Isaac Miele

Poland

Hometown: Beverly Hills, Florida
School: Seven Rivers
Sponsor District: 6950
Sponsor Club: Crystal River-Kings Bay
Host District: 2230
Host Club: Wroclaw

 

My Bio


Hello! My name is Isaac Miele and I am from Beverly Hills, a small town in central Florida. I live with my mother, a teacher, and my father, a real estate agent. For eight years I have gone to a small Kindergarten-12th grade school called Seven Rivers where I am currently in the 10th grade. This year I have become involved with my school's Interact Club and joined the yearbook team. I am especially interested in English and history classes. I am currently taking AP U.S. History and I have never enjoyed a course more. Outside of school I am on a local crew team on which I am a coxswain. I have grown very fond of the sport and everything about it, from the boats, to the technicality, to the incredible feeling of being in a race. For my 2016-17 school year I will be going to Poland, and I could not possibly be more excited. The opportunity to have this experience through Rotary Youth Exchange means the world to me and I am so grateful. I cannot wait to experience life in a different country, absorbing the culture and the language and the people. Going out and seeing new places firsthand is an incredible way to learn about other people around the world and to better understand they way they live, and I am so eager to start my journey.


Journals: Isaac – Poland 2016-17

  • Isaac, outbound to Poland

    Read more about Isaac and all his blogs

    Part 1:
    Today is January 3rd, 2017. Right now I’m on the bus going back to my new host family’s house in a village on the complete opposite side of the city that I used to live. Most of the students here in Wrocław changed on the first, which definitely wasn’t easy, but I suppose it fits well with the “new year, new me” idea. I’m already really happy with my new family. I live with my host mother Jola, host father Tomek, my new grandmother, a dog, and a cat. They like jazz music and make great food and watch interesting shows, and they’ve been really kind to me already. I felt surprisingly comfortable by the first night. It wasn’t easy to leave my last family, though. I really grew to like Morena and Zbyszek and I’m so thankful for them taking me into their home and treating me like their own for those four and a half months. It was nice to spend the holidays with them during my final time living there in Miłoszyce.

    That’s not to say that the holidays were particularly easy. At all. Back in Florida at the training orientations they told all of us students that the holidays would be pretty difficult and that we’d begin to feel really homesick. If any future or potential outbound is reading this now, firstly; hey! I hope your exchange is fantastic and I’m so proud of you for doing this. Secondly; everyone is right, the holidays are, honestly, pretty depressing. Obviously everyone has a different experience, and I’m sure plenty of students had amazing holidays, and I don’t want this to scare you about exchange. (Seriously, it’s the best thing that will happen to you in your young life.) But don’t let that hold you back from fully experiencing your new country’s holidays. There’s so much beautiful culture and tradition to explore during these times, and I’m already looking back and appreciating all of it, even the more difficult moments. The point is, remember why you’re in your new country and live in the moment. You won’t regret it.

    I had a pretty traditional Wigilia (Christmas Eve) with my last family at my host grandparents’ house. I hadn’t spent much time with the relatives, and it was really nice to get to know them better. On my last day with them, we went to my host grandparents’ again and Morena’s father gave me a pin from the tank squad he was in many years ago as. He had previously shown me lots of beautiful pictures from this time, so it felt really special. He has invited me back in the future, but until then I will miss him.

    Being with my new family is giving me a new perspective, literally and figuratively. I get to see a new side of the city, but I also get to experience life with different people

    Part 2:
    I’m continuing this on January 14th, 2017. Right now I’m watching the third Harry Potter in Polish at my host grandfather’s home. I’m actually understanding a lot of the movie, but it’s possible that that’s because I’ve seen this, without exaggeration, more than 20 times. The girls I’m watching with are 8 and 9. I can communicate with them well enough, but it still feels really funny to grasp much less of a language than someone less than half your age. But I’m getting there.

    The house is about a 200 year old farm home. In the attic my host grandfather has a collection of beautiful old furniture that he’s been refurbishing for 15 years. There are plenty of people in the house as well, so there’s quite a lot of information to take in. A lot of times here in Poland I feel like a toddler, trying to soak in everything I see and process it all in a new way, a new language, a new perspective. It’s really teaching me how to reconsider everything.

    I was planning on posting this update at the beginning of the week, but that was just before I fell very ill for about 4 or 5 days. It turns out, surprisingly enough, that extreme cold is not normal for a Floridian body.

    One week ago I went with Carlos and his host family (my next family) to this town called Karpacz up in the mountains. It was absolutely beautiful, there was about a foot of snow on the ground and not one thing wasn’t caked in white powder. The problem was, it was about 1 degree Fahrenheit. (I know I said earlier that it was “extreme cold,” which may not be true for you, but it definitely was for my Floridian skin.)

    When we first got there, Carlos and I were having a bit of trouble breathing, both of us being from places barely any higher than sea level. But after a while we got used to it and ended up really enjoying our time. The whole town was full of natives and visitors walking the streets, stopping in coffee shops, and just enjoying the bright winter day. Later on Carlos, his host brother, and I went sledding and tubing. It was a load of fun, but Carlos made us walk up the big hill over and over for about an hour until we figured out ways to go so fast that we started to run into things at the bottom. It was a beautiful day well spent that I won’t forget.

    However, by the time we got home we were both feeling a bit under the weather. Looking back, a few days of being sick was definitely worth the day with friends and new family in the mountains.

    It wouldn’t be honest to say that I don’t miss the sun or the warm weather or having a cold Mucho Mango on a hot day. I’m really starting to appreciate the slow, hot Florida life. But I’m also learning the value of experiences like this. That day in the mountains is something I would have never had if I’d stayed in Florida. I really can’t imagine what I would be doing if I hadn’t come here. Everyone I’ve met here, all the exchange students and all the natives, are so important to me and I can’t picture life without them. I’m beginning to understand that there are many different types of family, and I’m blessed to have each one.
    I hope all is well with you.

  • Isaac, outbound to Poland

    Read more about Isaac and all his blogs

    Today is November 12, 2016. The last few days have been incredible. Somehow living in the current European Capital of Culture has come to feel rather normal. Of course I don’t mean normal in a boring way, just that I truly feel like Wrocław is my home. I spend almost every day in this beautiful city and I can’t imagine not having it so close to me. But of course I have plenty of time before I need to worry about that.

    Yesterday was Independence Day here in Poland, and it’s honestly one of the biggest, wildest parties I’ve ever seen. I went to the old main square (the Rynek) to see my friends from Mexico, Carlos and Ana. It was Ana’s 18th birthday so we wanted to go to the city and spend the day together. I arrived at the Rynek and I could see their excitement from 50 meters away. When I finally got to them, they told me to look up at the sky, already dark by mid-afternoon. I looked up and for the first time I saw little pieces of snow falling down in slow motion. It was the first time for all of us, so we stood there for 15 minutes just catching the snow on our gloves and on our noses. I hope I never forget how we all felt. The cold is pretty new for all of us, but it felt totally worth it to see snow on a night like that.
    We walked around the Rynek and came to a huge gathering of people yelling loudly and showing pride in the strength of their country. People everywhere carried huge flags and celebrated. (A lot of the celebration seemed to involve vodka, but of course it’s not a Polish party without it.)

    Today I met again with my friends. Carlos and Ana were there, along with Jeremias and Chris (who also live in Wrocław) and Delfina from Argentina who’s here for Ana’s birthday. I got to the Rynek again and it was barely snowing, which perfectly fit with the construction happening in the Rynek. Right now they’re building the Christmas Market, which, according to the pictures I’ve seen, is a perfect winter wonderland straight out of a Christmas cartoon. I’m already so ready for Christmas. (Next month all the exchange students will be coming here to Wrocław for a weekend of Christmas Celebration and I’m so excited to see them.) As I was walking through the Rynek it looked like most people had smiles on their faces, which isn’t super common in public in Poland. I think maybe everyone is starting to feel the Christmas spirit.

    Today the other students and I went bowling, accidentally took a tram that almost took us outside the city limits, saw the stadium where Śląsk Wrocław (one of the worst football clubs in Poland, go Śląsk!) plays, spent a couple hours in a coffee shop, and went about the town.

    I cant explain how much fun I’m having. These other students are like family to me. I know we’ll always have each others’ backs. I can’t imagine life without them. Right now I’m on the 845 bus headed home. It’s 10 PM, meaning it’s been dark for almost six hours now—something I’m only going to be able to get used to because Wrocław is so pretty at night.
    I’m getting pretty near to my stop now where my host dad Zbyszek will pick me up. I’m so happy to have him and my host mom Morena. They’ve truly been amazing host parents and I’m so thankful to have them in my life. I’ll be going to a new family in early January but it’s going to be very hard for me. I really feel like they’re an actual new set of parents for me.

    Speaking of parents, hi Mom and Dad. I’m sorry if I ever miss your texts or calls, but I want you to know that I really love you and miss you. You too, Tiana. Tell Grandma and Grammie that I think about them every day. And to my friends back home, I hope you guys are doing great. Going on exchange would’ve been so much harder if you all hadn’t been so supportive, and I really love you for that.

    And speaking of friends, I just wanted to take some time to talk about my friend Jasiu. The first day of school back in September, Jasiu and another friend of ours Milena took Ana and I out to the city to make us feel welcome. Since then Jasiu and I have spent a lot of time together after school and on the weekends. To tell the truth, I would be having a much more difficult time if it weren’t for him. He’s been so nice and welcoming, and I’m really thankful that he’s been such a good friend. Just like you told me, you always have a place in my home, Jasiu.

    I’ll be at my stop in a minute or two. I hope you all are doing wonderfully. Lots of love to Rotary Club of Kings Bay. I would love to talk to you soon! I find myself really missing the Wednesday afternoon meetings (and of course the wonderful fried chicken lunches).
    I’m in my room now, and it’s nice and warm—something I’ve learned to really value while living in a place where is been 32 Fahrenheit for the last few days. I’ll go down and make us some tea now. It’s good to spend time with my new family and the end of a long day.

  • Isaac, outbound to Poland

    Read more about Isaac and all his blogs

    Today is the 14th of September, 2016. I have been living in Poland for three days short of a month now, so I have quite a bit I’d like to say here and in later posts. I kept putting off posting my first blog update while I took time to settle into life here, which has been the most interesting challenge of my life so far. It wouldn’t be honest to say that every day has been easy or even totally happy, but every night I have gone to bed knowing that the whole day was worth it. I have a limited amount of time here, and I need to make every day count. I’m writing this blog for friends and family and my Rotary club back home, but also so that I can come back and read this every now and then. If you’re reading this, Isaac, wipe the tears out of your eyes and keep going. Remember how even just after one month you grew more than you could have imagined. Here goes.

    When I first arrived in Wrocław I was an absolute basket case of excitement and joy and terror and amazement. I got here about 22 hours later than originally planned due to flight and weather complications in Washington D.C. My clothes were wrinkled and loose and I probably would have been much worse had I not been able to stay with family outside of D.C. (If you’re reading this, thank you so much! Sending love.) 

    Seeing my new home from the air was incredible and I had to keep myself from laughing with excitement. The emotions continued as I stepped off the plane and made my way to the exit. I sincerely hope that I never forget what it was like to see my host mother Morena for the first time. She was waiting for me with her mother, her friend, and a friend of her daughter, who is currently on exchange in Campeche, Mexico. They greeted me with hugs, balloons, huge bags of Polish sweets, pictures, and of course more hugs. During the picture I took with Morena, she said one small thing I can’t forget. “My son.” It’s hard to explain exactly, but that felt like a million bucks. I knew right then that I really had a home in Poland. 

    I’ll tell a lot more about my first month in the next update or so. This can just be the introduction. For now, I hear that Morena is back home. I’ll go down stairs and make us some tea.

RSS Feed

Forgot your password?