My spirits were so high when I got a placement in a host family. I was very excited when I learnt that my host family lives in Nebraska, because we had had the topic of "Nebraska - The middle of nowhere" in our English class a couple of months ago. A picture of a vast isolated land known for its agriculture was on my mind. I tried to approach this description positively. My host family seemed to be very nice, I would have three host siblings, 17, 25 and 27 years old, the oldest one no longer living with the parents. I added my 17-year-old host sister as a friend on my Facebook account and I instantly felt that we would get along together.
After my Pre-departure seminar, packing my suitcase with gifts for my host family and holding my farewell party, I set off. Since it was in the second semester, I had to fly to the destination by myself which was very exciting. It was my first long flight. Once there, I was welcomed very nicely by new family and immediately went to the birthday party of my host sister Hillary's best friend. I was totally exhausted but very happy and seemed to be the attraction of the evening. I found new friends on the very first evening. So the worries I'd had before were gone.
The school begun on the third day. I was placed in the 11th Junior Grade. I could choose the subjects and I was recommended American Government, Calculus and Band. In addition, I chose Multimedia, Music Technology, Spanish, Biology and World Geography. I was very pleased with my election and even more when my host sister sat by my side in the class. She showed me the school facilities, introduced me to the teachers and her friends who helped me with all sorts of things. Some things were different in my American school, you had to get a kind of passport to be able to enter the corridor, for example when you needed to go to the toilet, called bathroom or restroom, or to get things from your locker. If you arrived late in a class, you had to stay in the teacher's room instead of attending the lesson and you were called a "tardy". Some teachers even made you stay in their office if you jumped at sound of the school bell. We had to switch classrooms in 3 minutes and after three "tardies", you had to stay at school after hours. You also had to stay longer if you swore or were caught using a mobile phone. In my case, everything went OK at school and I was able to integrate well. Although I had some troubles catching up with my American schoolmates at first, everything was getting better every day as my English improved.
I got along with my host family from the very beginning. Although my host parents were very busy with their "Business" (they owned two funeral houses), they really took care of making me feel all right and treated me like their own daughter. I had a private room with a bathroom, which previously belonged to the oldest host sister. I was responsible for cleaning my room, bathroom and doing my laundry. We had a deal of my being at home by 10pm during the week and by midnight on the weekends. I was able organize my spare time well because all my friends had their schedules set in a similar way.
If my host parents had time at the weekend, we would do something altogether. We went bowling, visited museums in the area, played golf, etc. One of the highlights was our trip to Chicago. My host mother Lois came from Chicago and so we went there for a weekend. We had a great time and Chicago is an amazing city. I was really happy that my host family took me on this trip. We also flew there again with my host sister two months later. We also visited my host dad's family a few times, for example at Easter. This was very interesting because they lived on a real farm. I was getting used to a different lifestyle in Nebraska little by little. I liked Nebraska right from the beginning and the way it was described in class, such as a dull and boring place, was not true. On the contrary, cowboy boots, country music and somewhat different lifestyle belonged to my happy daily routine.
Even "in the middle of nowhere" one could make friendships of a lifetime and have great fun! I had a great time especially at the prom, which was an event that takes place in all schools at the end of the school year. You look for a couple for the prom, you can buy a beautiful dress, go to have your hair cut, have your manicure done and go! After the formal start, the PromKing and PromQueen are announced and then, you just go burning up your dance shoe soles. About midnight, the PostProm comes, which means some games and even more fun! My school had rented a large amusement centre with a bowling hall, go-cart track, roller coaster and so on. Then we went back to school, where parents had prepared other games. There was a fortune teller, a giant Twister box, a cartoonist and a big breakfast prepared. It all ended at 6 o'clock in the morning and no wonder we all went totally exhausted to bed.
My stay came closer to its end and so did my farewell. On one hand, I was looking forward to seeing my family and friends back home again, but on the other hand, I felt incredibly sad to have to go for I had met many new friends that I knew I would miss very much.
When the day came, there was a warm welcome from my parents, grandparents and best friends after a tearful farewell at the airport in Nebraska.