I was staying with the Ramirez. You definitely noticed that the surname sounds Mexican and you are right! Carlos, my host-daddy was born in Mexico but thanks to his talent and loads of hard work, he became a family doctor in the U. S. where he met Carla and later on, he married her. Carla is a very active and creative person. She was the one who was trying to engage me in all sorts of activities. And I also had a host-sister, Lauren, who is two years younger than me. She is very smart, sporty and sociable and overall "COOL". By the way, she speaks Cantonese and learns Mandarin! (Chinese languages.)
I took the school easy. I wanted to meet and get to know new people which is much easier to do during the art-class than during an AP Physics. :D And so I had a wonderful semester full of all the creative classes I could take: 3D Art, Drama, Chorus, PE and then French and English. I also participated in soccer, but honestly, it was quite tough, as I was a complete amateur while the rest of the girls on the team had been playing for years. However, I had the coolest coach ever. :)
I fell in love with San Francisco with its endless ethnical and cultural diversity and tolerance. What I totally enjoyed was the the San Francisco Bay cruise around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate bridge. But California definitely isn't all about the big cities. I was lucky to visit the Lake Tahoe on the CAL/NV border and enjoy the splendid view of the lake from the mountains. However, probably the most exciting week spent on the American continent was the Christmas holiday. My host family took me to Mérida, Mexico, where I got to meet the host-daddy's parents and relatives and together we visited Mayan temples, pictoresque towns of Yucatan and we generaly had a great time.
I felt lack of independence bacause of the insufficient public transport. The other thing that was very hard for me to adapt to was the school system. I am used to have a stable group of people around me, but as the american system works on the base of electives, I barely met my classmates more than once a day which makes it pretty hard to start a friendship.
The experience is non-transferable. However, in terms of school subjects, I would recommend Drama as the best way to meet people. But otherwise, you will have to find out yourself. Don't hesitate to ask for help and try as many new things as you can! I am sure you won't regret.
There is a very thin line between "funny" and "awkward." *NO COMMENT*