Köszönöm (thank you in Hungarian)


Laci Kranitz

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t has been a long time since I have seen my family and my friends. I remember the slight fear I felt on the flight from Amsterdam to Houston. I just realized that I didn’t know anyone here in Houston, and I have never been here. European people have stereotypes about Texas. I expected to see horses everywhere, and people wearing cowboy hats and boots.  

When I got here it was around 100 degrees, and I was so tired that my brain stopped working. I forgot all of the English I knew and felt very awkward when I first met my host family. I couldn’t really understand them so I just said yes to everything. It was harder because learning  a language in a classroom is so different from speaking it in the native environment. In the first few months I slept a lot because thinking in two languages hurt my head. On my second day, my host family showed me the school and to be honest, I was shocked. Kinkaid was so different from my school back in Hungary; it’s so spread out, open, and beautiful.

This year I achieved one of my biggest dreams: to play football. Just one day after I arrived in Texas, I went to Coach Larned’s office and told him I wanted to play football. I told to him that I had never played football before, but I really liked watching football on TV and knew all of the rules. He agreed and put me on the JV team. I went to practice the next day and was very confused about everything. I couldn’t understand anything they said, but I tried to pay a lot of attention so I could improve everyday. Luckily, my teammates helped me out and made my life easier. Unfortunately, I injured my wrist in the fourth game and had a season ending surgery. However, I still sat on the sideline every game to motivate my teammates. The team went undefeated, so I think that I’m the only undefeated Hungarian football player in history. To continue covering my entire sports career at Kinkaid I want to also thank the soccer team. Although I’m still mad that we didn’t beat Episcopal at SPC,  I had a really fun time and enjoyed the whole season from the comfortable metal bench with Arman, Mitch, Ben, and the injured Michael. Tennis season was fun too even though we didn’t accomplish our goal—the semi-finals.

The actual schoolwork was pretty hard at the beginning of the year. Everyone talked fast and I couldn’t catch up with the teachers (I have to thank all of my teachers for helping me not get too lost in class). One of my biggest issues is still doing my homework because in Hungary we don’t have homework. On the first day of school, I was shocked that I had so much homework and wanted to leave. As my English improved, school got easier and easier as well. I can say now that I’m thinking in English and sometimes when I’m talking with my friends or family I can’t speak Hungarian which is pretty funny.

Being an exchange student isn’t always easy. Being 5000 miles away from your family is even tougher.  Not gonna lie—when my family was celebrating Christmas, Easter or my birthday at home without me I felt homesick. When my friends in Hungary were hanging out without me while I was sitting in the school, I felt homesick too.

But you guys were there for me. I have to give a huge thank you to my host family because they made my life easier and helped me a lot; they drove me everywhere (since I can’t drive as per AFS rules), they took me on trips to seven other cities, and most of all, they treated me like I’m their real son which I am very grateful for. I also want to say thank you too all of my friends and classmates who made my life easier at school and made my weekends fun.

I think I grew up during my year—I learned new things, I learned a whole different language, and I also learnt how to live without my parents—I became more responsible. I think this year was the best year of my life, and I’m going to miss all of you guys. If anyone is coming to Europe or Hungary just text me. We can meet, and I can show you some really fun places. I wish all of you good luck in whatever you choose to do in your life.