Monday, January 24, 2011


Just a few days after writing about this mysterious host family that may or may not be my real host family, I got the email from AFS:
"Great news! AFS- Chile has just provided us with information about your Permanent Host Family Placement!"

I freaked out a little bit (no, a lot bit) and ran downstairs. It was, in fact, the host family I had been contacted by via facebook a few weeks prior. It didn't exactly give me a lot of information, but I have a dad, mom, 15 year old sister (Paula) and 21 year old brother (Diego). I'm in the process of writing them an email to learn more about their family. They say they have an indoor dog,and occupation is listed as "contractor". I'll let you know more when I find out more.

Other news:
  • Leo has officially arrived and had his first day of school today. We're all getting along very well.
  • My FBI background check came back from the FBI on Saturday! We keep missing the mailman but I'm planning on picking that up tonight.
  • I'm still compiling the necessary documents for my student visa. Today i took some very ugly passport pictures.
As I mentioned earlier, I spend a lot of time looking at AFS blogs and one of my goals is to have my blog help future exchangers know what it's like to go on exchange. I really appreciate having all the details possible about each blogger's trip. So, for all you future-exchangers out there (or people who are curious) here's the timeline of AFS exchange:

April, sometime: submit pre-application
August 5th: in-home interview
August 14th: submit full application to AFS-USA (with Chile as my first choice)
September 6th: Accepted by AFS-USA (after some confusion regarding my interview)
November 26th: Accepted by AFS-Chile
January 20th: Official, permanent host family!

As you can see, there is a lot of time spent waiting. I've learned that every email from AFS probably has good news in it. Patience is important during this process--for example, AFS said that Chile would accept or deny my application in 6-8 weeks, and it turned out to be more like 10 weeks. However, I'm sure that many students going to Chile don't have host families yet, so I feel special that I was picked by a family. It does make you feel a little special inside :)

Another detail: for those of you that don't know, my school, Madison West, ended their semester January 21st. That left an awkward 4 weeks between the end of the semester and my departure date. After numerous meetings with my counselor, we worked out a plan where I'm working on a computer science related independent study in the mornings and volunteering at a local elementary school in the afternoons. It's nice, because then I stay involved at school and can go to my clubs at lunch, but not have to attend "real" school. It's a good solution.

I think that's all for now.

PS: The money keeps coming in! I got another $150 in the mail recently. I'm astonished at how successful this fundraising project was, and I just wanted to thank all of my donors once again :)

PPS: I got my official AFS luggage tags in the mail today! I already wrote my name and new address on them. So excited.

PPPS: I wrote two smiley-faces in this blog post. Don't judge.

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