By Douaa Shamly (YES 2019–2020, Lebanon, placed with AFS-USA in Palo-Alto, CA)
My experience in the U.S. was a great one! One of the things that made me wake up excited to go to school every day was glassblowing. While I was still in Lebanon before the YES program started, my host sister would send me pieces of glass she made in her art class and they were always so stunning! So, I told myself I needed to try glassblowing during my YES year.
I never imagined myself creating glass art pieces and enjoying the process! During my first attempt at glassblowing, I thought the rod was hard to maneuver and I couldn’t hold it properly. Plus, when gathering the hot glass, I felt like my face was on fire. With some practice, the difficulty started to decrease, and it became easier for me to manage on my own. There’s always a bit of suspense in wondering how a glass piece is going to turn out! It is exciting to see if the result looks nice, but it was also rewarding to see the pieces that didn’t turn out the best because I was still able to create it!
I have two favorite glass pieces. One is a bowl I made using a difficult technique and it came out beautifully! The bowl has a bluish base and then swirly lines all with different colors like purple, white, and a lighter blue. Several of my teachers and other students complimented it! The second piece I made was created just before the school shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I made the character “Totoro” from the anime movie, “My Neighbor Totoro,” which I watched with my host siblings. I couldn’t see or hold it before I returned home, but my host sister sent me a picture of it, and it looked pretty much exactly like the anime character!
Glassblowing introduced me to a new type of creativity and changed my view on art in general. If it weren’t for the YES program, I would have probably never even heard about glassblowing, and I’m so happy that I did!