My first week in America has passed and I’m here to tell you about it. The first few days were quite hectic. I was dealing with jet lag (which I thought would be much worse but it wasn’t as bad after all and I got rid of it and adjusted to the timezone after about two days), getting to know the family and we had a busy program. On Saturday they took me to Grand Island, the nearest bigger city for groceries and to try and get me a SIM card and a new phone but they didn’t sell us either, although we tried two stores in two different cities. So we drove around, they showed me Hastings and then introduced me to another family member – my host mom’s mother. We played a board game (of course I won) and at night we went to watch Thor since it was the last day to see it in theatres and the whole family and I adore Marvel movies, so we had to watch it and it was an opportunity for me to see an American mall. Nothing I saw or experienced that day might seem interesting but to me it was delightful. I was in a new country, across the ocean from home and everything was new, everything was different. And there were (and still are) American flags on every corner. EVERYWHERE.
The second day after my arrival was even more interesting than the first. We went to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, so I even got to see the way there in daylight (unlike when we were driving home from the airport in the middle of the night), had fun walking through the Zoo all day and on the way back I ate my first American hamburger at a restaurant. We got home exhausted but one of my host sister’s friends invited us both over and I couldn’t say no to meeting new people and listening to them talking about other people from school that I’ll eventually meet as well!
The next day we had an appointment with the school counselor about my schedule. I picked classes that I wanted to take, built my schedule, and we walked around the school building so I could see where everything is. That way we arranged and did what was needed for me to be ready to start school three days later and were able to spend the rest of the day watching movies together which is probably our favorite family activity. 😀
Tuesday wasn’t interesting. The new phone that I was forced to buy because I was told my old phone won’t work on American networks arrived, so we went to finally get the SIM card too and then I just called my Czech family and friends, spent some time with my host sister’s (and now also my) friends and rested at home.
My last day of summer was fun! I tried Dunkin‘ coffee (and loved it), wandered through a few stores that I’d never been to before, and in the afternoon we had a „welcome party“ planned for me at a friend’s house where I could meet some people before school starts. I decided to invite another exchange student, the Spanish girl that I haven’t seen before but lives next door. Because with her coming, I wouldn’t be the only foreigner there and I also wanted to give her the same opportunity to make friends as I got thanks to my host siblings. The party was fun. At first, I was really shy and felt a little uncomfortable among all those strangers who’ve known each other for years but it gradually got better, and enjoyed a fun afternoon with a few people who I now know I can ask for help anytime I get lost at school. And that I use that advantage a lot…
Time flew by and it was suddenly the end of summer. My first day at an American high school. I woke up in the morning as if it was nothing but as we finished taking pictures in our cute first-day outfits and got to school where I kept seeing new faces, it hit me and I got nervous. The whole school assembled in the gym to welcome the new school year. Teachers were introduced and then we split into grades for some kind of introduction class. The principal read the handbook for us, and told us the rules, our rights, and obligations, we played some games to get to know each other, and then we started the normal schedule. That’s when it became very stressful for me. Everyone knew how it works but I had no idea where to go or what to do. Although I got a tour of the whole school before, I didn’t remember where my classes nor my locker were and always had to find someone I knew to help me. I realized how glad I am that I was introduced to someone beforehand because if I knew no one and got lost in the hallways, I would most likely just start freaking out and wouldn’t be able to just walk up to someone and bother them. However, I’ve already talked to a few people so I knew who to turn to for help. And they have always helped me find my way to the class and made the first day much easier for me. After school, I went to my first volleyball practice and even there everyone was super nice to me and I had a lot of fun!
The second day of school was much better than the first. I wasn’t as lost nor confused anymore and even managed to find my locker by myself. 😀 We all received our school computers but otherwise than that, nothing important happened that day. I went to volleyball practice, did the little bit of homework that I had, and then spent the evening playing games with my host family.
It’s been a week since I got here and I think I can almost say I’ve already adjusted and got used to the new environment, people, habits, culture, and even food. I’m trying new things and discovering new places every day. Everything is new, different, and exciting and I cannot wait to get to know it better and understand how it works and how people think. It’s a completely new world and I’m here to explore it.