Before I came to the United States, all I did was wonder. Since I had been assigned a welcome family, I didn’t even know what my permanent family was going to be like. I tried to hold back on the expectations because that would only make things harder, in case things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. I tried to think about it as less as possible, but it is all I wanted to do! It was weird to even think of being away from home for such a long period of time, yet I was adamant that it was going to be worth it, and so far, it has been.
I wouldn’t exactly say that I was fearful about coming here, because I just really wanted to put myself out there. It sure was the beginning of an entirely new phase of life, yet definitely not scary to me. Going on an exchange was something that I had wanted to do forever, and that was not the time to think twice.
So far, my experience has been thrilling! I changed from my welcome family to my permanent family in about two weeks of my stay here. It’s funny, how different they both are! My first family had two parents with elderly children who had left the house. They were comforting, warm and very composed. It is with them, I experienced going to the farmer’s market in Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. That is where I tried different types of cheese and sauces and hogged on raspberries. My welcome host mother also introduced me to some girls from my high school before school began so I could get a head start on how things worked. Before I knew it, the Piels decided to host me, and I moved in with them. The Piels jumped right into it and bought a bed on our first day together, in order to move things around the house and make me comfortable. Oh, the Piels. Their household is a completely different universe from my welcome household as here, I have two siblings at home, one studying in Nebraska, two beautiful boxer dogs and two horses! A really big family and an extremely busy house, in a good way. They were on top of things, from the very first day. I loved their energy. Soon, we made a road trip to Nebraska to visit my eldest brother, Mitchell. It was nice how I met him right in the beginning of my stay so things would not be awkward later on in the year. That trip was also a wonderful idea, because my family and I had so much time to bond.
As soon as I got back, the first day of school was approaching. I would dread it back in India, but here I was excited because all I wanted to do was explore! Perplexed and clumsy- that is how I would describe myself on my first day. From no uniforms, to eating in class, to walking from class to class, every little thing was so different from what I was used to. That’s when I felt like I had really stepped out of my comfort zone. Back in India, I never had to try too hard to make friends because I had been in the same school for about 10 years. Here, I just didn’t know anybody.
Took me a while to get a hang of it, but now I feel comfortable.
I never played sports back in India, therefore,I was eager to do it here. I joined the tennis team as a fall sport. It helped me make friends and kept me busy. I also went to a lot of high school football games with my host sister. I loved the school spirit but the sport really confused me. No matter how many games I went to, the sport appeared strange to me, until I played Powderpuff girls football as one of the school homecoming activities. Sustained some minor injuries, but made great memories. The day I played Powderpuff has been my happiest day so far. I could not have tried something more American and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I also love horse riding on our horses Eddie and Missy with my host mother and younger host sister. The barn is like our go-to place, after a long day. I just feel so grateful because horse riding is something that I had always wanted to do back in India but could never find the opportunity.
It is not very difficult to adjust to the food. My host dad used to be a chef and I might even miss his food more than I will miss him when I get back.
That’s debatable,now that I think of it. He is my favorite one in the house
. My liaison took me to an Indian Restaurant once, and I feel like that was incredibly thoughtful of her.
I also spent my birthday here with some of the extended family and had a big family dinner. I got beautiful gifts like Packers t shirts and Wisconsin slippers. I was so overwhelmed with happiness, that I could not hold back my tears.
I just have to say that so far, I love being in the United States and if things get harder and miss my family back at home, I trust that the Piels will take care of me like their own, just like they have till now.

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