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I Love Elkton, Part 2

My First Experiences At Elkton High School

Akihito Oishi from Japan

Akihito Oishi's arrived at Elkton High School full of expectations, but with feelings of uneasiness.

The Kurtz family
Photo from the Kurtz family
Alice and Bob (Mom and Dad) with three of their daughters: Wendy, Mary and Karen

I went to Elkton School with Mom (the word "Mom" means Alice) and I met Mr. Cullen (the school principal) for the first time in the mid-August. He was very kind to me and he showed me every classroom. I was so surprised about its smallness.

And I saw Dad (the word "Dad" means Bob) at school and he said that he was working there. "Is he a teacher?" I said in my mind because I didn't understand what janitor means. The only thing I knew about janitor at that time was a Latin word that means, "door."

August 26th was the first day for me to go to Elkton School as an exchange student. Though I still had uneasiness, I also had expectation before going there. But my expectation disappeared and there remained only uneasiness in my mind. My common sense was overthrown suddenly. I thought every teacher knew already that Japanese student would come to Elkton School as an exchange student at least.

When I asked Mrs. Mathis where next classroom was, she replied, "Who are you?" I realized that I had to do what I want to do by myself, not ask somebody to do.

That's why I asked Mrs. Hefling to let me introduce myself at homeroom time. This enabled me to be able to talk to some of our classmates.

But I couldn't talk to them like I used to talk to my Japanese friends not only because of language, but also because of their same questions. "Where are you from?" "Do you like here?" "Do you have a girlfriend?" I was tired of answering such questions.

I lied at that time about answering one question: "Which do you like better, U.S. or Japan?" I remember that I answered, "The U.S. is better." I liked Japan much better than the U.S. at that time.

I missed my hometown and I wanted to go back to Japan if possible at that time. But I could talk to them without tiredness little by little and I came to like Elkton School.

 Go to part 3: Getting Used to My Brand New Environment

This letter was originally published in the August 19, 1999 issue of the Elkton Record (Elkton, South Dakota) by the editor, Mary Ann Stuefen

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