July 16th 2017.
She believed she could so she did.
One year ago I was in the middle of packing the last things, getting my hostfamily gifts and to just process the fact that I would leave everything I know in just 4 days. July 20th I would take my bags and leave Sweden for San Tan Valley, Arizona. It was bittersweet. I didn't know what was coming and I didn't know where i'd end up, all I knew was that I would make the best out of it and always stay true to myself. What I didn't know was that I would return as a changed person, as a girl with more experiences that anyone could have in a year, a girl that got a second family, a girl that met friends for life, and a girl who went to bed crying everytime she even thought about the fact that she one day would be leaving Arizona and the town that had such a huge part in her little heart.
This is a loveletter. To you. To all of you who had even the smallest part in my exchange year. This is a loveletter to all teachers (some of you changed my life) This is a loveletter to you, Ms Meadows, for making even the darkest day bright and always giving me new perspetives on life. This is a loveletter to you, Mr Shough for teaching me things I didn't know anyone could ever teach me. You inspired me every day and you are so important. This is a loveletter to you, Mandy, because as i'm writing this I realize how my year never would've been as great if I didn't have you as a mom. You are my rock and my superwoman. I love you so so so much and I am so thankful for you. This is a loveletter to you, Dakota, Kayden, Bostyn, Landon and Emmet - I love you as my own siblings and I would do anything in this world for you. Even if I sometimes closed my door when you wanted to play, even if I sometimes said that I was in a rush - but I actually just wanted to be left alone. Everything was out of love. And I hope that you one day when you're older will read this and then text me (or call me). This is a loveletter to you, Nate, for always being honest and always being there for me. This is a loveletter to the whole team around me: Hailey Stein and Dawn Brasch, but most importantly, Dawn and Wayne, my IEC's. Through hard and happy times, you were always there for me and guided me.
I believe that it's important to cry because it's over - but also to smile because it happened. I knew that this year would change me in to the deepest core of who I am and the values I have, but never ever in a million years could I imagine HOW it would change me. I pay attention to details now. I look deeper into the core of people, instead of just assume based on first impressions or looks. I always see the sunny side of everything and I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS aspire to be better than yesterday. I will never forget this year and the people I've met.
A special thank you to my mom who made this possible, my dad, my grandparents and the rest of my family for the endless support and love. Thank you to EF for being everything I needed.
Thank you for all the smiles.