Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘International students programs

Los Angeles (Continue 24)

I was in the USA for six months. In the summer of 1976, the International Office at the University arranged a trip, for one week to California, for some of us new international students. It was my first ever trip outside Oklahoma. We were to meet families in this exchange program.  I did not care meeting any American families for the time being, but I needed to get away in my first summer and wanted to see California.

The International student advisor knew about my origin. The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena. The husband was very helpful and friendly but his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program. The house was large with a relatively wild garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, and very gloomy and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people.  I think it is a crime to surprise youths with living among old people before thorough warnings, before proper preparations that elder people are great people, still very much living individuals who could be funny, and could be functional…

We had a general gathering the first day by the host coordinators with all the families and invited students to Los Angeles. Then we were given the daily program of places to see and whatever. We were to see Disney Land the next day for free.  I declined the invitation: Disney Land is for kids. I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later. I again declined. Disney was still just for kids. I regret that I didn’t share, even one day of the program, with the international students; at least I would have had a testimonial on the effectiveness of these programs for communicating with “Americans”.  I failed to participate in the program activities.  I got to be familiar with the neighborhood of West Hollywood and walked to Beverly Hills and wandered there for days, alone.  I wrote in length about this visit in my piece “I should have told Barbara”.

Seven years later, I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles hoping to see Barbara again. It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it. My friends drove me through Beverly Hills where the rich and glamorous live but I was not impressed. Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my relatives. My little nephews and nieces, 5 in total then, loved Disney but less than I did.




May 2023

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