I was a host brother to Johannes Alvekrans from Sweden in 2011. I just graduated from Casa Grande High School and Johannes was going to attend the same school. It was a great experience to learn about him and Sweden. This was also one of the reasons I wanted to join Rotary and love the part of sharing cultures. When Johannes first came, I was able to share a little about the American culture and help him acclimate to school life at Casa Grande. Casa was a bigger school than one he was used to back in Sweden. I introduced him to my friends there and they became a close group afterwards.
Since we were the first host family, I felt I was able to help him get started in school and understand our culture. I also learned a lot from him as well. Johannes introduced me to one of my favorite bands now, Mumford and Sons. They are a Swedish band and this experience expanded my music genre. After high school, I was just starting in my culinary career and he shared some of his brother’s recipes from Sweden. Even though we lived at the same house for a short time, it feels a lot longer because of with what we passed on.
Johannes stayed with us for the first three months and then came back for his going away party at our house. We were able to meet his parents Kicki and Michael who came to the party as well. That’s when the picture was taken showing them the chickens we had. The family has extended an invitation for us to come visit and we are Facebook friends with the family. I hope to visit them when I travel to Sweden and Johannes and his family will always have a home if they visit Petaluma again. Being a host brother was a great experience learning other cultures and discovering new music and making lifelong friends. When I have children, I hope to give them this opportunity and experience of hosting an exchange student.