When I first arrived in Minnesota on August 23rd, 2009 I knew I was going to have fun. I also knew I was about to have a wonderful year, but I had no idea how. Now, almost 3 years later, I have already talked about my Host Families, and how thankful I am for everything they have done for me. I have also mentioned Rotex and I will talk more about them later.
The people I want to talk about now are the incredible group of Inbounds I spent most of my time with during that 2009/2010 exchange year.
I still remember the day we all met; September 12th, 2009. That Saturday morning we had our first Rotary Orientation at the Roseville Area Middle School, and something I never believed in had happened; it was love at first sight. More than 50 kids, from all over the world, speaking all kinds of languages in a single room, I had never seen something that strange and entertaining at the same time. We all became a family right away, a Rotary Family. And after that day there was no going back, we weren’t aware of it yet, but we were going to have each other for the rest of our lives. And we are lucky for that.
I’ve put a lot of thought into figuring out why we became so close that fast, and the reason is nothing but obvious; we were all on the same boat. We were all teenagers that had just left home to come party in the U.S.A., live the American dream. We were all going through similar situations, riding the same unpredictable roller-coaster of emotions that is studying abroad. We were all amazed by the same things, scared of the same monsters and annoyed by the same rules. Not all of us were homesick yet, but we all missed something from home; the food, our family, our friends, our comfort zone. And that is what we saw in one another; at least, that is what I saw on them; a way to miss less my home.
I read it somewhere that exchange isn’t a year in our lives, but our lives in a year. Which is absolutely true, I find that the combination of factors I have mentioned before are what makes this year something out of the ordinary; it is still real, but more intense than anything else we’ve experienced before. And because it was so intense, it doesn’t matter if we were best friends from the beginning of the year, or if we only connected on our last month there, I will keep each one of them forever in my heart.
Of course I can’t speak for everyone, even though I constantly use we and us, but this is how I feel. I am eternally grateful for everything I lived with them, for every second we spent trying to understand each other or making each one another laugh.
We were all accomplices then, not that we did anything extremely wicked or villainous, but we had each other’s back, we became compatriots through the experience we shared, and had the best time together. Now I can do nothing but wait until I see them again.
- Post’s photos: Group shot at our first Rotary Orientation on September 12th, 2009. Group shot at the end of our East Coast Trip on July 13th, 2010.