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How I got to Iowa

October 9, 2012

By Iva Gejdosova, CCI Academic Year Program participant and Greenheart Club Member

Do you know what it’s like to leave your family, friends, all your wardrobe and…everything else?

Well, I do.

The idea of leaving Czech to learn English and the American culture was on my mind for a long time.When I finally was old enough to do it, I just did. My last day at home was weird. My father stared at me all day; I think he was saving last moments with me. My sister was much nicer than she usually is, and mom was…mom :)

On my last Sunday at home, we went to church in the morning,  said goodbye to my grandparents and in the evening, I went to a movie with some of my friends. I couldn’t fall asleep that night and suddenly, was 5 a.m. and I had to I put my things on to go to Vienna. Mum gave me at least a hundred kisses and a four leaf clover.

And then my story started.

The flight from Vienna to Paris was normal. I sat next to a nice, older woman, who smiled the whole time, even when she fell asleep! But Paris was a bigger nut. You need to have two hours at the airport to be sure you can make the next flight (I had only one hour). I got of the plane and immediately started to look for where I needed to go. The airport in Paris is much bigger than the airport in Vienna. I had to walk for  half an hour to get to the right place. There were so many people waiting, and I had to do the same – wait. After I got through the customs line, I had to hurry because there wasn’t enough time to get to my gate. I needed to use restroom and I had just five minutes, so I went to the ladies room, but there was a line (the mens room was even longer). So I didn’t stop there and continued running. I was thirsty and wanted to buy water, but there was also a line! I had boarding in three minutes. When I finally got there, I sat down and checked the number of my flight. Something was wrong–the numbers weren’t the same. I asked an employee, and she had told me they changed my gate. There was only a minute until boarding started. I grabbed my handbag and ran to the right one. I was finally on my flight to the USA!

I met a really nice man, Marcus, on my flight from Paris to Detroit. He was German and living in USA where he works as a professor and is married to a French woman. The flight went by very fast and soon, I was at the Detroit airport. Luckily, it wasn’t as complicated as the airport in Paris and I had plenty of time to get to the next gate.

Soon, I was sitting on the plane to Iowa and had a chance to close my eyes and not open them until we landed.

I knew what the Rathmachers, my American host family, looked like just from pictures and they were there waiting for me with a sign that said: “Welcome to Iowa, Iva”.

From the minute I stepped foot in Iowa, I knew I would be in for an adventure. When you ask people in Europe what images they think about when they hear the word “USA”, do you know what are they going to say? Fast food, pizza and hamburgers. Do you know what was the very first meal I had in America? Pizza, of course! Then, on the car ride to my new family’s home, I looked out the window and thought: Look that may be Obama’s car”. Do you know what? It was! I am so excited for my time here as an exchange student and cannot wait to see what else is in store!

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