College Prep
Sponsor: District 6970, Florida
Host: The Rotary Club of Pécs, District 1911

Randy's Bio

Szia! A nevem Randy Jaycox. In other words, Hi! My name is Randy Jaycox. Yes, I am lucky enough to be the outbound student to Hungary in 2013-2014! I am seventeen years old and a senior at Stanton College Prep in Jacksonville, Florida. It is such an honor to have the experience of living in another country through the Rotary Youth Exchange. I don't know how to express how excited I am to be a part of the exchange. All I can do right now is keep thanking my family and Rotary about a million times! In Jacksonville I live with my family whom consists of my two older sisters, Shannon and Noelle, and my parents, Bill and Mary. I have two dogs and two cats. My dog's names are Moose, who is a Great Pyrenees, and Butler, who is a Silky Terrier. My cat's names are Bella, who probably is the softest and sweetest cat I've ever seen, and Toot, who is probably the meanest cat I've ever seen! People always tell me that I am very easy going and that I should have no trouble fitting in. For club and for school I play very competitive soccer. I love to work on my car, in fact my dad and I rebuilt my engine (which took all summer!). My sister Shannon was also an exchange student to Brazil! Shannon is who I got the idea from to apply for the youth exchange. When we visited her, I thought that was the coolest experience and from the on the idea, to do the same thing, grew in my mind. I am already lucky enough to have traveled to so many different countries (which I’m sure inspired my love of traveling). I love the faces I get when people ask me, "Where are you going to college next year?" and I just respond with, "Well I'm not going to college next year. I'm going to Hungary." After I enjoy their shock, I go on to explain the program. The more I think and the more I tell people about it, the more excited I get. I am thrilled to be going to Hungary, which I heard from quite a lot of people is a beautiful and amazing country! I can't wait for the adventures I hope to be having when I am there! Although Hungarian is a very interesting language I'm sure over time I will be able to conquer it!

Randy's Journals

September 28, 2013

I have been in Hungary for eight months today. These past eight months have been exhilarating. I really do not know how to express my feelings toward this exchange all I can say is it has been "szuper" so far- my host family is great, my school is great, and my city is great! I guess will roughly describe the past two months. The trip getting here was something; I went from having a total of 12 hours flying/layovers, but it turned into a 28 hour experience! It was weird though because I thought I would freak out when something like that would happen, but I felt very calm the whole time. My original itinerary was Jacksonville to Atlanta, Atlanta to Rome, and Rome to Budapest. My Atlanta to Rome flight was delayed so then I was going to miss my flight from Rome to Budapest. Now that doesn't seem to bad, right? Well they didn't tell us we would miss our connecting flight, if we had one in the morning, until 10 minutes before we started to board. My flight fro m Rome to Budapest was at 10 in the morning. The people at the kiosk told everyone that if we had a connecting flight at 10 or later the next day we would miss it. i tried calling my travel agent to get me a new ticket before getting on the plane but it was a big mess because when I landed in Rome I had no way of contacting my travel agent or family or anyone, I didn't have wifi or international calling… I was a little confused on what to do because surprisingly no one in Rome's airport spoke english! So ended up walking around Rome's airport for an hour looking for Delta's kiosk. Anyways long story short, my new itinerary became Rome to Amsterdam, 6 hour lay over there, then Amsterdam to Budapest. That was a long day of flying! For the next two weeks I had a language camp in Dabas. Dabas is a very small town outside of Budapest. It was a very interesting experience although I did have a lot of fun. All the other exchange students were there as wel l so we all became good friends after the camp. I am very thankful for the camp because it taught me quite a bit of the language, which might I add is a very difficult language. I have read and been told that it is somewhere in the top five hardest languages to learn! On the last day of camp my host family came to pick me up and we had a five hour drive to Pécs, we talked the whole way. For the next two weeks before school, my family took me to many places. First they took me on a tour of Pécs which took a few days. We went to Orfú, a village outside of Pécs, to go swimming and walk around. There are many lakes in Orfú, it's a popular tourist destination. We also went to lake Balaton for a few days. It is the biggest lake in Europe, I believe, or at least in Eastern Europe it is. The first week of school was very interesting! I'm in a class with Mary, the other exchange student from Florida, and Emily, an exchange student from Aus tralia. I don't know if its such a good thing that we are all in the same class, but I am enjoying myself and I have made friends! None of the teachers, except for the english teachers, speak english so in most of my class I study Hungarian, read, or do University work for my applications. Almost every weekday after school, the exchange students and our Hungarian friends all go to Árkad. Árkad is the major shopping center here and it is quite big! For the past two weeks we have had some sort of festival, every weekend it's different. There are about 30 stands set up in the square in the middle of the city and a new group preforming in an outdoor concert everyday! It has been really fun! Some days after school I go train with the University soccer team! That has been interesting since none of them speak English. At home I try to use my Hungarian, but my family knows a tiny bit of english so they try to speak to me in English! It gets frustrating someti mes when I ask them to speak in Hungarian, but after a minute of that they switch to English… Even though it's frustrating I still really like my family! The food here is pretty good, they eat pretty unhealthy here though. Most of the food is fried and people never eat vegetables! It's kinda strange, the only vegetables they eat are peppers and tomatoes! I take the bus everywhere I already know the city backwards and forwards including all the bus routes and most of the numbers! My host parents bought me a monthly pass for the bus so I just get on without paying, it makes things very easy. Well I believe that is a rough description of what I have been doing! Until next time!

January 5, 2014

In my last journal submission, I said that I have been in Hungary for 8 months, that was a mistake. Then, I was only here for 8 weeks.. now it's been 5 months! Since September quite a bit has happened. I have travelled to new cities, I just switched host families, I have experienced more awkward situations, I have gained new friends and I have experience four holidays away from home. I'm going to pick up where my last submission left off. I went to my first movie soundtrack concert here in Pécs, that was pretty cool! The played famous soundtracks from movies like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. I've never experienced a concert with an orchestra and where I had to wear a suit! The Concert hall here is the second largest and most beautiful in Hungary! A few days later My host family and I went to Graz, Austria. They decided they wanted to going shopping for a day in Austria! Graz was a very beautiful city and the shopping center we went to was bigger than any I have ever seen! My host parents also speak German so it was very easy to get around. When we were in Graz, I could really see the difference in the standard of living between Austria and Hungary. You might be thinking, "oh, Graz is a very nice city in Austria, that's why." Pécs is also a very nice city in Hungary, but the differences are very noticeable. In october I also visited many festivals in surrounding villages with two other exchanges students, Angelo and Taylor. They are both from Brazil and Angelo speaks english, but I have to communicate with Taylor through my small knowledge of Spanish! The village festivals are just as interesting and fun as Pécs', they offer more spectator and consumer contact than the big city festivals! My dress code at school is like public school's dress code in Florida, but there are occasional times were we have to wear our "uniform". On impo rtant days we were this "uniform" which consists of boys wearing a black tie, white shirt, and black suit. The girls have a more tightly controlled outfit, it is a specific uniform that sort of looks like a sailors uniform. Next came Halloween. Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine because every year I would do the same thing. I would find an awesome costume, most likely something from my favorite movie that year, go to my best friends house, and then of course go trick-or-treating! The build up to Halloween was probably better, in my opinion, than the trick-or-treating itself. I would always watch scary movies every night, even though I hated them, and my family and I would always get a huge pumpkin and carve it. My dad, being the architect that he is always had to make the pumpkin look awesome! The last thing that always got me excited was seeing the Halloween decorations on people's houses. My Halloween in Hungary consisted of me sitting at h ome watching scary movies. So it wasn't quite the same, but it wasn't bad. I got to watch scary movies still! Hungary's Halloween is on the first of November and is quite different. They travel to all of the cemeteries where their relatives are buried, and pay their respects by leaving candles on the tomb/gravestone. At night it looks very beautiful, we travel to a city called Mor which was a few hours away and it was dark during our drive home. Passing through all the cities was a site I will never forget because in every city, village, and town people were walking around with candles in their hands and all of the cemeteries are lit up by the candles. It was unforgettable. After halloween, I visited a city called Székesfehérvar. It was also a very beautiful city and was rich with history, in fact it was the "King's city", everything related to kingship happened there. One day at school, my friends and I were playing soccer and on e kid kicked the ball over the fence into an area thats outside of school. This place is an empty, forest type of area that is not accessible unless you climb over the fence on top of a wall. This wall fence is over 20 feet tall, but of course my friend embarked on his adventure to climb the wall and fence and find the ball in the jungle on the other side. The only way to get back over is if we toss a rope over the fence so he can climb back up! Back in Florida this would not be allowed, but in Hungary the gym teachers tell them to do it! It's very dangerous and each time someone goes over they get hurt, but of course child's safety is not a concern here :P haha. One weekend there was a race that occurred on Pécs' mountain Mecsek. During the day all of the cars are out in the main square for everyone to see and then at night they race along the mountain's roads! That was quite interesting because there is an age limit on the cars, they can't b e newer than 1970. We also started our "Prom" dance back in October when its not until January 19th. Apparently the dance is a huge thing here and we do it as a class instead of individual dancing. Now that its January I know that its a really big dance even though I don't really know it and it's in two weeks.. Skipping ahead, the next holiday I missed was Thanksgiving, this one is a nice holiday for everyone because most people are with their families, but this year I was with my other family. I did make it more like the holiday back home than I did for Halloween, but it still wasn't quite the same because they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. I did some traveling in the weeks after thanksgiving, I went to a city called Miskolc. It is the second or third biggest city in Hungary and went for a birthday party, I had many exchange student friends there! That was fun, a week or two later I went to a city called Györ for a Rotary meeting. Every ex change student was required to go so it was nice to see all of the exchange students again, the last time I saw everyone was in the language camp in Dabas, back in August. On November 27th we had our first bit of snow in Pécs, it lasted about week. Angelo and I were in the gym and when we came out everything was covered in an inch of snow, it was crazy! We were freaking out, we were taking videos and pictures of basically what looked like rain and everyone around was were probably thinking we were crazy! Unfortunately that was the only time we go snow. Since then we have not received snow, but they say it may come in Febuarary. Next thing I knew Christmas came, but here its a little different and that's sort of why I thought it came so quickly. On December 6th, their Santa comes- he delivers candy to all. Christmas is like a three day thing here, we say Merry Christmas the 23rd, 24th, and the 25th. The 24th is the real Christmas day and the day where we eat a big dinner and share presents. Christmas was a tough time for me, the toughest, but it wasn't too bad because I had a Christmas with my host family on the 24th and on the 25th I had a Skype Christmas with my family in Florida. This was the only time I felt some homesickness, but not anywhere enough to make me want to go home. I had New Years recently which was really fun. This was the only holiday that wasn't very different. At night I went to the main square where a massive party/festival was taking place and a friend from Budapest came! We hung out with my Hungarian friends and at midnight watched the fireworks! During New Years there is an interesting tradition where we have to eat turkey and lintels otherwise we are banished from the country! haha :) Two days ago I switched host families, this was weird because I knew the next family, but I was comfortable with my first family. I did stay with my first family for 5 months so I, of course, grew a good bond with the m. It is weird with this family, but soon the awkwardness will go away. Luckily they have a daughter who is the same age and she was an exchange student to Mexico. Unfortunately my host father and host sister speak english fluently, but they will speak Hungarian to me. Now like I said its been 5 months and some of the other exchange students from Florida in other countries are already fluent in their host countries language. I am not close to that.. granted they did know some of the language before traveling there and the languages are similar to English. I wish I knew more, but its quite difficult especially when your first family spoke mostly english to you. I do think this language is cool and fun to speak and I want to speak more, but it's so dang hard! I am getting better/understanding more and I am studying more so hopefully by my next journal entry I will tell you I progressed greatly! Now to talk about the exchange feelings and for people wondering what its like or will be like for them (if they are future exchange students)….

Every exchange student knows that, for this entire year, you are NEVER 100 percent comfortable. Though, the thought of going back is sad. Every day here is interesting and not in the touristy way. Not in the "wow i tried new food today" but in the "what did i just do" way. I'm learning Hungarian. I don't want to speak english. Its strange to think that I'll be back in my house eating the same food, listening to the same music, and talking to my friends about the same stuff as if I never left. It will be like I paused time and everything will go back to the way. Luckily some things will be different. I start University when I come back, Thank God! I could not go back to high school! Memories will come to me next year and I laugh to myself or I'll tell someone about them, but no one will understand why it was so funny or why it made such an impact on me. It will be like my life in Florida died and for 1 minute i gained the life of some k id living in Hungary. Its already so hard to explain. I try to tell me friends or family back home on Skype, but I can't. I always find myself telling them "Oh, I have so much to tell you" or "Oh, I was going to say something really interesting!" It's like everyday its so different from back home, nothing seems boring, but when I tell someone about it, it sounds boring.. In Györ, we played a game where we had to think of what our exchange means to us or what our favorite or worst days were. Everyone had so much difficulty saying what their exchange meant to them, it was so much and so little at the same time. And the for the days question it was just as hard, except we had so many days that were terrible and so many that were great. It was hard to just pick one. Sometimes I find myself telling people here or back home what they want to hear. Nobody wants to hear "oh, my exchange is ok right now" or "yeah the food is alright.& quot; Wether its people living here or in Florida everyone wants to hear you are having a great time so people say this year is amazing when at that moment they are homesick. Now I'm not saying this is how us exchange students feel all the time, but its difficult to describe this year. Its like going through puberty again, but only in one year and your maturing in a different way. I hope this helps explain a little bit.

If I can figure it out I'll put some pictures up, but if not just imagine beautiful old buildings and snowless mountains :)

January 7, 2014

In my last journal submission, I said that I have been in Hungary for 8 months, that was a mistake. Then, I was only here for 8 weeks.. now it's been 5 months! Since September quite a bit has happened. I have travelled to new cities, I just switched host families, I have experienced more awkward situations, I have gained new friends and I have experienced four holidays away from home. I'm going to pick up where my last submission left off. I went to my first concert here in Pécs, that was pretty cool! They played famous soundtracks from movies like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. I've never experienced a concert with an orchestra and where I had to wear a suit! The Concert hall here is the second largest and most beautiful in Hungary! A few days later My host family and I went to Graz, Austria. They decided they wanted to going shopping for a day in Austria! Graz was a very beautiful city and the shopping center we we nt to was bigger than any I have ever seen! My host parents also speak German so it was very easy to get around. When we were in Graz, I could really see the difference in the standard of living between Austria and Hungary. You might be thinking, "oh, Graz is a very nice city in Austria, that's why." Pécs is also a very nice city in Hungary, but the differences are very noticeable. In october I also visited many festivals in surrounding villages with two other exchanges students, Angelo and Taylor. They are both from Brazil and Angelo speaks english, but I have to communicate with Taylor through my small knowledge of Spanish! The village festivals are just as interesting and fun as Pécs', they offer more spectator and consumer contact than the big city festivals! My dress code at school is like public school's dress code in Florida, but there are occasional times were we have to wear our "uniform". On important days we were this "uniform" which consists of boys wearing a b lack tie, white shirt, and black suit. The girls have a more tightly controlled outfit, it is a specific uniform that sort of looks like a sailors uniform. Next came Halloween. Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine because every year I would do the same thing. I would find an awesome costume, most likely something from my favorite movie that year, go to my best friends house, and then of course go trick-or-treating! The build up to Halloween was probably better, in my opinion, than the trick-or-treating itself. I would always watch scary movies every night, even though I hated them, and my family and I would always get a huge pumpkin and carve it. My dad, being the architect that he is always had to make the pumpkin look awesome! The last thing that always got me excited was seeing the Halloween decorations on people's houses. My Halloween in Hungary consisted of me sitting at home watching scary mov ies. So it wasn't quite the same, but it wasn't bad. I got to watch scary movies still! Hungary's Halloween is on the first of November and is quite different. They travel to all of the cemeteries where their relatives are buried, and pay their respects by leaving candles on the tomb/gravestone. At night it looks very beautiful, we travel to a city called Mor which was a few hours away and it was dark during our drive home. Passing through all the cities was a site I will never forget because in every city, village, and town people were walking around with candles in their hands and all of the cemeteries are lit up by the candles. It was unforgettable. After halloween, I visited a city called Székesfehérvar. It was also a very beautiful city and was rich with history, in fact it was the "King's city", everything related to kingship happened there. One day at school, my friends and I were playing soccer and one kid kicked the ball o ver the fence into an area thats outside of school. This place is an empty, forest type of area that i s not accessible unless you climb over the fence on top of a wall. This wall fence is over 20 feet tall, but of course my friend embarked on his adventure to climb the wall and fence and find the ball in the jungle on the other side. The only way to get back over is if we toss a rope over the fence so he can climb back up! Back in Florida this would not be allowed, but in Hungary the gym teachers tell them to do it! It's very dangerous and each time someone goes over they get hurt, but of course child's safety is not a concern here :P haha. One weekend there was a race that occurred on Pécs' mountain Mecsek. During the day all of the cars are out in the main square for everyone to see and then at night they race along the mountain's roads! That was quite interesting because there is an age limit on the cars, they can't be newer than 1970. We also started our "Prom" dance back in October when its not until January 19th. Apparently the dance is a huge thing here and we do it as a class instead of individual dancing. Now that its January I know that its a really big dance even though I don't really know it and it's in two weeks.. Skipping ahead, the next holiday I missed was Thanksgiving, this one is a nice holiday for everyone because most people are with their families, but this year I was with my other family. I did make it more like the holiday back home than I did for Halloween, but it still wasn't quite the same because they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. I did some traveling in the weeks after thanksgiving, I went to a city called Miskolc. It is the second or third biggest city in Hungary and went for a birthday party, I had many exchange student friends there! That was fun, a week or two later I went to a city called Györ for a Rotary meeting. Every exchange student was req uired to go so it was nice to see all of the exchange students again, the last time I saw everyone was in the language camp in Dabas, back in August. On November 27th w e had our first bit of snow in Pécs, it lasted about week. Angelo and I were in the gym and when we came out everything was covered in an inch of snow, it was crazy! We were freaking out, we were taking videos and pictures of basically what looked like rain and everyone around was were probably thinking we were crazy! Unfortunately that was the only time we go snow. Since then we have not received snow, but they say it may come in Febuarary. Next thing I knew Christmas came, but here its a little different and that's sort of why I thought it came so quickly. On December 6th, their Santa comes- he delivers candy to all. Christmas is like a three day thing here, we say Merry Christmas the 23rd, 24th, and the 25th. The 24th is the real Christmas day and the day where we eat a big dinner and share pre sents. Christmas was a tough time for me, the toughest, but it wasn't too bad because I had a Christmas with my host family on the 24th and on the 25th I had a Skype Christmas with my family in Florida. This was the only time I felt some homesickness, but not anywhere enough to make me want to go home. I had New Years recently which was really fun. This was the only holiday that wasn't very different. At night I went to the main square where a massive party/festival was taking place and a friend from Budapest came! We hung out with my Hungarian friends and at midnight watched the fireworks! During New Years there is an interesting tradition where we have to eat turkey and lintels otherwise we are banished from the country! haha :) Two days ago I switched host families, this was weird because I knew the next family, but I was comfortable with my first family. I did stay with my first family for 5 months so I, of course, grew a good bond with them. It is weird with t his family, but soon the awkwardness will go away. Luckily they have a daughter who is the same age and she was an exchange student to Mexico. Unfortunately my host father and host sister sp eak english fluently, but they will speak Hungarian to me. Now like I said its been 5 months and some of the other exchange students from Florida in other countries are already fluent in their host countries language. I am not close to that.. granted they did know some of the language before traveling there and the languages are similar to English. I wish I knew more, but its quite difficult especially when your first family spoke mostly english to you. I do think this language is cool and fun to speak and I want to speak more, but it's so dang hard! I am getting better/understanding more and I am studying more so hopefully by my next journal entry I will tell you I progressed greatly! Now to talk about the exchange feelings and for people wondering what its like or will be like for them (if they are future exchange students)….

Every exchange student knows that, for this entire year, you are NEVER 100 percent comfortable. Though, the thought of going back is sad. Every day here is interesting and not in the touristy way. Not in the "wow i tried new food today" but in the "what did i just do" way. I'm learning Hungarian. I don't want to speak English. Its strange to think that I'll be back in my house eating the same food, listening to the same music, and talking to my friends about the same stuff as if I never left. It will be like I paused time and everything will go back to the way. Luckily some things will be different. I start University when I come back, Thank God! I could not go back to high school! Memories will come to me next year and I laugh to myself or I'll tell someone about them, but no one will understand why it was so funny or why it made such an impact on me. It will be like my life in Florida died and for 1 minute i gained the life of some ki d living in Hungary. Its already so har d to explain. I try to tell me friends or family back home on Skype, but I can't. I always find myself telling them "Oh, I have so much to tell you" or "Oh, I was going to say something really interesting!" It's like everyday its so different from back home, nothing seems boring, but when I tell someone about it, it sounds boring.. In Györ, we played a game where we had to think of what our exchange means to us or what our favorite or worst days were. Everyone had so much difficulty saying what their exchange meant to them, it was so much and so little at the same time. And the for the days question it was just as hard, except we had so many days that were terrible and so many that were great. It was hard to just pick one. Sometimes I find myself telling people here or back home what they want to hear. Nobody wants to hear "oh, my exchange is ok right now" or "yeah the food is alright.& quot; Wether its people living here or in Florida everyone wants to hear you are having a grea t time so people say this year is amazing when at that moment they are homesick. Now I'm not saying this is how us exchange students feel all the time, but its difficult to describe this year. Its like going through puberty again, but only in one year and your maturing in a different way. I hope this helps explain a little bit.