I could not fall asleep today because I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head. For everything I say, do, post on Facebook or write on my blog, the thought of what my host families are gonna say and think comes mind. Not necessarily Host Family, but Host moms. Host moms are even scarier than your mom back home. The difference between them is that, with your real family, you can say and do pretty much anything, because you know that if something isn’t right, they are gonna forgive you and forget about it the next day, they are family, that is what they are there for, they can’t simply give up on you. But Host Families are the people that choose to open their doors and let you into their house, into their families and their lives.
As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student I had three Host Families; the Lawells, the Ramsdales and the Duseks. Which means I had three host moms; Debbie, Denise and Barb. After my exchange year I lived with two other families; the Bergs and the Petries, so two more host moms; Nancy and Shelley. Each Host Family is as unique as our fingerprints or a zebra’s stripes. The sense of humor changes from house to house, family to family, city to city. I have had all kinds of families; Catholics, Protestants, Agnostics, families that lived in the suburbs, in the city, families with no kids or where I had a brother and a sister, or two sisters, houses with no pets, with one cat or one dog and two cats. The combination of factors that differs one Host family from another is infinite, but that is not what is keeping me up tonight.
Living with all these families is great, it is one of the best learning experiences I have had, needless to say that they all helped and continue on helping me immensely that I will just never be able to pay back. That is where my concern begins; I have to keep them happy, I feel like I do, because unlike my home family, I don’t know what would happen if I let them down. Not that I am constantly doing something wrong. It is just that I care vastly about their opinions and considerations, and if I were to do something that changed perception of me to a poorer one, I would be endlessly upset.
What would Shelley do? What would Barb say? What would Denise think?
I would never be in France if I hadn’t had such amazing Host families, they all helped me get here in one way or another. Without them I wouldn’t even had gone back to the United States in the first place, I can’t imagine my life without them, and I would be nowhere if they hadn’t believed, given me the support I needed, and helped me follow my dreams. So for now, all I can say is; Thank you for believing in me, thank you for the unique opportunities you’ve given me and for supporting me for the past two and a half years. Thank you for being great role models and exceptional moms while mine was 6 thousand miles away.
- Post’s photo: My double sided American/Brazilian blanket, made by Maire Clement