Grettel Regalado Aguirre

Japan

Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Florida
School: St. Petersburg Collegiate High School
Sponsor District : District 6950
Sponsor Club: St. Petersburg, Florida
Host District: 2610
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Kanazawa

 

My Bio


こんにちは, 私の名前はグレーテルです! Hi, My name is Grettel and next year I’ll be going on exchange to Japan! I’ve wanted to be an exchange student with Rotary since I was in the 7th grade (about 5 years) so I am enormously excited to have been accepted into the program. Thankfully, I already know a bit about Japan and the language since I studied it a bit when I was younger. Right now I’m a senior at Saint Petersburg Collegiate High School and my favorite subjects in school are English and Humanities. I’m involved in a lot of things as school, I help out a lot with National Honors Society and Student Government and I attend club meetings for Multicultural club and Interact when I can. I live with my mom and my grandmother. A big passion of mine is graphic design and it’s the field I hope to work in and study. I like doing all things creative such as sewing, baking, painting and writing. I’m really excited about my exchange and experiencing everyday life in a country that is so different from the United States. Something I really want to do in Japan is join school clubs and really get involved with my class and school. I think it’s really awesome to be an exchange student and I’m ready put my all into making this exchange great.


Pre-flight Me! Ready to go!

Pre-flight Me! Ready to go!

I made it! Whew!

I made it! Whew!

This is actually my neighbors screen, mine glitched out and broke over Alaska haha

This is actually my neighbors screen, mine glitched out and broke over Alaska haha

Seeing off Maho at the airport! (Shes in the baseball cap)

Seeing off Maho at the airport! (Shes in the baseball cap)

With the local temple mascot.

With the local temple mascot.

Delicious soba lunch at cool restaurant near the Yonei's house.

Delicious soba lunch at cool restaurant near the Yonei's house.

Pretty view from the top of the stairs at the Yonei's house.

Pretty view from the top of the stairs at the Yonei's house.

Giant robot replica at Evangelion the movie exhibit.

Giant robot replica at Evangelion the movie exhibit.

Super cute and delicious Japanese bread!

Super cute and delicious Japanese bread!

Me and my host dad eating kakigori.

Me and my host dad eating kakigori.

Journals: Grettel - Japan 2015-2016

  • Grettel, outbound to Japan

    My first host family was the Yonei's. They lived really close to the train station which was convenient, and two doors down lived another exchange student from Australia. The Yonei family was made up of Mr. and Mrs. Yonei and their daughters Shiho and Maho. Shiho goes to college in the UK, so i never actually met her, and Maho left for her own exchange year in Canada a week after I arrived. Mrs.Yonei is an English teacher, which was nice, but it also meant that I used English all the time while living with the Yonei's so my Japanese didn’t improve as much as it would have if my first host family hadn’t known English that well.

    The Yonei's house was quite new and very pretty, it was always really clean and smelled nice. I enjoyed studying at the living room table and I loved all the cute and yummy breads they bought me. Mr.Yonei was the president of a branch of a construction machine company, he was a guitar player and really into rock and roll. Mr.Yonei taught me how to play ‘Smoke on the Water’ which was really fun, and lent me a small guitar to practice with while I lived there. He was also really into anime and would often play his favorite shows for me to watch after dinner or in the car. The Yonei’s would always take me to their favorite restaurants which was awesome, I ate so much delicious food my first three months here.

    I think a memory I’ll never forget was my first week there, when we sent off Maho at the airport. As she got in line to board Maho started sobbing, which made me recall having to leave my mom and grandma at the airport, and caused me to start crying as well. It was embarrassing at the moment because the tears just wouldn’t stop coming, but when I look back on it, it was a bit funny. No one knew what to do with the crying exchange student hahaha.

    While at the Yonei’s house I helped where I could and usually wiped down the table after dinner. I made sure to always pick up after myself and other than that my only chore was to do my own laundry.

    The Yonei’s also took me to a lot of events in the city, like a sweets festival, a crafts event, and even an Evangelion anime exhibit. There was always something fun and interesting to do with them. I also attended calligraphy lessons with Mrs.Yonei which were hard but fun. One of the pieces I did even got put in the local calligraphy journal! Recently I saw the Yonei’s at a Rotary event and they gave me t-shirts they had made of my 壁ドン calligraphy, they’re so cool looking!

    I had a wonderful time adjusting to Japan with the Yonei’s and I’m very grateful to them for being my first host family.

    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Grettel, outbound to Japan

    こんにちは!I honestly can’t believe I've been in Japan for more than a month already! Time is flying way too fast. I’ve adjust really well I think, nothing really feels that shockingly different, and I’m having a really awesome time.

    I am a horrible procrastinator, so you bet I was packing and rushing to get things together the day and night before leaving (I didn’t sleep at all the night before leaving). Once I had my mess together my family and I drove up to Tampa international in the wee hours of the early morning. I got there in a rush just to find out I had just missed the scheduled check in time (internal screaming!).

    I’m embarrassed to admit I broke down crying because of the stress, which was just emphasized when my luggage was overweight and I had to take things out! My flight was moved around and they changed my first flight to Newark instead of whenever else the one I was supposed to take was going (I’ve forgotten by now). I cried most of the way to the terminal especially since I couldn’t go in with my grandma and had to leave her early. I made it to my plane just in time and sniffled like a baby on the flight to Newark.

    Lesson learned though, get to your flight super extra early to avoid tears and panic!

    I got to see the Statue of Liberty as we descended into Newark! My flight to Japan was 14 hours of sleeping punctuated by occasional bland airplane food. I made sure to guzzle down like 5 bottles of water though and move my feet around a lot, to avoid dehydration and leg problems.

    When I got to Narita Airport and got through customs, I stuck in my headphones, played an action movie soundtrack and began my mission to make it to the showers get out of my sweaty 14-hour-flight clothes. I had researched the showers beforehand and I was VERY excited to wash off the grossness of the long flight.

    After a trek back and forth though the airport I finally broke down and asked an airport worker where the showers where. I’m eternally grateful for learning how to ask where things are in Japanese before leaving. The showers were SUPER nice! It actually felt like a mini hotel to be honest! And because I was on an international flight they were half off! Making it only about $4 for a delicious and refreshing 30 minute shower. They even had hairdryers! Once I had gotten dressed in my arrival outfit, thrown on some makeup and fixed my hair, I was ready for action.

    I arrived in Kanazawa pretty late and all I remember is that there was a きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ concert on TV that night and I was like… yes.

    I’ll send another journal in a bit about Kanazawa and more! またね~

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE

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