perjantai 22. maaliskuuta 2013

Track is my home

When I told to my parents that I am going to be an exchange student in Texas, a friend of my mum told her that Johanna will get along well in US because she already has "the Yankee smile" (That's how we call your big and charming smiles in Finland). And yes, she was right, smiling helped me out when I didn't understand what I was told or I couldn't choose the right words.

At first, when I came here, I was wondering why my coach was speaking so weird.  But then I noticed that all the teachers speak similar way - so they just have a southern accent. Also the phase "Yes ma'am" made me wonder why they call me "Mum" even though I am not that old. After couple of weeks I realized that it is just what people say here in Texas to show politeness.

There was also days when I felt that some people were rude to me. Even though they were very kind, I felt that they didn't care people around them. At the same time, I talked to a girl who had visited in Europe, and she told me that she felt similar way - people were rude in Europe. They didn't ask "How is going?" in grocery store or they didn't try to understand her accent.

After a while, I realized that they were just cultural differences, we behaved in different way than people from other culture. And even though they say that Finland reminds US in many things, we have McDonalds, we love to have an own car and we have big supermarkets to make our life easier; we are still culturally different people. A good example is how people use word "love" in US compared to Finland. People say here "I love you" every day whereas we say the same thing in Finnish "Minä rakastan sinua" once in a life time or at least, less frequently.

But how can I say that I felt home immediately and I haven't felt homesickness almost at all? There are many reason why i fell in love with Texas, such as great roommates, nice weather and friendly people. But more than anything, I feel that track made me feel home immediately. In the track, it didn't matter if I was from France or Finland, and it didn't matter if I couldn't pronounce all the words in right way. All that mattered, was that we had the same goal and we were ready to work hard for that.

Right now, I am very grateful that I decided to extend my exchange and stay here longer. It was awesome to be part of Bearkat family during the indoor season, and now it's time to show that we are even faster during the outdoor! Eight week season until Southland Conference Outdoor Championships is about to start. Eat 'em up and good luck to everyone!

Victor Lopez Classic tonight at Rice University.

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