In my excitement to talk about my first week in DC, I ran out of space to talk about my first week in the United States. The week before I arrived to DC, I had the opportunity to enjoy seven beautiful days with my friend Emma and her family and friends. I met Emma a little more than a year ago in Di Tella, my university in Buenos Aires. She was doing an exchange program for a year, and I shared one of the best and enriching experiences of community service with her. We visited Villa 31, one the biggest slums in Buenos Aires.
Tutoring at a high school in this slum, we started to realize that we share more interests than we knew. We started to spend times with the same group of people, mainly with Clari, another great friend in Buenos Aires. Also Emma was one of the friends who taught me how to speak in English the past year.
Journeys, classes, friends, discussions, English, clubs, projects, university life, ideas, and discussions with her caused me to grow and create great memories. That is how I received the invitation from Emma to spend the days before to start the exchange in her house in Georgetown, Massachusetts with her and her family and how I decided to spend my New Year with her.
It was December 29, 2013 when I entered American territory, more precisely Bostonian territory, at the Boston Logan International Airport. The hug that I gave Emma was the warmth that I needed after facing the shocking weather that I experienced. A day before, I was enjoying the summer with 99 °F (37°C), but at this moment the temperature was around of 5°F (-15°C).
When I arrived, Emma told me about the New Year plan. We were going to Fairfield, Connecticut, a little town where she is studying and we would be celebrating the New Year with a dinner with friends in her house along the Atlantic Ocean and go to a party at the beach organized by her university. It was the plan, but definitely the celebration exceeded my expectations: games, good music, good food, and nice people.
That is how Emma´s friend told me about and introduced me to their friends who were studying in GW or living in DC. After the New Year, I had time to return to Georgetown, to enjoy the snow and the quiet town, and mainly to spent time with the Cannon’s (Emma´s family).
Without a doubt, it was the best transition that I could have had between my country and my university experience in the US. Not only because they were patient with my English, also because I had the opportunity to enjoy time with a really nice American family and learn about their customs, their habits, and spend a really nice time with them. I think few people have the willingness to receive exchange students during their short holidays. I was lucky to have the opportunity to share dinner, play games, talk, eat cookies, drink wine, and play in the snow.
Also I had the opportunity to tour Boston, “the capital of New England”, its garden, its avenues, its nice squares, its traditional market, as well as its food, like the pasta in the Italian neighborhood. Although I still want to return to tour more, the few places that I visited were interesting, entertaining, and nice. Definitely my first week in the US was not only was worthy for exploring the region of New England, it was a week to immerse myself in American life, to perceive and adapt to the contrast between my country and the US.
It was worth learning about the customs and to reflect on my customs. If I had to choose the best aspect of this week I would say that it was Emma and her family because they provided me with warmth and Emma gave me the best understanding of the experience that I was about to start. Who better than she that lived as an Exchange, to know about Argentina and US?
Among my experience and her wisdom, I would like to highlight her advice of living and taking advantage of each experience, activity, projects that GW and DC have to offer, especially the things that I won’t be able to do in my country. Also, it is important to do all of the things with willingness and effort, without forgetting to enjoy it.
I will see if I can follow your advice, Emma. If I can, then next week I will probably be talking about it. To Emma and her family that I am missing, thank you so much!