America,  exchange buddies,  host family,  school

Month six

January brought the half-year anniversary of my departure from my native land and arrival in the New World. Other than that, it wasn’t too interesting. But after all, I am living my dream in a different country if that still counts as intriguing after six months since it started.

The winter break has come to an end, and we all got back to school. School and sports. So I started practicing wrestling every day again – the sport I didn’t know about until less than a year ago but fell in love with as soon as I learned more about it. However, I lost my spirit throughout the break, and returning to it was more difficult than expected. I struggled to find motivation not only to practice but even to compete. And not only mentally, but I started to burn out physically too. Even on the days when I wanted to wrestle, my body didn’t fully allow me to. I would be tired, sore, and in pain all the time. At tournaments, I didn’t mind losing much because, at last, it meant I got to go home earlier than if I had won. I grew tired of waking up early to leave for wrestling meets and getting home late at night. But the oncoming end of the season kept me going; I knew I couldn’t quit now, even when the bad days outbalanced the good ones. Every once in a while, there would be a good match or a good day of practice that would remind me why I love wrestling and how much I will miss it once the season ends.
Besides wrestling tournaments, I have also had basketball games to attend, for change as a spectator only. Not always a great one, though – one of them I spent sitting there, watching the World Junior Hockey Championship; I couldn’t miss the Czech team getting second place! But other than that, I’ve been trying to pay enough attention to understand basketball better. And think it has worked so far.

At school, we underwent the NWAE testing again, and once more, I scored higher than most of my American classmates. Maybe they would learn more if they went to school even when the weather was not overly pleasant outside. (Just kidding, don’t get offended, please.) I’m talking about snow days when they cancel school due to a bit of white dust outside. But I’m not complaining. We’ve had quite a few of them already this year. And most of them, I spent laying in my bed, watching TV, reading, talking to my friends, playing Minecraft and Mario Kart, or simply making up for the sleep deficit I’d developed during the previous school days. On some of them, I found a friend nearby to hang out with without needing to drive anywhere and spent the day with them. But back to talking about school, where the second semester began, and with it started rehearsing for the spring musical. Nothing too intriguing ever happens at school, except maybe the day I got called to the counselor’s office to pick up something. The “something” was a couple of kolaches (= kolÑče) she bought for me on her trip to Wilber, the Czech capital of Nebraska. They were better than the ones I tried at the Czech festival in York, yet still not quite as good as the traditional pastries made in my country. Though I appreciate the effort. πŸ˜€ What I have learned to like more – or hate less – since I moved to an American household is their chocolate milk. Some days I’d come home and randomly get an appetite for it, but I could never drink too much of it. I am still not as big a fan of brown water as my host siblings are…

I sure can say I have become relatively close with my host siblings, especially my sister, and a few friends from school; however, there is something special about being able to speak my native language and complain about Americans (and their love for drama) with someone who understands. So, for me, probably the most exciting part of the month was the weekend I got to spend with who I call my “exchange bestie.” She got placed in Nebraska with me, only 27 miles away from Doniphan, so of course, every time we can, we meet up. This time, her host family somehow forgot I was to come over and made other plans. And that is how I ended up going prom dress shopping with them. We visited a few stores, tried on many dresses, and felt like princesses in them all, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about the first one I saw that day and immediately fell in love with. (Spoiler alert: I ended up ordering it later – after going back to it and trying it on a couple more times to ensure it is the one.) Then my dear friend and I talked all night and the next day we had a birthday party to attend. One of her friends, whom I met at their school’s football game a while ago, invited us to celebrate her turning 15 with a few other people we didn’t know in a garage. There were two other people I had heard of before, except for the birthday girl, exchange students from Denmark and Japan. So we formed a group of foreigners and spent the whole time there sharing our little experiences. On the way back from the party, walking through the town, we stopped at Runza, where one of my favorite memories came into being. The two of us (non-Americans) ordered water with our food but didn’t know what to do with the empty cups the workers handed us. I am not sure, to this day, who seemed more confused, us or the workers, when we asked them how to get water. πŸ˜€

Not everything is always fantastic, but there is always something to find joy in, even if it’s the teeniest, most random occurrence. And with a smile on your face, it’s easier to get through all the days, even the bad ones.

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