America as I saw it for the first time
First thing I noticed about United States was snow. I saw it from the plane and I was frightened. Snow, everywhere. Suddenly I felt like I didn't bring enough warm clothes. We got off the plane and then started looking for our suitcases. I found mine right away but Michaela and Jana had more problems. Finally, we managed to find all of them. The transport was complicated too, three girls with six suitcases. We walked for a while and then we ran into a woman who was Jana's host mom. Michaela's was right behind her but I still didn't see my host family. I was looking all over the place and I finally saw a guy with a piece of paper saying “Welcome, (my name)". I moved towards him and saw a woman behind him. That's how I met my first host family.
I had really trouble making conversation with them, A – because I never actually spoke English before, only at school (which was more learning grammar and discussing it in Slovak) and at the airport and B – because neither of them was native speaker. They were Filipinos as I was soon to discover and their English wasn't exactly the English I was used to hearing. The first ride to place I was going to call home for a month and something was awful. I was cold, tired and since it was Saturday, I was afraid they would want me to go to church the next day, so I was trying to let them know how tired I am. It was also difficult to try to make small talk in the car. I recall them laughing at some Iowa car in front of us, pointing out that those people probably got lost. I also remember what I thought at that moment. That they are not the best people for that kind of comment, since they obviously weren't even Americans.
First not very nice surprise was waiting for me right when I came to my room – there were still their son's things in the room. So my host mom started putting his things away while I was looking at the room. It was big, with one huge bed - which I decided would be mine, since my Brazilian host sister wasn't supposed to arrive till the next day and first-come, first-served - and one smaller bed. Then I've heard girls' voices and I saw my two host sisters for the first time. They seemed very nice and interested in their new house mate. My host mom finally finished preparing the room and I could go to bed – I was waiting for this moment the whole day, 10-hour flight and 7-hour time difference have done enough and I fell asleep the minute I laid on the bed.
The next two days were about getting to know my host family and the house. I found out there were two other people living in the house, my host mom's parents who were even harder to understand. I really liked all three of my host sisters and the rest of the family, living there certainly seemed as a lot of fun. House was huge and there was plenty of food. I had trouble with contacting my parents and letting them know I'm alright since my pre-paid card didn't seem to be working. Another disagreeable surprise came when my host sisters told me I could only take 6 classes at school. I was really mad because that meant I would have to repeat the whole year when I come home. But I've decided not to bother myself with it.
Everything was new, people were different than in my country. I was really surprised when I got on the bus for the first time. I didn't know I had to have exact change, because in Slovakia you give money to the driver and he gives you your change back. I had only twenty-dollar bill and the driver was so nice that he let me go without paying. I was astonished, something like that would never happen in my country. And also, as I discovered later, people working in stores were very helpful too, asking if everything's okay and wishing everyone a nice day.
School, though, was a disappointment. I knew it was a private school but I still expected something else. The picture we get from American movies is quite different. No school sport teams, the most school had to offer was theater club which I was not interested in. The first day was exhausting. Get-to-know games, introducing ourselves all over and over again. I think I said my name and country at least hundred times that day. We were introduced the teachers and the staff of whom I didn't remember anyone's name. We were told the ground rules and given bus cards. Then we had to write tests. I knew I wouldn't have any trouble doing the written test but I was a little bit afraid of the oral test. But for no reason, the teacher was really nice and test very easy. Although, I made a fool of myself at first. The very first question was “This part of our body is called...” and the teacher pointed to her palm although she wanted to hear “hand”. At that time I didn't know what the palm is called so I said I didn't know. When she said “hand” I felt pretty embarrassed since it looked as I didn't know one of the main parts of the body. The math test was awful but to my surprise my score was enough for precalculus. I decided to take Algebra II anyway which proved to be a mistake in a long term.
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America as I saw it for the first time
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