Tag Archives: friends

A Homestay Home

By Ida Abhari

When I entered my first year at high school – already a new and uncertain time – my mother told me and my sister that our family would start hosting international university students. I thought it would be a fun experience and, having grown up with immigrant parents, I was no stranger to the joys of diversity. At the same time, I was a little bit nervous too. Would I be able to create an authentically American experience for these students? Would they enjoy my home and family?

The day Yuki (our first student) arrived, we tried to make sure she would be as comfortable as possible. Thinking it wouldn’t suit her taste, we didn’t eat our usual traditional Persian food for dinner; we ordered pizza instead. During dinner, we learned that Yuki had never been outside of Japan but that she was excited and open to learning about her new surroundings and broadening her horizon. I quickly saw how kind and understanding she was and that I shouldn’t have worried about her not liking our home. In fact, she told us she wanted to try Persian food, which surprised and pleased us at the same time.

In the coming weeks, we showed Yuki our city. I pointed out the best tofu house, my favorite boba shop, and my high school hangout spot. Though Yuki went back to Japan after finishing her semester abroad, we were fortunate enough to receive many more  intriguing students. Hitomi, Miyuki, Tomomi, and Mae, among others, became part of our household and constituted an important part of growing up for me. From them, I learned how things I had previously saw as ordinary were actually quite extraordinary – Miyuki, for example, was thrilled that we had a grill in our backyard. She snapped countless pictures of this grill, something I had seen as a standard household item. She explained that where she lived in Japan, houses and backyards were often too small for such features. Likewise, Hitomi introduced me to the Bath and Body Works store. With its varied and delightfully-scented cosmetic items, I am forever thankful.

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Dealing with Homesickness

By Kevin Paley

I recall being thirteen years old when I visited my oldest cousin in college. I couldn’t wait to hear stories about what crazy college life is like. In Portland, Connecticut, where very little changes and everyone is white and middle-class, the prospect of college was the golden opportunity to leave small-town life behind. However, I recall being shocked at how serious my cousin Jillian, a sophomore at Syracuse University, was about homesickness. At the time, I figured that girls were just more sensitive to that kind of stuff than guys.

Fast-forward to being seventeen and applying for colleges. Aiming for a degree in Theatre, I auditioned for four east coast schools that would keep me close to home and one out in the other worldly west – the University of Southern California. I had no intention of actually going to school in Los Angeles but figured that my application would give my family a good scare and give me a good fantasy to get through the last years of high school.

As luck would have it, USC offered me enough financial aid to make rejecting this school impossible. Life got real; I shipped out in August of 2008 to see what LA had to offer.

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An Argument for Eating Everything

By Maggie Deagon

“You are what you eat.” This idiom is usually associated with health, meaning that eating unhealthy foods willmake you feel bad, and on the flip side, eating well will make you feel good. While googling this popular phrase,I found that a British television series about dieting adopted the name, and similarly, cookbooks and multiple diet plans make the statement as well. For me though, I tend to associate this phrase with something more than nutrition—something more personal.

maggie BBQ
Here I am grilling my mom’s lemon chicken recipe at the lake in Echo Park.

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