The “Hoco” Experiment

As an exchange student, I wanted to make the most out of this year. I wanted to participate in everything that simply is not available at home. Of course, I forced myself (with the aid of my friends) to go to homecoming. Now keep in mind I had no idea what homecoming was about. Sure, it was a dance, but what kind of dance? Why does it take place? Why is called “homecoming”? And most importantly, what’s with the great amount of child pornography at every teenage American dance?

Before attempting to answer any of these questions, I wanted to find a date. Everyone will tell you that it’s unnecessary to have a date as you can just go with your friends and have fun. That is correct partially, but going with another person makes the night more special and memorable for the future. I’m writing this about 2 days after homecoming and I can still remember everything. See? It was a memorable night.

Anyway, I asked an exchange student from Jordan to homecoming. At first, she said that she would be going with her friends to her own dance which is on the same day as mine and she doesn’t want to leave them to come to mine. I really wanted to go to homecoming with her for some reason at the time, so I offered to go with her (which doesn’t work usually). Two days later, she tells me that her natural parents didn’t like the idea. You win this time, Catholicism.

I tried to laugh at the idea of how I was rejected from people an ocean away. I want to stress on the word “tried”. I talked to my Lebanese friend, Tala, who lives about an hour away and she said she wants to come to my homecoming. We filled in the paperwork and added her to my school’s guest list.

IT’S HOMECOMING NIGHT OH EM GEE. I’m wearing a white shirt and a red tie to match Tala’s red dress and we leave home at around 7:15 pm to arrive about 20 minutes late to homecoming. It doesn’t really matter because it’s not a formal meeting where you have to be on time. In addition to that, most of my friends were late.

We arrive there and people are doing some weird dance so we jump and do likewise. When the dance is over, Wyatt, my Irish friend, comes over to say hi. He seemed really happy to see me. I’m not going to lie, I was happy to see him too for some reason although I’ve already done that no more than 24 hours ago. I hear Aiden shouting my name and his smile was so wide too. I guess I am that special there, huh? I ask him where the other guys are. Apparently, they just left and it’s going to take them 50 minutes to get here. Meanwhile, Tala, Aiden and I along some other people were standing in awkward circle barely dancing. Some catchy song finally came up and Tala grabbed Aiden’s arm who in turn grabbed mine to go start shaking it. It was my first dance so I had no idea what I was doing. Just look around and try to imitate others.

Kunica, Braden and Jasmine are here. Nothing special. Dante arrives. His dancing makes me laugh and is actually entertaining to watch. Some slow music goes on and everyone is in a hurry to find a partner. A big black guy asks me if I mind if Tala dances with him, I reply with a no. I don’t see Tala for the next hour as I was slow or normally dancing with either Aiden or Ricardo (who introduced to his girlfriend as his lost twin). I also got in the middle and started dancing with a lot of people I barely know. Plus I awkward danced with Sarah who screamed at me “Stop making it so awkward, just do what I’m doing!” I had to explain to her how it was my first dance. She said I did a great job at the end but it was clear that she was just complimenting me.

I finally find Tala sitting on the bench next to the same guy, clearly tired from wearing heels all night. She does this hand signal telling me to call Stephanie to pick us up. I do so then we all (including Cory because he came to homecoming too) go outside and wait for Stephanie. According to Tala, the guy tried to get her grinding on him like four times. However, every time he tried to spin her around, she refused. That’s one thing about Tala: she is a classy lady.

Stephanie arrives and we all go to Ihop. The first Ihop was crowded and one table had like 10 students who clearly just came from another homecoming. They kept the three waitresses busy and even though we were there for thirty minutes, nobody came to take our order. We decide to leave to another branch and I scream “F— YOU” at the students before I leave. Stephanie suggested flipping them off on the window but that kinda failed.

The other Ihop was almost empty. The chicken and waffles I ordered plus the hazelnut coffee tasted so good. I can see why the other one was so crowded. We finish the meal and we decide to head home since Tala’s ride back to Eloy was almost there. She takes her stuff, hugs me goodbye and leaves. I decide to stay up till 3 am because I can.

Next Sunday morning, Cory and I had the hangover feeling. It’s almost as were drinking all night. All we needed was more sleep but our bodies refused to go back to bed! We decided to just deal with it.

Today (it’s a Monday) at school, we were talking about the funny things at homecoming. One of these things was my dancing (I am not surprised at all). They also told me that my date was hot and beautiful (she is actually, I mean, she is Lebanese). Cory then said he was surprised how she isn’t my girlfriend, apparently she “jokes around, doesn’t give a shit and has the same hair” which makes her “perfect” for me. I’m just not romantically attracted her although I am aware of all these awesome traits. At least for the time being. I’m a pretty strange, random dude.

My Year in the US: California

It’s 12:21 am and I have a lot of homework to do. I have a lot of pre-calc exercises and a chemistry lab.  They will probably take just around 20 to 30 minutes but I’m an awesome procrastinator. Therefore I, Moe, decided to write my first journal of my exchange year. IT’S GOING TO BE ABOUT CALIFORNIA, YEAH BABY! (Sorry)

Day 1: Friday

I decided to sleep over Daniel’s house because his mom is hosting another exchange student, Rilvan from Indonesia. So I wake up in the morning at about six am, I take a quick shower, shave my facial hair with a disposable razor (first time I use those), eat a bowl of cereal, pack up and get ready to leave. On our way, we share a can of Rockstar energy drink because we only had one left and we all went to sleep at like 3 am.

We’re at the Central United Methodist Church parking lot, it’s where we’re supposed to meet. Everyone was there! Tala was there but she was obviously not happy and craving some extra sleep, Ramsha was jumping around with her semi-Indian smile, Ali was being Ali and MOHAMMAD KHAN was just standing there with his cheeky look. There was also this Japanese guy, Teru, whom I didn’t like very much. Ten minutes later, Dominick arrived with all his awesomeness. We also had a lot of other students that I like like Nastiya from Russia, Jamil from Philippines, Mandy from Netherlands and Paulina from Germany. Yes, I do realize most of them are girls but I have to say that most guys are unbearable.

We hopped into a van and it took us about eight hours of driving through traffic while stopping several times at gas stations to get to Oceanside from Phoenix. Being crammed in a small van does not make it any easier. Lots of racist jokes were exchanged between me and Esmaralda, an American from Mexico. She doesn’t like me now.

Anyway, we’re there. We decided to go down and walk on the beach regardless of everything. I decided to just walk on the sand because I’m wearing running shoes and jeans but the waves decided to go off their normal track and splash me. Ramsha told me to just get into the water and I did. She was very happy that I was having fun. I ended up walking barefoot to the hotel though. I decided to walk by Mandy and I discovered she’s adorable although a bit shy.

I slept on the balcony on a sleeping mattress that was leaking. I woke up to find my self sleeping on the concrete floor.

Day 2: Saturday

We wake up at freaking 6:30 in the morning and we have quick breakfast. Bagel it is I guess. We then get quickly dressed and headed to Knott’s Berry Farm. At the door, I made my usual racist jokes and asked Esmaralda if she’s gonna hope over the fence or buy a ticket. She did not take it very lightly and hit me.

We’re in the farm, my group includes me, Ali, Tala, Farah, Dominick and Cameron. Cameron refuses to stay with us and just wanders off leaving his phone with Ali. We decide to go on one of the scariest rides at first, I was yellow and red because I was frightened. I’m simply scared of these kinds of rinds because I’ve never been on them! To my surprise, they were really fun! The shimmering feeling going through my spine was the best part of it. I was able to get on another four or five rides before my stomach started to feel funny and I felt like I’m going to throw up. My friends went on three other rides without me but that was it. We then called Kristen, one of the people responsible for us and told her Cameron wandered off. Aziza and Charlotte (Cameron’s mom) called Cameron’s phone that was with us. I have feeling he got himself into trouble.

We were able to leave on time and got on the bus to the train station so we can take the train back home. We arrived early so we stopped to take a lot of pictures there. On the train back, I wore a flower crown and was announced as a princess. They also tried to take a picture of me while I slept like we do to everyone else but they failed.

We’re back at the hotel, we had dinner and now we’re just watching Futurama on Netflix. Guess that’s it for that day.

Day 3: Sunday

We have nothing to do for today so it’s BEACH DAYYYY. However, since I’m not an idiot and I don’t want to be sunburned, I went during the afternoon while wearing sunscreen. It was mainly me and Dominick who went during that time then we caught up with the other group that included Ali, Esmaralda, Mandy, Farah, Tala, Miral, Neena, Lala, Manahil and Nastiya. Later on, Cameron, Joaquin, Mohamad Khan and Branden joined so we started playing some ball game. I sucked at it.

That day went by pretty fast, we spent a few hours watching Futurama and How I Met Your Mother too. I also had a pretty good time talking to Paulina for the first time and having fun conversations with Mollie, Kristen, Aziza and Charlotte. AYUSA people are simply awesome.

Day 4: Monday

This weekend was pretty quick. I didn’t feel it pass… We woke up early and packed our stuff and got ready to leave. The van trip this time was much shorter for some reasons and it was more fun. I stuffed an oreo in Teru’s mouth while he was sleeping and a bottle of water and an orange in Mohamad Khan’s. We also found these interesting products at a gas station in Arizona called “candoms”, they’re apparently can holders. “When drinking at random, use a candom.”

We’re back at the church, Katrina (Daniel’s mom) came to pick me and Rilvan up. I hugged everyone goodbye. They were family now.