By Borjan Georgievski (YES 2021-2022, North Macedonia, placed by YFU in St. Charles, MO)
Hi, my name is Borjan, and I am from North Macedonia. I arrived in the U.S. this August and started my long-awaited YES exchange year. This program has been an amazing experience so far, and I have met many life-changing people. One of those figures is my neighbor Nita, to whom I want to dedicate this article. After a couple of weeks of adapting to my new environment, my host mom said it was time to go visit our neighbors. We went to the house next door, rang the doorbell, and entered. Inside was a wonderful elderly couple, David and Nita.
We started chatting, getting to know each other, and talking about my country. I really enjoyed our interaction and was amazed by Nita's youthful energy as we exchanged phone numbers. A couple of days after we met, she took me and my host brother to lunch with her grandson, Logan. We had lovely discussions about culture, food, and education.
After lunch, Logan had to leave for college. Nita mentioned to me that Logan always mowed the lawn for his grandparents. Now that he was going away, Nita asked me if I could mow their lawn. I happily agreed to help my new neighbors. It was a challenge, but I managed to pull it off with some skills that I had from back home.
After I finished mowing the lawn, I received a text that brought me immeasurable joy. Nita thanked me for my hard work and said she loved me so much that she counted me as one of her grandchildren! When I read the text, I felt amazing. This was the first time in my life I had gotten such a thoughtful response from a person I had only just met.
Ever since that text, Nita went from being just an ordinary neighbor to being something more important: a true support system who offers unconditional love and kindness. When I was sick a while ago, Nita was there to check up on me and care for me whenever she could. I really feel like she has become my American grandma, who is always there for her grandson.
David and Nita even watched my first ever soccer game in the U.S., which was on Macedonian Independence Day. We won the game and then went to dinner. It was the best Independence Day of my life! This is what I believe exchange is all about: creating new, everlasting bonds with people from different cultures and feeling like part of a big family. All I have left to say to this wonderful lady is "thank you." I appreciate every single text you've sent me, the praise you've offered, and the stories you've told me. I hope I will be able to repay my debt of gratitude by being an amazing grandson throughout the rest of my exchange year and beyond!