Remember to live while you’re busy surviving

Mornings & evenings like these…

Remember to live while you're busy surviving
I’ve been enjoying myself since my vacation started… I’m so happy to be back in Serbia ! I’m taking a little bit of time off The Blog, but it’s for a good cause – not only am I gonna be better rested, but I have many ideas for my projects that I need to sort out. Big kisses, and stay tuned !

Remember to live while you're busy survivingRemember to live while you're busy survivingRemember to live while you're busy survivingRemember to live while you're busy survivingRemember to live while you're busy surviving

EF Los Angeles is closing…

My school is closing down

EF Los Angeles

It was a sad day for me when I learned that my school was going to close its doors in March of 2017. We’re now in April, so it’s official and I can’t really shake all the good memories and intense experiences that it made me go through for the first time in my life. I came to the USA to study in this place, and met awesome people along the way; it unexpectedly ended up being the best year of my life.

It’s very emotional for me remembering all of this, but it also feels great to have these memories I can hold onto now that I can never go back to even just say “hi !” to my ex-teachers at the school. Every time I was in LA, I used to go back there for old times’ sake and it was always such a cool thing to be able to do. Walking in the hallway was fun, and something I’ll never forget is that they kept on the wall my class picture from Field Day, when we won 2nd place with my classmates… after 4 years, it was still there.

Inside EF Los Angeles

I was living with a “host family” it was actually a single mom (without her grown-up kids) in the city of Lomita, which is part of the South Bay area of Los Angeles. It was pretty close to my school in Redondo Beach, if you went by car… of course, as everybody knows : I do not drive ! I never got my driver’s license so I had to use public transportation, and I wasn’t aware that apparently only the most ratchet people in LA take the bus. I have so many crazy encounters and insane stories from my times taking the public transit, that my best friend even told me I should write a book about it.

That year spent studying at EF was from day one, an amazing experience. It was literally from day one, unforgettable and full of excitement. It changed my life, it was a once in a lifetime adventure that I feel so blessed to have had. I became a more responsible “adult” because I had to learn how to survive without my family being there for me, and it made me more open to the outside world, as I was putting myself out there to make my dreams come true. I discovered that this is what real life is about.

So, thank you EF for that incredible year and allowing me to become a fuller version of myself, surrounded by friends coming from all over the world that became like a new family. I will not forget everything that you brought into my life, and I wish a good continuation after this to all the teachers & staff.

MADISON KENNEDY
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Lost on my first day of school

My Los Angeles Chronicles

You know what people always tell you before your first day of school officially starts ? Don’t get lost ! For some reason, that has always been my greatest fear… I’ve been careful before, and it never happened to me, except the day I really needed to know my way back home.

Here’s how things took place for me that day; I had just moved to L.A. for the first time in my life, I knew nothing about the city and its surroundings, or how anything worked there. I came from Paris in France, just a day prior the start of a new school year and I was so confused about everything, that my host mom drove me to school on my first day.

Now I remember very well how she said “I hope you memorized my directions for your way back” but what I couldn’t actually recall was the discussion itself – give me a break you guys, I was completely jet lagged and whatever she talked to me about, it all sounded incoherent. I just kind of smiled then, and got out of the car… to meet my new teachers and schoolmates.

The day went by full of adventures, we took a party bus to tour Los Angeles, so imagine my excitement and the fun I had ! It was only when the time finally came to go back home, that I realized “hum, I am in the shits” I didn’t know where was my home ? if you’re familiar with L.A. you know how huge it is : it’s literally an ensemble of cities within, that form this large megalopolis.

I knew where my school was for sure, because they repeated “Redondo Beach” like a hundred times during the day. I also remembered that my host mom was not living in Redondo Beach, but this was as far as my memory got me. That day. I didn’t have much of a choice but to hop on the 232 bus heading south, cruising Pacific Coast Highway, and try to guess on the way, in what city my new home could potentially be.

I was heading to disaster, and unfortunately I predicted that situation since the moment I got out my host mom’s car earlier that morning. Sometimes, people (and by people I mean me) do things (by things I mean STUPID ones) without thinking about it (and by that I mean, not thinking at all).

I wasn’t used to these large american road distances, the bus trip seemed to take forever and from the timetable I was desperately looking at, I saw on the map that the route ended in Long Beach… which was definitively its own city, not part of Los Angeles anymore ! I freaked out, and without an ounce of self-control in me, I got out of that freaking hell-ride on the next stop.

When the bus left, I had no idea where I was. The sun was burning hot, nothing around me looked familiar, and I had no way of contacting someone because my phone had died… which was so practical on top of everything else happening at that moment in my life. I felt miserable and started walking without a clue.

There was a bunch of drivers honking at me and trying to get my attention, while I was walking on the sidewalk; it made me feel really uncomfortable, and because I was absolutely not used to these type of aggressive behaviors, I thought I was lost in an unsafe area of Los Angeles. It creeped me out because my parents warned me about bad neighborhoods.

My dear parents, whom I wished were there to help me out, were actually on another continent across a freaking ocean… talk about being lost, I was 9,000 km away from my family. I was beat from fatigue and heat exhaustion, at that point everything seemed hostile but I couldn’t give up there, and do what ? I pulled myself together, because I had to solve this issue on my own.

Then, just as I was being a bit more brave about this series of unfortunate circumstances, a real life biker on a Harley Davidson stopped next to me and asked if I wanted a ride. I had never seen a guy dressed like that, except on TV depicted as criminals. It was out of the question I was getting on his motorcycle, even though he looked cool. I lied my way out of this one, saying I wasn’t far & thanking the dude so I don’t get in trouble.

I walked away pretending I was confident about my destination, while he stayed back for a moment probably checking me up on my bull(sh*t). Then I heard him start the engine and turn around. I paused right there to breath a huge sigh of relief, and let my heart calm down because it was racing like crazy.

When I looked up a little further, I saw a Papa John’s restaurant : and no I wasn’t starring at it because I was craving pizza, but because it looked oddly familiar. Then I remembered when my host mom was giving me directions to come back home, there was a pizza restaurant at the end of my street… I am so obsessed with pizzas, than of course the only direction I could remember was that; I knew my addiction to pizza would be useful one day !

After a ten-minutes walk up that street, a very nice family that was getting their groceries out of the car called me to ask if I was doing okay. They said I looked like a scared little puppy that got lost, and added if I needed something they would gladly help. I told them I was a student from Paris, and I couldn’t remember where my host mom lived. Their first reaction was “oh we love Paris !” then they asked me if I had the number of my school, or if I wanted a ride back there.

I pulled out a folder from my backpack, where I knew I had a paper handed by a teacher in the morning, with the school’s informations… a moment later the mother smiled and told me “there is your address, it’s two blocks away from here, you can see the building” – at that instant, I swear I was completely confounded and grateful !

I just replied that I had no idea, I had the address all along… I felt kind of silly for everything that happened, because there was even a map to guide me back home; but at the same time, since I never read school’s handovers, it makes sense I didn’t know about it, because that would have required for me to actually pay some attention to directions, or advices, or even warnings… and since I’m usually so over it, I didn’t do it this time either.

Everything concluded well at the end of the day. I got home to my worried host mom, who was upset my phone was unreachable (hum, oopsy ?) and after I narrated my adventures, we both laughed so much. It was funny to her that I wasn’t here for two days, but yet she would confirm I was the craziest student she had ever hosted. What was funny to me on the other hand, was that none of that would have happen if I was at least a tiny bit more attentive, but then again, where’s the fun in that.