Congratulations Sayako Itakura studying at Santa Barbara City College! She won $100 by sharing her story about meeting a friendly U.S. American. Read more and how you could be the next winner.
Dave is the helpful and kind person who provides me a home abroad in California. I was still in English language school when I met him 2 years ago. When I first came to the U.S. from Japan at the age of 18, I had a difficulty settling in. Due to the expiration of contract and a mismatch of life-styles with my host family, I was required to move from one place to another every 2 months during the first half year. When I moved into forth host family’s house, I met my former host father, Dave. He lives with his wife and is one of the friendliest people I have ever met in my life. No one questions about his friendliness because of the frequency of his friends’ visits and calls and the chance of him running into his friends in town. When I first moved into his house, I was not very fluent in English and had a hard time explaining things. He knew that I was shy and so always listened to me carefully while looking into my eyes. He always tried, and still does today, to understand what I meant rather than what I have actually said. While dealing with my lack of confidence in English, his attitude made me feel as if I were talking to my parents and relieved me from the mental stress.
We spent a lot of time hanging out together. On weekends, he often asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride to the beach. So, we loaded the bikes on back of his truck and drove down to the beach where we had ice cream after the bike ride. I really liked being a passenger in his truck and going out to downtown, so everytime when he told me he was going out for errands, such as grocery shopping or gas refills, I stopped doing my homework and followed him. In the evening, we often leaned back in the couch and watched TV, and he would take a blanket out for me when I said “It’s kinda chilly.”
When I transferred from English language school to a college in the town, I was no longer able to stay in his house. I moved to a new place, which is only 5 minutes away, and started living with my new host mother. Unfortunately, my schedule did not match with my host mother’s, so I spent most of my free time reading or hanging out at a coffee shop alone. Dave and I would sent texts to each other but did not hang out for next 6 months. But one day in October, Dave texted me and said “We are going to give away free hotdogs on Halloween! Can you come over and help?” Of course, I dressed up as an in-n-out girl and gave away hotdogs on the Halloween day. Dave invited me for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner in the year, and I accepted every single invitation from him. Since then, we started hanging out together again.
Now, I have moved into an apartment with my roommate and am going to graduate from my college this spring. Dave still picks me up almost every weekend, and we go for breakfast. I often have to go back home after breakfast to do my homework, but when time allows, I follow him going to Costco for grocery shopping and spend the day together hanging out. Dave tells me “I’m glad that you spend time with me, and you are always welcomed to join my day whenever you have time.” When I left Japan, I never thought I would meet someone like him in the U.S. He makes me smile like the way I do when I am with my dad. He is the most loving person in my life.
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Sayako will receive $100 and her essay will be featured in the spring 2015 issue of International Student Voice Magazine.