Can’t get it out of my head

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
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33 thoughts on “Can’t get it out of my head

  1. What a wonderfully written piece. I can really feel your emotion, your confusion, and your sense of wanting to do the right thing. I hope some or all of the members of your various host families gets a chance to read this. I’m sure it will mean a lot to them.

  2. Nice story and so true, I had a few in my life and each one gave me something very special, to cherish for all time. 🙂

  3. Barb Dusek says:

    Hello My Son,
    I say “son” with genuine affection, because you are my son – just from another mother, ha!

    Remember the “thank you” list you typed and left on my desk? It’s still there, it will remain there because it is an expression of your affection and love for me and our family. You were a part of my blog comments on being brave, right along with the girls, because you are part of this family.

    We talk about you all the time. We adopted you for the long haul, not the short term. And, yes, you will undoubtedly do or say something I don’t like. But all my kids have done this and I still love them.

    I’m pretty sure all your Moms feel this way about you. Do not worry, son, you have a secure place in our hearts.

  4. Your expression of gratitude for those who have helped you along the way is a good thing, and you do well by them in recognizing the contributions they have made to the positive progress of your life experience.

  5. Miki says:

    C’est tres touchant, et je pense que toutes ces “Mamans” ont les larmes aux yeux en lisant…

  6. Euthymia says:

    great made me sad and happy too. Best wishes!

  7. The Travel Expert says:

    Great articles! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of it.

  8. bhuwanchand says:

    Beautiful words… Anytime you are planning to visit this part of the world, you are most welcome to our home 🙂

  9. alisonamazed says:

    You sound like a great house guest, but go a little easier on yourself. 🙂 Nobody worth their weight in salt seeks perfection in others 🙂 good luck!

  10. alexandriaproject says:

    Beautiful writing Marcos! And Barb Dusek’s words are so touching. We long to read more from you!

  11. Ten years ago, I lived with a host family in Mendoza, Argentina, and I understand exactly what you are saying. There is that sense of wanting to please them because they have been so gracious, welcoming, and loving to you. But, I think you need to take your host mom’s words in her comment to heart because, despite the fact that you don’t share blood lines, you are still as much a part of their family as anyone else. That is the beauty of a true host family-exchange student relationship.

    • Marcos C. says:

      Yes, and I bet it is a lot more intense with South-American families, I find that Latin people are just naturally more welcoming and intense. More than anyone else they want you to appreciate their culture and have a great time! I just love it

  12. This was a lovely post, heartfelt and sincere.

  13. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to have social networking sites back when I stayed with a host family. Even though I only stayed with mine for two nights on a trip to New Zealand, I completely understand wanting to please them because they are doing so much for you. Of course I didn’t get the chance to make the same connection as you must have during my short two-three days, but it is an amazing bond when someone takes you into your home. I don’t think such an eloquent and considerate person would ever have let down his family – any of them.

  14. Arif Khan says:

    I had a host family while in college in the USA long time ago. We would have weekend parties, sit around and play games (usually poker). Simple things that simple people do. But now, looking back at that time I see why having a connection with a family is important for any individual. The sense of belonging to a family touches our hearts without asking for anything in return and reminds us that we are really not alone.

    • Marcos C. says:

      It really touches your heart, doesn’t it? My last host family also hosted a girl while she was in college, she didn’t live with them, but she would always go to her presentations, and have her over for dinner! I guess that really makes a difference when living alone in a foreign country.

  15. I love the question about the comparison to todays camp.

  16. argentineanvermonter says:

    Great to know you went on a Rotary Exchange as well, so did I. Those highschool families are uncomparable to any other exchange experience you can have. At 15 years old, they are the sole responsible person for us surviving through stupid mistakes and crazy experiences. That makes the connection unbreakable. I still also keep in touch with my families and still use the word ‘mom’ instead of host mom.

    • Marcos C. says:

      That is so sweet, where are you from originally and where did you go on your exchange? Did you hear about the First Rotex International Convention? It is for all those who went abroad with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program! It is gonna be a blast.
      You can find more info here:

      • argentineanvermonter says:

        Thanks for the info! that sounds amazing, if only I was in Europe (tickets will cut my head off I believe). I am from Vermont, (US) and went to San Juan Argentina, a small town that was perfect for me. Are you going to Rotex? Where are you from?

      • Marcos C. says:

        Sweet! I am a Rotex here in France and I will be going to the Rotex International Convention! I am from Pirapora, Brazil and I did my Exchange to Minnesota.

  17. I love how you call the host families as unique as our fingerprints or a zebra’s stripes…such a great analogy! And what a great blog you have!

  18. T Hollis says:

    What a treasure you must be as a houseguest! Thinking about someone other than yourself, considering the feelings of those who have opened their homes to you. Wow! You’re way ahead of the game in life!

  19. TheFallGal says:

    I’m sure each and every “mom” is proud to call you their “son” 😉

  20. Nicole Brait says:

    I did a semester abroad in Nepal and had two host families there so I understand what you are saying about wanting to please your families. From what you wrote in your post I’m sure you did. If you didn’t care about their feelings you wouldn’t be worried about having hurting them or having behaved inappropriately.

  21. I’m smiling!

    I’m going to send this to my son who is in university in London ..

    Your family must be very proud of you.


  22. Wow… pretty dense…
    I think it’s good to think about what would they do, or think.. .It shows consideration …. .=)
    It’s good to see that you care for them =) As much as they sure care for ya =)

  23. Great insights about living with host families. You’ve had amazing experiences and it’s wonderful how you are learning so much and gaining the full potential of it all.

  24. icjjunmug says:

    wfepslpge jrtom ayrhsia keel wppedygdurkhtmx

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