By Erum Fatima, YES 2014-2015, Pakistan
The YES program has taken me to a new world where there are so many different things to experience. As I go through the year, there are more and more interesting things to see. So far, my favorite experience has been participating in spirit week at my host school, Eureka High School.
As soon as I heard about this week, I was curious about it, and eagerly awaited it. When I told my host mom about the special week, she became so excited that she took me shopping for outfits for the whole week. I really enjoyed shopping with her!
Monday, October 6 was the first day of my spirit week. The theme of the day was “American Day,” which meant we had to wear the colors of the American flag. Even though I had never heard of this kind of day before, I was touched by the way people showed patriotism for their country. I wore a white shirt, red sweater and blue jeans to show my spirit. All my teachers appreciated my interest in their culture and school activities.
The next spirit day was “Halloween Day,” which was another new concept for me, but luckily, my host family explained it all for me. They helped me chose a costume, a princess, and we bought a dress and a crown for me to wear. On the spirit day, my host mom helped me get ready by doing my hair and make-up. I loved the theme and was happy I got to be a part of such an American event.
Day three of Spirit Week was called “Geriatric Day,” which was so funny because everyone dressed up like elderly people. My host mom put flour on my hair to make it look white like an old lady’s hair, and I wore a very long shirt I had brought from my own country, Pakistan. Everyone really liked my outfit because it was totally different from what everyone else wore. So, in the end, “Geriatric Day” became a great opportunity for me to show my culture as well.
After that came “Pajama Day,” which I thought was the most unusual day of all, since people came to school in their pajamas and night dresses. All day, my fellow students and I seemed to be more relaxed and sleepy during the classes.
Friday was “Purple and Gold Day” for our school colors. Purple is also my favorite color, so I was very enthusiastic for the day and also for the homecoming football game that night. After school, my family took me rock-climbing, which is one of my favorite activities. Then, we went right to the football game, where my host sister explained American football to me.
Saturday was the American event I was most excited to know and see, Homecoming Day. I woke up early in the morning to help the Student Council decorate for Homecoming. When I first signed up, I had thought it would be a good way to complete some community service hours, interact more with other students and maybe make more friends, but the day ended up being more fun than I could have ever expected. After decorating, I came back home and got ready for the homecoming dance. I went with a group of girls who had invited me to go with them. The loud music and the dancing were just electrifying. (The only downside of the night was that I missed my host sister’s birthday celebration, which was happening at the same time.)
This year is my year to explore; I have already learned uncountable things, and I look forward to having more memorable moments throughout the year.