Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2005

A thank you to Eudora

May 12, 2005

Dear people of Eudora,

My visit here is now coming to an end, and I wish to express my thanks to all the amazing people here in little Eudora who have made my stay a memorable year.

Many people can probably not understand or imagine what it's like for a 17-year-old to leave her home and fly to an unknown country on the other side of the ocean, not knowing anyone or anything. Many people have asked me why I did it, but I can't answer, because I don't really know. I've always loved traveling and meeting new people, and once the application was sent it was too late to turn back.

As I said goodbye to my family, with tears rolling down my cheeks, on a gray August morning now almost a year ago, I did not know what lay ahead of me. I was about to turn around, but I did not, and today I'm glad for that.

A feeling of excitement and fright filled me as the airplane took off, and I realized that for the first time in my life I was on my own. As the airplane flew in over Kansas, fourteen hours later(Kansas, a place I'd never seen before and not heard anything of, except for the "Wizard of Oz" of course), it struck me how flat and brown Kansas was, and how very different it was from Sweden which is covered with forest and lakes, and very hilly.

"How is it going to be?" I asked myself. "Will school be like in the movie American Pie? Will everyone be farmers and eat McDonalds every day?"

Life in Kansas soon turned out to be completely different from what I imagined it to be. People were pretty much like people at home. School was pretty much the same, and I realized that no matter where you live, people struggle with the same problems: They want to live a good life and be happy.

My year here has been a great experience that I will remember forever, and even though I now have to go back and take an extra year of high school I will never regret coming here. I think I've made the most of my stay, doing cross-country, track, choir, art, journalism, etc. And I want to thank you all for letting me participate in these activities, and for letting me take as much room as any other American girl.

I also want to especially thank my host parents Patty and Bill Vigneron who opened their home and hearts for a complete stranger. Without their support and patience I could have done none of the things that I've done.

Furthermore I want to thank my teachers Gary Hinman, Robin Kelso, Jeannette Ewbank-Bryant, Angela Yarnell, Jeannine Sample, Scott Stein as well as Eudora High School's incredible principal Dale Sample who always had a smile for me, and a nice cheering word.

Finally, I want to thank all of my friends, coaches and other people who probably can't imagine what they have given me.

I will always remember you.

Johanna Rahmqvist

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