Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I want to take some time to talk about my host family. I'm been very fortunate with the family I´ve given. I have met a lot of other exchange students here who have not been very happy, have had problems with their host family and a lot of them even changed families once or twice. Though I did change schools during my time here I´ve had no problem sticking with my family and am going to be really sad to have to leave them. They have been so generous and helpful trying to make anything I want come true. Without them so much of what I´ve experienced here would not have come to pass.

About a week ago we went on a family vacation to the Porto de Galinhas in Northeast Brazil for a week. It was really cool to travel with them because I´ve become so much more comfortable as a part of their family and we all know each other so much better now. Also I am speaking Portuguese now so that helps a lot. Earlier in my exchange we took a trip to Rio for a few days, which was also a really fun trip, but comparing that two it was really cool to see how much closer we had all become. My host dad Ricardo always making jokes and telling embarrassing stories of when my host siblings were younger, I remembered a few of my own but it wasn´t the same as my parents telling them.

It was also really nice to be on vacation because I spent some quality brother time with him. My brother Ricardo goes to the hardest school in the area and normally has to study a lot. Pretty much the whole week there me and Ricardo hung out and I got the chance to get to know him a lot better. He´s leaving in September to do exchange in Germany so it is really interesting for both of us for me to live with his family. For me I get to remember all I was going through when I was in his place, getting everything lined up to go, receiving your host family (in my case his family), and starting to learn the language of your exchange country. For him he gets to see an example what its like to be on exchange as I go through my experience.

While living with another family you find over time the differences that you have from each other. I have to keep reminding myself that this exchange is an experience for all of us and that by being me, even if it is completely different, is good If I tried to just fit in and slide by I wouldn´t be giving them the experience they deserve. I hope that in my time here I have stood strong to this and really given them a different kind of experience through my being here.


They other day I talked on the phone with my parents back home and while talking to them I was hit with a weird sensation. It wasn´t until after I had hung up the phone and was pondering this sensation that I began to understand what it was. I am near the end of my exchange, I only have three weeks and a few days left, and I realized that I´m no longer a stranger here, I feel totally at home and that going "home" home is going to feel quite strange! I can´t find a defined moment when that change occurred, it happened over time, all I know is that I´ve reached that point and it´s such a weird sensation when it hits. I walked around all day yesterday looking at everything through different eyes. I took my time as I walked to the academy across the street, taking in all the familiar sights, sounds and smells that in just a few weeks I will be leaving and not see in who knows how long, maybe never again.

First it was "wow a month has already passed, that was fast!" Then it was "dang three months....wait... that´s halfway through my exchange!" Then the last two months just flew by and I´m left here thinking " I´m going home? in three weeks? that can´t be!" I´m filled with so many mixed feelings, Im excited to see my friends and family, and my new niece! Im excited to be back on the island and back to nature and my garden which I hear is full of fruit right now. Im not looking forward to coming back and after a few days realizing that nothing has changed in six months! haha and Im not looking forward to leaving my new friends, my host family and all the amazing connections I´ve made. So what I´ve done is told myself Im not allowed to think about it, not until I'm on the plane. I have to take advantage of every last moment and enjoy everything to the fullest. If you havn´t done something yet, quick do it! or you´ll regret it later!