As promised, here is part two.
I humbly believe that there comes a point in time where most people take a good, hard look at who they are. One examines their role in others lives, how one sees themselves compared to others, how one has or has not changed when compared to an earlier point. Well, I reached that particular junction in late January.
Being an exchange student is more than living in another culture, learning a different language, trying new foods. It’s also about making friends, keeping friends, having new families, and keeping your old family. It is about change. It’s also a struggle to hold on to your identity.
I was confident in my identity when I arrived. I was a studious, headstrong, and quiet. Nobody here knew that about me. My first host family knew a little because I had written them a letter of introduction. But as the months went by, I changed. Sometimes, it was a crazy change. I tried being someone utterly different several times. But those visages were not who I am. Since I didn’t know anyone, and nobody knew me, I got a great deal of freedom. I received plenty of wiggle room to try things and not feel embarrassed or judged. I dyed my hair red. I went out more often with friends. I began to feel more comfortable in my skin.
But I lost some pieces. That quiet side? She’s still there: In the back of my mind, at least. She comes out every once in a while, but not as often. I found I can be outspoken in strange situations. It’s one thing to be loquacious among friends, but in my mind, it’s a separate situation to be loquacious in front of strangers. That side of me who kept her hair done up tight? She’s fading as well. She is being replaced with someone more wildly. I still know when enough is enough, but the wild side has made her debut.
I find too that I’m forgetting some of my English. As I’m writing this, I’ve had to utilize spell check more than I used to. I’ll look at something as call it by its Swedish name without thinking about it. I nearly had to look in a dictionary to double check the spelling of the word, ‘thrive.’ So, when I’m back in Canada and I begin talking in the wrong language, bear with me, I’m probably still trying to readjust to English.
With that, my long suffering ladies and gentlemen, I conclude the long awaited ‘Part 2’.
In other news, my school orchestra has performed once again. We played Pirates of the Caribbean (same version from Grade 11, but with violins and cellos, and string basses), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Danse Macabre, Hungarian Sketches, Rondo in G, and the Merchant of Venice.
My host sister, Ulrika, and I went to a self-defence course. It was really cool. Painful, of course, but fun.
Currently, my host family will move in August to Shanghai for about a year. It is a work related move. My host dad is leaving for Shanghai tomorrow so he can start working. Soon, it will be just my host mom, sister, and brother living here. I’m going to miss my host dad; regardless of the fact that we’ve only lived together for about a month.
I met the newbies. They are the new exchange students. Three are from Australia and one is from Brazil. In a way, they remind me of how I felt when I first arrived: full of questions and excitement. They seem like very decent people. I hope that they have a good year.
Så nu, jag tror att jag har ingenting annat att säger. Men, jag hoppas att alla ni hade en bra vinter, och om det var inte, bara minna, vår kommer att snart. Förstå ni? :D