Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I can’t believe it is November. It feels so wrong writing an 11 down for
the date on my papers at school. It is November and the trees are still
green, the days can still be warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt and
Flip-Flops. Something totally different from what I am used to. This is
Florida. It has now been 3 month since I left Switzerland and I can’t
believe how the time passes.
I can still remember my arrival, my first day of school as it would have
been yesterday. I have just changed my host families and I can look back on
a great time.
It all began with my arrival. I know I was coming from a very long trip
from the other side of the ocean and while I was walking towards the exit I
became really nervous. I thought how is that going to work? Who will be
there? Will I recognize them? But I was nervous for nothing. There stood
these people my host families and some people out of my Rotary club. They
were holding up signs like WELCOME TO THE USA and were cheering. I couldn’t
believe it I was so happy. It was just amazing. My welcome signs still
decorate my room today.
About one week after my arrival I was invited to my first Rotary-meeting.
My host mother brought me there but she couldn’t stay. So there I was with
all these new people and as my only guide Rita and helper. Everyone was so
friendly and came to shake my hand and tell me their names and I would tell
mine and just smile. Thank God everyone was wearing nametags because my
brain failed me after the first two names. It was just overwhelming. I still
love to attend the Rotary-meeting when ever I can because these people are
great and what they are doing for this world is just amazing and I always
feel welcomed. And in addition to all this they serve a delicious breakfast!
After an amazing weekend in Lake Yale, where I met all the other inbounds
I started school. I was so afraid I wouldn’t find my rooms but thanks to
Rita who showed me all my rooms some days before school started I had no
problem to find my classes and was always on time.
Finding friends was a bit of a challenge for me because the only time to
do that was lunch. But after some weeks I started eating with the same
people everyday. Now they are my friends and are a part of the things that
make this an unforgettable year for me.
My host family is an other part. My host mother showed me many beautiful
places and introduced me to the American culture. I had my culture shock
when they gave me ORANGE cheese to eat! I couldn’t believe it. And I still
think it is funny. For a Swiss child orange cheese is just unnatural.
My family also invited me to an awesome trip to North Carolina and
Chicago. I was able to see some other places of the USA. And thanks to my 3
year old host sister Finley I am now familiar with all the Disney princesses
and their princes. We had our every day ritual of watching a Disney movie
together. It was a wonderful time.
I want to really thank my Host mother Melissa and my sister Finley for
the beautiful 3 month I was able to spend with them. It was an amazing time!
And thanks to you I never felt bad about my decision to spend this year here
in Florida. You gave me a family and a home. Thank you so much.
I also want to thank my Rotary club back in Switzerland for giving me the
opportunity to make this lifetime experience. And also a big thank you to
the Rotary club of Mandarin for hosting me and supporting me whenever I need
it. Especially to Rose-Marie for the wonderful time I was able to spend with
you and your family and to Al for my first real American football game also
to Steve for showing me the real Florida nature on a great Kayak trip and of
course to Craig for always giving me a ride to the meeting and Susan my YEO
for helping me whenever I need it or just make my day better with spending
some time with me.
And thank you also to Jeff as my counselor and host dad and Rita as my
guide for the first weeks through school and Rotary. And at last I want to
thank my family in Switzerland for giving me this wonderful once in a
lifetime opportunity and standing behind my decisions and supporting me in
everything. This year wouldn’t work without your support and love.
A happy New Year to everyone!
I have now been living with my new host family since two month. I moved
short before Thanksgiving and I must say I couldn't have a better time. I
came to experience my first Thanksgiving a thrilling experience. We played
kickball and volleyball with the neighbours and of course watched football.
That evening and the next morning we went Black Friday shopping a crazy
tradition here in America. It was so much fun but we were all so tired, so
we slept a lot the next day.
I live further away from school now with my second family and I thought
it would get so complicated not being able to just wall home after school.
But it turned out to be no problem because thanks to my host sister Bailey I
have a ride to school and back everyday. Thank you for driving me everyday!
Time passes and it is already December and I am asking myself, when will
the trees loose their leaves when will it get colder? I start thinking that
it feels wrong celebrating Christmas in warm weather and even tough I don't
like the cold I start thinking that maybe some snow would be nice. Well my
host family invited me to go to New York for a weekend and the moment we
stepped out of the plane into the cold I asked myself hoe in the world could
I wish for snow when I can have 20°C. It was freezing. Everyone was saying
that I should be used to the cold but I really think that these 4 month in
Florida definitely changed that. We had an awesome weekend that I will never
forget despite the cold weather.
I celebrated Christmas back home in Florida in a T-shirt and I must say
it felt just right. I celebrated Christmas together with my first and a day
later with my second family here. And it is the greatest gift of all knowing
that I now have three families in this world.
We drove home from the Christmas Rotary-meeting and my host father told
me that he thinks that I have not only 3 but 4 families. My Rotary club is
an other. And I think he is right. I want to thank my club for this. For
always welcoming me and sponsoring me during this year. My exchange year
wouldn't be as good without you.
Thank you also to my Rotary club back home I can not tell you how much I
appreciate that you gave me this opportunity.
I also thank my family for letting me do this and always help me if I
need something. Even if a ocean is between us, you are still always here
with me in my heart.
But there is a very special thank I want to say to my friend Hanna. I
would have never done this year without you. You are the one that inspired
me and thank to you I am now able to experience a year that I will never