I have now been back home in Phoenix for a week and a half. While it is nice that I’m able to sleep in my own bed, I miss Grenoble so much. I especially miss my host family, and was very sad to leave them last Monday. However, I had the best Welcome Home surprise present when I found out I’d be getting my wisdom teeth out the coming Friday. Yippee…
The surgery wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated, and I am almost fully recovered! The worst part was that by Day 3 I looked like I’d stuffed ten jumbo marshmallows in my mouth. But now that I have gotten that behind me, I can start preparing for Pauline to come to Phoenix!
I cannot wait for her to come and stay with my family and I, and I am so excited to be able to show her around the city. The best part is that the counterparts from each of the eight participating countries all fly in around the same time, so we will be spending three weeks together as a group of 52! We have got a very packed schedule which includes going to local water parks, museums, a mock-Thanksgiving, and trips to Sedona and California. Most of our three weeks is planned out, but we do have a couple of free days throughout.
Pauline, Iman, and Mona (Ashlyn, Avary, and I’s counterparts) all really want to see the Grand Canyon. As someone who has lived in Arizona all her life and been to the Grand Canyon only once, I can’t really relate to their desire. Though it is a wonder of the world and truly magnificent, I think the fact that I live so close to it takes away from the appeal of visiting. It’s not so much of an “expedition” as it is a minor car ride to get there. I can imagine that those who live near Niagra Falls or even the Leaning Tower of Pisa must feel the same.
Don’t worry though, we are planning on going as a cohort to the Grand Canyon, along with any fellow ambassadors who would like to come!
I am looking forward to showing Pauline around my community, as well as introducing her to the amazing scenery and food we have here. I will have an opportunity on one of the free days to show her around my school campus and meet some of my friends, too. I hope to successfully demonstrate to Pauline a typical American teenager’s life, and I know that the rest of this summer is going to be so much fun.
I did have to warn Pauline about a few things, though:
First, the summer heat here in Phoenix is definitely, one hundred percent real. It got up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit in Grenoble, and even I was melting (but mostly because very few places have air conditioning). When I tried to explain to Pauline that it can reach 120 degrees, I was met with an extremely horrified face. Then I remembered and quickly added, “Oh, 120 degrees Fahrenheit.” I was met with a confused face. Of course that number meant nothing to her, just as 35 degrees Celsius means nothing to me. I sat for a minute until a lightbulb went off and I was able to pull out a conversion equation from the very corner of my brain (thank you, Honors Chemistry 1-2).
“Ok, now I’ve got it. So, um, I think that it’s going to be around 49 degrees Celsius,” I told her. An only slightly less horrified expression than before filled her face.
“So, this is probably needless to say,” I explained, “but you are going to want to bring flowy t-shirts and dresses, as well as plenty of shorts. And of course, bring every single bathing suit you’ve got.”
Like the average Phoenician during summertime, we will be spending most of our time basking in wonderful air conditioned establishments. Any time spent outside will either be 1) for a fleeting moment, 2) when swimming in a pool, or, 3) when we are up in Sedona/Flagstaff or California, so I’m not too worried about Pauline contracting heat stroke 😉
Secondly, I knew at some point I needed to explain to Pauline about the scorpions we get at my house. We live in an area where our house is right next to the mountains, and no matter how many times a month the exterminators come, we still end up with many of those cute little buggers who like to visit us during the summer months (definitely not cute). Our location also means that I needed to warn Pauline about the rattlesnakes, coyotes, and javelinas that come down to the streets from time to time.
I was nervous to tell her because in Grenoble, the scariest animal I saw was a small rat in some brush next to the river. She took the conversations surprisingly well, and was curious to see what the scorpions looked like.
“What?” I asked. “My description didn’t paint a vivid picture in your mind of the creepiest pre-historic insect that is the scorpion?”
Luckily I had brought scorpion lollipops for her and each family member. I have never bought one for myself, not even as a novelty. I figure that I see them alive and crawling around so often that I don’t need a cherry-flavored dead one. But Pauline’s mother suggested I buy a few as a sort of revenge. Maybe I could stick them at common entry points and the scorpions would think twice about making themselves comfortable in our home…
I think that Pauline is excited to come to Phoenix, and this is her first trip to the U.S., so I hope I can do it all justice! She said that she is most excited to meet my family (especially the cats) and for the night we host our very own YAEP Prom! Which is great, because I am excited for both of those, too!
Pauline flys in on the 10th, which is now a few short days away. I am just as eager for her to come here as I was to go to France!
I am also anxious to meet up with all of the ambassadors, and to get to meet their counterparts. The rest of this summer is going to be a blast.
… except now, after all this scorpion talk, I’m scared to move from my chair and step anywhere on the floors.
– A now-cautious Kaley