Monday, February 22, 2010
It all of a sudden feels like home, and not really for any specific reason at all. I mean not that home-ey feeling you get when your with your real mom and dad who know everything about you and care for you without any judgement and just be there for you. But just sitting here right now it does not feel uncomfortable or new or awkward and I feel no homesickness. I don't wake up in the morning and go "where the hell am I?" anymore. I don't go in to school anymore going "well who the hell am I going to sit with at lunch?" I can talk and be normal with people now. Of course I still am the new kid and the american but I am no longer seen as just a random exchange student anymore. I still get the odd stare-down in the hallway from kids who have not seen me yet, and I definitely recognize stares on the bus sometimes but the people who used to do the staring have finally started talking to me I am not seen as a mysterious foreigner. I have definitely clarified (on several occasions... ok, almost every new conversation I have had) that americans are not how they appear in the movies, we do not have to go through medal detectors to get in to school, we all are not rich white people down on poor black people, we do not see drive-by's regularly on the street, I do not notice how skinny people are in NZ compared to the usa, yes we do have fraternities and cafeterias but the parties arent always as crazy as they appear on the movies and we do not always have food fights in our dinning areas, we DO say tomAto even if it sounds stupid to them (here it is tomoto as the saying goes), and the "NO WE DONT HAVE MEAT PIES IN AMERICA, we just put fruit in pastry... YES, I KNOW, ITS CRAZY!" --- but even though these are funny and sound quite stupid they actually think this based on TV. And that is why I find this experience so great along with finally feeling completely at home. I am able to live totally immersed in a new society in a place that I now feel at home in while learning about the world and gaining a better understanding of people and I am in return sharing my culture with the people who live here. I am debunking stereotypes and also proving them in some cases, and they are doing the same. I am never bored here and I find every interaction I have with people here very fun and interesting every time, whether it be a ten year old on the bus asking what lollies I eat in America or an adult that is sharing some history with me on a country they are very proud of. I am starting to feel like a kiwi.