Jean Francois’ First Quarter

I was not disappointed when I first step out the airplane. It was raining already. Before coming to Seattle, I asked what is common to Seattle? I know most of the states in the US are famous for something: Arizona has the Grand Canyon, Miami has the Everglades, and Seattle has Mount Rainier and the Space Needle. I was told to add it is raining and cloudy all the time.

However, two days later, I see it’s sunny and I was impressed to see the beauty of Seattle. I love how quiet it is here, how clean the air is, and I like downtown. There are a lot activities going on, like in Haiti. Also I came in a great season, even if it is the coldest one, because I like to see nature, the environment with the trees’ leaves changing different colors. Woahhhhh, awesome!!

My first week in Seattle was overwhelming. First, during my orientation, I heard too many mostly Asian names that are long and that I wasn’t used to. Second, I have to adapt to the new life like using the bus, know where to get off or get on, which one to take. Then, adapt to my new diet. All the foods are different, now I like the Thai food by the way. Finally, I have to adapt to my new schedule of waking up in the morning, going to school, and studying. I hadn’t done this in two years.

I do feel homesick already. I dream about Haiti every single night. For my homesickness, I thought it will be healed by meeting new friends at the school.

However, it became worse as I am the only one from Haiti. The other students mostly stick together and talk their own languages. I never understand them so there was no reason to stay among them.

Anyway, I was focusing on my lessons, homework, and have fun when possible. I like going to Snoqualmie (in the mountains), Space Needle, EMP (music museum), movies, and so forth. I am surrounded by such a lovely family (Friends of the Orphans) and I am hosted by a lovely one too. Every morning they make my breakfast and prepare my lunch. It was very helpful for me, since I was used to going to sleep late and waking up late. They help me by talking to me, what can make me strong. We shared experiences and I really appreciate it.

At school I was influenced by the other students who are mostly shy and afraid to talk, not well self-confident. I was afraid of my reading class, because I did not do very well but not too bad. By the end of the quarter I was able to shake the shyness the others shared and take my own way by talking, asking questions and participating. I learned a lot and it helped me to be confident again and not feel too homesick. It also helped me to be the Top Student of all of my 4 classes and I will graduate from ESL (English as a Second Language) next quarter.

What is the point of the influence discussion? The point is that sometimes you are not doing well among a group because you are being them, not you!! I learned you have to try to be you and then see what you can do in the group as yourself.

Thank you all for this opportunity!

Jean Francois

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