Tuesday August 21st, I was informed that the host family I would be temporarily adopted into had, to my great delight, would involve two younger brothers and one sister about my age. Her name was Rebecca, she was seventeen years old, and she speaks English very well. Growing up with three sisters myself I was completely use to having a girl around and was incredibly thankful to learn that she knew English. Looking back I laugh at how nervous I was at the thought of meeting my host family.
My hands shook slightly as I dressed after repeatedly and frantically cycling through the few outfits I had brought, my girl brain going into overload as I attempted to find an outfit that wasn’t too dressy or too casual. One that made me appear sweet and pretty, but also intelligent and friendly. Of course it didn’t say any of this, but I was about to meet the people who would take me into their home and after feeling very out of control this was one little aspect I had complete control over.
All the students sat in a neat little row of chairs in the front of the room as families entered and filled the rows of chairs; they as the audience and us as the main entertainment on stage. I tried not to look at them in fear that I would wonder which one was mine, focusing instead on a conversation with another student which we were both paying half attention to. Names began to be called as students were paired to their family, each one awkwardly receiving a kiss on the cheek, a gesture we were not yet accustomed to, and giving an equally awkward kiss to them. I snapped out of my stupor as my name was called. A delicate looking girl with long brown and red hair swayed up to the front and smiled as she kissed my cheek. Continuing with the tradition of the other students I awkwardly stood there; my instinct was to hug her as greeting, so we stood there for a second in a half-hug cheek to cheek until painfully pulling a part.
I hauled my overly stuffed hiking back pack on as she grabbed my other two smaller bags and followed her to a car outside where my host dad was waiting to help load my things. We drove to an apartment block, dragged the bags up several flights of stairs, and entered my new home. Rebecca escorted me into our bedroom and after getting slightly settled in my host mom bounced into the room and went straight for a tight embrace and kiss, which I am proud to say I was getting the hang of. She pointed to herself saying “mama” and nodded her head encouragingly a few times before saying it again at a louder decibel. Over the next few weeks she and I would continue to talk to each at increasingly loud levels even though we both knew it didn’t actually make a difference. A few times we would just both smile and laugh at how loud we had gotten. It seems like such a small, almost insignificant memory. But it is memories like this that make me stare into space and smile at nothing. Those tiny moments that take up a fraction of the day and add up until you’re looking back at the past three and a half months and realizing that all those moments have been adding up to where you are now.