Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I GOT MY HOST FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! ^_^
So, today after I returned home from a dentist appointment, I checked my email as usual. Expecting nothing, I suddenly realized that there was a message from AFS, and as soon as I saw the words "host family placement," I clicked on the whole message to make sure it was true. As I read the message, my heart started pounding and I felt like I was flying, because I finally have the information of the  family I've been dreaming of for all these years. I immediately began freaking out: I screamed at the top of my lungs and started happy-dancing in circles around my living room. It scared my cat, and that made me feel bad xD she's ok now though...AND I'M AS EXITED AS EVER!!!!!
The only problem is that I can't access the information yet because it's still being uploaded to my AFS account. -_________-
So far, all that I know is that I have THREE host brothers and my family lives in ALEXANDRIA!!!!!!!! :D This means living in the same city as my friend Fatma, being minutes from the Mediterranean, and living in one of the richest centers of history and culture in the whole country, the ancient capital of the Ptolomies (Cleopatra's dynasty); not to mention having access to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, one of the largest libraries in the world(useful for a bookworm like myself xD)...OH, I can't wait <3  I'm curious to see what having so many brothers will be like...Especially because the closest thing I've had was my Italian AFS brother xD Anyway, here are some PICTURES of my future home! (GORGEOUS, ISN'T IT?) :D

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina!
a sphinx with a bust of Caesarion, Cleopatra and Julius Cesar's son
the Marina! *___*
The location of Alexandria within Egypt

Well, that will be all for now.
I will post again when I have more info about my host family...Which, hopefully, will be quite soon.
your Eskendarawi*-in-the-making, Nico ^^

*Eskendarawi is, by the way, just an Arabic term that basically means "Alexandrian"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Departure day :'(

So, today came the feared and infamous day where all the AFSers that haven't left already (except one staying late) depart to their home countries. :"( We helped them board their train, from which they continued on to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and then to Chicago, from which most of them will fly back to their respective countries and some to DC for an orientation, and in a few days from there to their countries. It's always a painfully sad and emotional experience. Even though I wasn't hosting (although, as I realized I've failed to mention, my family is the "aunt and uncle family" to the Egyptian, Ahmed...so I guess we're host cousins? xD), it was easy to feel the powerful and conflicting emotions felt both by the students and their families that shared their homes and hearts with them for a whole entire year. I felt very sad seeing that. Even my mother began to flash-back to her own departure and became emotional. :"(
As I observed this heart-wrenching cry-fest, I wondered what it will actually feel like when I'm the one living that moment.
Out of curiosity, I asked around, and the general consensus seems to be that exchange students don't cry when they leave their natural families, but a lot when they leave their host families. (I'll probably cry both times; I'm pretty emotional xD)
In any case, I'm happy that soon I'll be beginning my own experience as an AFSer, and I'll get to see my "host cousin" Ahmed in his homeland again in a matter of mere months. :)
Still no information of my travel itinerary or host family, but I feel much calmer about that now. I've done my best to contain my anxiousness and impatience. I'm still eager, but I'm not freaking out anymore like I was recently xD I'll just wait and see.........
That's all for now... Hopefully I'll be back soon, with big news ^^
Last group photo of the AFS Washtenaw chapter for the year :(

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Miscellaneous updates

Well, I'm finally done with finals (and obviously, school) and on summer vacation. In a word: FINALLY. I now have my life back again xD I'm very happy to be free at last now. This means that I can be free to go to bed at and sleep in until ludicrous hours of the night/day, hang out constantly with all the friends I'll be missing while abroad, swim, be sad about this year's AFSers going home, stuff my brain with Arabic until it bursts, learn about Egypt and its history/culture obsessively, and await more information from AFS IN PEACE. AT LAST. ^w^
The problem is that I still have not received any information about my host family or travel itinerary at all. Not to mention my visa instructions. And this is beginning to frustrate me. I keep hearing posts about people that finally receive their information, posting about how they proceeded to freak out and now feel so satisfied. And I want that to happen to me, so I can freak out too and I can feel satisfied like that too. I know that I should be patient, I know that this process takes time and that the information could be here in a heartbeat. But I'm just so eager to have all of this information in the palm of my hand that I'm starting to go crazy waiting for it. Every time I'm on the computer, every time I check my email, I think it might be the time I get lucky. But, so far, I've always been disappointed. I'm trying to just keep myself occupied and exercise patience. It will come when it comes, obviously. I need to remind myself that all I can do is wait. I'll try not to be bitter and adopt this attitude instead: One of these times that I check, I will be rewarded, so I may as well keep checking, because the time will come soon. Perhaps (HOPEFULLY!) sooner than I think.

In the meantime, something cheerier: on the 19th I traveled to the big, fun amusement park known as Cedar Point with the AFSers of this year. :D I had a lot of fun with them, and I'm extremely glad I decided to attend. The only problem now is that soon they'll be going back home to their respective countries, and that's a very sad thing. :'( Two already went home today. :'( I miss them both terribly already. Most of the rest will be going home on the 25th. And there’s one who’s staying until July 7 to go on a trip with her host family. It's going to be very hard to say goodbye D: This will be quite painful </3
This is always a really sad time when it comes to AFS friends. After a year of befriending them, spending time with them, and getting to know them very well, it's hard to watch them pack up and go back to their homelands. My hope is that they'll all come back here someday to visit their friends and host families. And I'm trying to remember that I'll be seeing the Egyptian AFSer on his home turf in a few months :D
Well, that's enough for now. Hopefully the next time I post will be because I've received either my host family or travel itinerary, inshallah. :D (Maybe if I'm super extra lucky, I'll have both xDD OK, let's not get carried away; even just one of them is fine ^_^)
an overhead picture of Cedar Point

a picture to symbolize the joyful freedom I currently feel :D
I plan to be doing a lot of this :D

and this - sleeping in late :3

and saying this to all the local AFSers :') 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A bit of reblogging :3

‘Twas the night before departure, and all throughout the land
Next years exchange students with plane tickets in hand
they said their farewells, and hugged everyone goodbye
not knowing of the crazy adventures in front of them that lie…
A room full of memories all packed in a hurry that night,
“Hey Mom, can you sit on this for me while I zip up it tight?”
Visions of faraway places and foreign lands they dream
It’s all fiction until tomorrow, when their planes will leave
Half way across the world their new friends awake
they don’t know it yet, but he/she will be their best mate
their dreams continue, all exciting and stoked
little do they know, this time next year they’ll be broke
The moon gives way, for the bright sun the next day
they wake up to reality, for today is the day
A day of tears, fears, and many make-up smears
A day of joy, adventure, and a little maturity I might add
I love you so much, I’ll miss you Dad.
“Hey Mom, who’s gonna do my laundry?”
“Just kidding, I’ll miss you real bad.”
“Hey Sis, I took your favorite dress (hehe)… no I
didn’t, but I wanted to real bad. I guess I never said this,
but I love you to death.”
The tears trickled through, but the excitement prevailed
All proud and adventurous, as my moms arms “flailed” goodbye
I never thought I’d miss them so much until they weren’t by my side
The plane took off, and the flight attendant brought drinks,
A little turbulence got me nervous, but I’m ok, I think…
The flight continued, and in their dictionaries they looked
Actually, this was the first time they had ever opened this book
“How do I say ‘Hi’? ‘Goodbye’? What if I need do to go the bathroom?
I don’t know!” The fear inside them began to grow.
Another night passed, and thus another day
They are all needles in a hay stack, special in their own way.
The flight attendant woke them all up, “hey lady, I don’t want any orange juice,
why did you have to wake me up?” They say…
A great way to start off such an important day
A smooth landing and they were there at last
about to meet their new host families, not knowing
their year would go by real fast
A big smile, and some good-old morning breath
“I can’t wait to take a shower, I hope they have one, I wept”
A new culture, a new family, a new language and land
“Anything else? … I don’t even recognize the sand”
“Where am I, who are you, how do I say… and what’s this?
I feel really lonely, I can’t stop thinking about everybody I miss.”
“I wonder what my friends are doing right now, what happened
at the party, and who kissed.”
The story continues on, for about a nine months to a year
The adventure has just started, and the end doesn’t seem near.
Their days pass, and their friendships grow, “leaving my new home
is the toughest part… I wish I had known.”
Their eyes are wide, they’re flaunting overwhelming smiles alike
I hope mom and dad don’t mind my new tattoo, curfew, study habits, and insight
I’ve changed a little bit, gotten out on my own, you know
I’ve lived by my own rules for a year, I thought you should know
It just won’t be like it was before my friends
I’m lost in my own paradise, I no longer need your advice.
Hey, what’s up? Not much I say.
If I told you, you wouldn’t understand, anyway
The sun sets, and back in their own beds they lay
A year of their life, well worth the extended stay
So many stories, and so much to tell
The experience of a lifetime, “I went through heaven and hell
I can’t say it was easy, and I can’t say I loved every minute
But I grew a lot, I learned a new language, and no that’s not it
sometimes I like to keep it to myself, that way I don’t ruin it.”

What is exchange? 
Exchange is change. Rapid, brutal, beautiful, hurtful, colourful, amazing, unexpected, overwhelming and most of all constant change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, school, simply everything. 
Exchange is realizing that everything they told you beforehand is wrong, but also right in a way. 
Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea who you are anymore to being someone new. But not entirely new. You are still the person you were before but you jumped into that ice cold lake. You know how it feels like to be on your own. Away from home, with no one you really know. And you find out that you can actually do it.
Exchange is learning to trust. Trust people, who, at first, are only names on a piece of paper, trust that they want the best for you, that they care. Trust, that you have the strength to endure a year on your own, endure a year of being apart from everything that mattered to you before. Trust that you will have friends. Trust that everything’s going to be alright. And it is seeing this trust being justified. 
Exchange is thinking. All the time. About everything. Thinking about those strange costumes, the strange food, the strange language. About why you’re here and not back home. About how it’s going to be like once you come back home. How that girl is going to react when you see her again. About who’s hanging out where this weekend. At first who’s inviting you at all. And in the end where you’re supposed to go, when you’re invited to ten different things. About how everybody at home is doing. About how stupid this whole time-zone thing is. Not only because of home, but also because the tv ads for shows keep confusing you. 
Thinking about what’s right and what’s wrong. About how stupid or rude you just were to someone without meaning to be. About the point of all this. About the sense of life. About who you want to be, what you want to do. And about when that English essay is due, even though you’re marks don’t count. About whether you should go home after school, or hang out at someone’s place until midnight. Someone you didn’t even know a few months ago. And about what the hell that guy just said.
Exchange is people. Those incredibly strange people, who look at you like you’re an alien. Those people who are too afraid to talk to you. And those people who actually talk to you. Those people who know your name, even though you have never met them. Those people, who tell you who to stay away from. Those people who talk about you behind your back, those people who make fun of your country. All those people, who aren’t worth your giving a damn. Those people you ignore.
And those people who invite you to their homes. Who keep you sane. Who become your friends. 
Exchange is music. New music, weird music, cool music, music you will remember all your life as the soundtrack of your exchange. Music that will make you cry because all those lyrics express exactly how you feel, so far away. Music that will make you feel like you could take on the whole world. And it is music you make. With the most amazing musicians you’ve ever met. And it is site reading a thousand pages just to be part of the school band. 
Exchange is uncomfortable. It’s feeling out of place, like a fifth wheel. It’s talking to people you don’t like. It’s trying to be nice all the time. It’s bugs.. and bears. It’s cold, freezing cold. It’s homesickness, it’s awkward silence and its feeling guilty because you didn’t talk to someone at home. Or feeling guilty because you missed something because you were talking on Skype.
Exchange is great. It’s feeling the connection between you and your host parents grow. It’s hearing your little host brother asking where his big brother is. It’s knowing in which cupboard the peanut butter is. It’s meeting people from all over the world. It’s having a place to stay in almost every country of the world. It’s getting 5 new families. One of them being a huge group of the most awesome teenagers in the world.
It’s cooking food from your home country and not messing up. It’s seeing beautiful landscapes that you never knew existed.
Exchange is exchange students. The most amazing people in the whole wide world. Those people from everywhere who know exactly how you feel and those people who become your absolute best friends even though you only see most of them 3 or 4 times during your year. The people, who take almost an hour to say their final goodbyes to each other. Those people with the jackets full of pins. All over the world.
Exchange is falling in love. With this amazing, wild, beautiful country. And with your home country. 
Exchange is frustrating. Things you can’t do, things you don’t understand. Things you say, that mean the exact opposite of what you meant to say. Or even worse…
Exchange is understanding. 
Exchange is unbelievable. 
Exchange is not a year in your life. It’s a life in one year.
Exchange is nothing like you expected it to be, and everything you wanted it to be. 
Exchange is the best year of your life so far. Without a doubt. And it’s also the worst. Without a doubt. 
Exchange is something you will never forget, something that will always be a part of you. It is something no one back at home will ever truly understand.
Exchange is growing up, realizing that everybody is the same, no matter where they’re from. That there is great people and douche bags everywhere. And that it only depends on you how good or bad your day is going to be. Or the whole year. 
And it is realizing that you can be on your own, that you are an independent person. Finally. And it’s trying to explain that to your parents.
Exchange is dancing in the rain for no reason, crying without a reason, laughing at the same time. It’s a turmoil of every emotion possible.
Exchange is everything. And exchange is something you can’t understand unless you’ve been through it.

Urbandictionary definition - Foreign exchange student:
Most awesome person you will ever meet. Exchange students willingly decide to get off their butts, leave their home country, and go see the world. For that reason, they should be given a heck of a lot of credit. Usually, a foreign exchange student will have a funny accent and not speak your language very well. This is all the more reason to hang out with them, because everything will suddenly become that much more hilarious. Also, they are generally young people, and have the tendency to be extremely good looking. In conclusion, mad props to all exchange students out there.

~Please excuse the length of this post, but I just wanted to reblog these gems that I found about student exchange, the first on Tumblr and the others on Facebook.
-Still no significant events of my own to share TT.TT I will update just as soon as I am updated myself ^_-
Nico! ^_^
PS: Please also excuse the white highlight-stuff in this post, I can't seem to get rid of it. -_-

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Just some cool pictures :P

No significant news, yet.
Just some cool pictures relating to the exchange student experience!
Hope you like them and feel free to share or reblog any :D
-Nico ^_^

An exchange is...

I hope this doesn't happen to me xD probably will though ^_-

Not really sure if this one's possible..XD

Exactly what I'm doing right now :D

I'd love to do this (again) when I get back :D