To everybody’s big surprise I graduate High School in 1987! Thanks to my mom, she was a great support. After graduating my mom offered me to go to the US to improve my English. I did not think much of it, but agreed. Up to today I’m so happy that I went. Of all places the exchange program dropped me in Kansas. At first I cried my eyes out. Why? Why Winfield, Kansas?! Why not Florida, California or a city like New York?
Looking back on my exchange year I feel advantaged. Advantaged in a way that I had the opportunity to experience the authentic Midwest living. Cowboys and cowgirls still exist in the late ’80. Except for the part that they redeemed their horses for pick up trucks.
A while ago I did this virtual tour on google earth all around Winfield, Kansas. Like time stood still, it hardly changed in the past decennia. Once a year there is this big blue grass festival. I would love to go there some day.
During my High School year ’88 I stayed with three different families. The first one kicked me out after about 6 weeks. Up to today I do not know the reason why I could not stay with my first family. I can only speculate. The following week I managed to find myself a new place to stay. I did not want to worry my mom, so I called her after I had everything arranged. Being a teen I choose a family with lots of freedom. A single mom and a daughter my age. The last month I moved to Wichita, where I stayed with a big Mexican family. A widow mom with 8 daughters and one son. I had a wonderful year even though it wasn’t alway easy being a seventeen year old far away from home in a different culture than my own.
It’s hard to realize now but back in the ’80 there was no internet. My classes I spent writing letters to friends and family. Once a month I had the opportunity to call home for only 5 minutes to reduce costs.
It impossible the imagine a life without internet now. In a way it makes my world a lot smaller being able to be in contact all the time, but it also makes it so much bigger. Sharing my blogs to all these known and unknown people all around the world. -Bregje-