My AFS year: one life experience
Lucia Bezzato, Team B Staff Writer
May 9, 2012
Filed under Editorial
I still cannot believe that I left my own country nine months ago to come and live in this small community in the middle of nowhere. Chardon meant everything to me and I will always be thankful for this opportunity.
Chardon gave me a new life; I was born on august 12th 2011, to a wonderful family composed by my mom, Mary Beth, my dad, Steve, and two little siblings, Hannah and Jason. I did not know that much English; they taught me how to speak, how to read and how to write. They brought me to Chicago, Pittsburgh, Disney World, Canada, and I know they will bring me to visit all of the west coast to California and back. They welcomed me as a foreign student, and I easily became their daughter. They have been the most important part throughout my year, they supported me every time I needed them, they made me smile, laugh and sometimes they made me cry because I was so happy to be in their company. I cannot imagine how it will be the day of my departure, I cannot imagine my life in a different way , I cannot believe that I love them as much as my natural parents. There is nothing I can possibly do to avoid that day, but I know that wherever I will be, they will always be in my mind to face every day of my life.
Chardon gave me new friends; when I came here I was already a runner and that is the reason why I decided to run again. I did cross country, and I pushed myself so hard that by the end of the season I was able to run a 5K under 26 minutes. Who would have ever expected that from me? I made it, and I was proud of my results and all my team. I met wonderful girls that contributed to make every practice a fun time and not just a big pain. I kept running and I started track with new people, I changed coaches and I had great memories running in the snow during the cold winter. I got injured at the beginning of outdoor season and unfortunately I was not able to practice for one month. I went to all the practices because that was the right way to support my team and still hang out with my friends.
Chardon gave me also a new school; what a big challenge compared to my Italian school! The system was completely different and all the differences such as having a locker, changing class every period and picking my own classes, made me excited since the first day. The teachers played a fundamental role, they have been helpful every time I needed a hand, they excused me when I was there and they accepted me as a normal student. The shooting in Chardon was a terrible tragedy and it was tough for me to accept it. Those weeks changed me completely, I could not talk to anybody and I was disconnected even with myself. I appreciated the incredible support from the community and when everything came back to a new normal, I was a stronger person. I reflected deeply, and I discovered that life is unpredictable and we have to seize every day.
My stay in Chardon had ups and downs- in fact, it was not always easy to be so far away from that place where I grew up all my life and where I knew there were people that loved me and missed me. Some days I desired to fly home just for one day, I wanted to see what they were doing and give them a hug. I missed my hometown during Christmas the most. I missed my traditions, going to church with my grandma and skiing in the Alps. The only place where I could see them was in my dreams and my imagination.
When I was homesick, that was the time where I became more mature because life taught me new lessons. I learned how much I cared about my belongings. I learned that you can love somebody even if you cannot see or touch them. I learned that you can be wherever you want to be when you have a soul and a strong mind. I learned that you do not have to judge before knowing somebody, I learned that it does not matter if people do not look alike: the world is wide and every culture is unique. Last but not least, I learned that life is too short to waste our time.
Plans for my future? I don not know yet, but I surely know that a piece of my heart will always belong to this place. THANK YOU CHARDON.