Aspect Foundation’s inbox is flooded with notes from students expressing their gratitude for the experience they have had on student exchange. On Thursdays, we post one of these notes, sharing the “warm fuzzies” with all of you!
Today’s Thank You Thursday features Pia from Norway, who expresses her thanks for her year abroad in Washington.
I’m starting to wonder if it is possible to have more than one home, on the other side of the world – because that is how it feels like. There is a quote saying “that you will never be fully at home again, because a piece of your heart will always be elsewhere”. I never thought that this was true, because how can you have another family and call another place home. Before I left the only place I called home was Norway, but after a few months in the states with a new family and in a new house I started to realize that I would build very strong relationships and I couldn’t stop it even if I wanted too.
Now it’s April and 8 months has gone by, 8 long, fantastic, sad, hard, funny, and memorable months. I call this place home and I’m scared of leaving, because I don’t feel like I’m going home. Before I left Norway I was thinking about how it would be to feel homesick, and right now I know that I’m going to go back to Norway and feel homesick again. But this time it is not because I miss Norway, but because I miss my second home in Washington. It’s weird, I have had 17 years to build life long relationship and make memories with family and friends in Norway, but so far I have had 8 months and it doesn’t feel like that. We have created so many memories together; Costco every Sunday, crazy road trips at 3 am, late night laughs, binge watching Netflix and so much more. So here’s to my amazing (host) family:
Scott who always have these crazy ideas. I remember you coming into my room one of the first days I was here and you said something like: “I have a crazy suggestion for you…” and that was just a 2 hour road trip where I ate my first meal at a fast food restaurant, but there have also been other crazy ideas and I’m so glad I got to be a part of them. Our 3am road trip to Prosser, the crazy busy weekend to Oregon, waking up at 5am to see the sunrise in Bryce Canyon and all the other crazy, but so fun and memorable ideas and trips – I’ll miss it, for sure.
I’m gonna miss Leslie’s stories, ideas and just random statements, that would help me through the day or just my homework. You always got my back no matter what and you always support me and take care of me as I was one of your own kids. I appreciate everything you do so much, and I can’t say thanks enough times for all the (“taxi”) rides in your truck (haha) when I get a mental breakdown cause something is broken or because I want m&m’s from the store :)) I could not wish for a better and more supportive host mom to help me through this year abroad.
McKinlee, you’re exactly like me in a younger version and you crack me up all the time. “I don’t care” is probably what we have most in common, and I love it. How chill you are, not caring about anything and the only thing you really do care about is if Dan and Serina will stay together, let’s hope so, because 2 am tears when they break up is not good, or if they will break up. It’s amazing how we can both read each other’s minds, and we’re always craving the same, either if it’s pad thai, pasta with pesto or m&m’s.
Jorja, first of all: you are so cute (I know I say it all the time and this is not the last time (sorry not sorry), haha :))). You have made my year amazing since day one. You’re the cutest and best little sister I could have asked for. You got it from Scott, so you also have all these crazy fun ideas, and believe it or not I love being a part of it. I’m never gonna forget about the day when you kissed me goodnight and woke up super early the next morning to make me pancakes before I went to school. I love you a whole bunch, even though it doesn’t always seem like it, right? (Quote -Jorja).
I also want to thank my high school for letting me go to their school for a year and be involved in activities just like other Americans. Here I have learned how to be open to new and different experiences, I have learned that football games are the biggest event of the fall semester. I have made friends for life and it is going to be so hard to leave the school and all my amazing friends. The sports program has thought me to never give up and to always believe in myself. I started doing cross country, I did not know the language, any students or how the sport worked. But after a few months I went to State with the best xc team.
It’s hard seeing it coming closer to an end, and it’s not gonna be any easier as the last two months go by. I’m starting to think about what’s gonna happen next year, what am I gonna do when I want to watch Gossip Girl at 2am or have a sleepover in the living room? Going back to Norway is probably gonna be super fun, but to be honest I’m gonna feel homesick all the time, and I am for sure going to miss this awesome family here in Washington. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for them to “adopt” me for a year and show me all these amazing places and taking me into their family as their own daughter. They would yell at me if I didn’t do the dishes and they would drive for 1 hour to cheer me on during a race. The positive thing about leaving is that I know I’m gonna come back here and visit them so many times, and I hope they can come visit me sometime too. Leaving a piece of me is the price I have to pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.
-Pia from Norway, in Washington
Interested in sharing YOUR corner of the world with an international exchange student? Learn more about becoming a host family at: http://aspectfoundation.org/host-families.