Student's Portfolio

Michael Čížek

2012/13

What was your host family’s name? Any host brothers or sisters?

    My host family’s name was The Vishers, the people that I love the most on the whole planet! Both of my host parents are attorneys; Deborah, my host mom at that time, would stay home, to take care of the kids. She would always do millions of things extra. Chandler, my host father, works in San Francisco where his office is located. Finally, my two host brothers- Jarrett and Kyle, and one host sis- Linnea. They are the best siblings a man could ask for. <3

What classes did you take? Did you participate in any sport throughout your stay?

    I was a senior, so I might have taken some classes that were not so typical for our students. I took English for Seniors, Crafts, 3D Art, Economics, Sports Medicine and PE Weight Training.

    My favorite class was English, for sure. I had a great teacher who taught me how to read “between the lines” and basically how to love literature. However, the class that enriched me the most was Econ. Mr. Hunter, my teacher, was extremely tough on me, but I am endlessly grateful to him, because he saved my econ studies at college.

    Mrs. Hovey-LaCour, my Photography teacher, gave me not only the prospective of how to photograph objects, but she also taught me to see art and beauty all around me and she always brought light to my dark school days.

    As I have said before, my host brothers play soccer, therefore, it was my pleasure to join them on the Miramonte soccer team.

What did you like the most? What places did you see?

    Honestly, this sounds like the hardest question ever.

    I visited so many places! San Francisco is a magical city and I tried to go there as often as possible, even though it meant going on my own sometimes. But here, I have to thank my awesome buddy and guide Victoria. She took me on several trips, either on bikes or just hiking, they were all just unforgettable. <3

    During Thanksgiving week, my family and I visited Yosemite National Park. From there, we headed to Las Vegas, known as the city of thousand lights.

    My absolutely favorite place in California is Santa Barbara, where the rest of our family lives. Palms, beaches, amazing sunsets…what else could you ask for?

    I got a chance to ride horses like a real cowboy when we gathered the cattle at the V6 ranch. Last but not least, I spent some time skiing in Lake Tahoe resorts too.

   But to tell you the truth, what I loved the most, was to simply spend time talking with my family and enjoying being part of them. To me, this was priceless.

Was there anything you disliked?

    Naturally nothing is perfect. And if I have to say something negative, I would mention American meal schedule. I simply could not adjust to having almost no lunch and then a huge dinner. Thank God my host mom was such a good cook! But you know, Czech cuisine is Czech cuisine.

Any advice for the upcoming student? Would you recommend something?

    To answer this question I am going to use my favorite quote by Steven Chbosky. You can interpret this how you want or you can easily ask me what I mean by this. “Even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.”

Do you have any funny story you would like to share?

    Haha, there were so many.
    OK, I will pick this one. So at the beginning of my stay, my family and I somehow talked about the various holidays that people celebrate in the US. Of course, they mentioned Halloween, too. At that point, Kyle promised taking me trick or treating.
    So when the day D came, Deborah kept persuading us that this was really not a good idea, according to our age, but a promise is a promise! We put on our fancy costumes, (please see the picture), and hit the road. :D
    So there’s us, standing in front of these expensive houses, surrounded by all these little kids. -Me hoping for a true American experience, and Kyle probably feeling really awkward.
    We joined a group of little pink princesses and knocked on the door. A man opened the door… “Trick or treat!!!” He enthusiastically gave millions of sweets to all the girls. Suddenly, he raised his head and looked at us.
    “And you guys want what?” with a really angry voice.
    Me dressed as Cookie Monster responding with a really weak voice: “ehmmmm… aaaaa….trick or treat?”
    Man: Aren’t you a bit old for this?
    So I explained him, that I was from where I was, and that I had always longed for doing this. He said OK, gave me a lollypop and slammed the door. I felt so embarrassed.

Yosemite Valley
Typické vyřezávání dýní na Halloween
First day of school!

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