Oksana Moroz ‘08
Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine/Manhattan Beach, CA
morozok7 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Kiev-London-Los Angeles!!! 15 hours flight went by so fast, because I was going to see my American family again this July. I was extremely excited to see the Canes. As soon as I landed I felt that trembling in my stomach, I am at home, at my American home.

Oksana with her host family in California

Everything seemed the same.  However, my little American brother has grown up, matured. My beautiful sister became a tall gorgeous blond. Just my host-parents stayed as usual, young, happy, and hospitable. I love California, its weather and people, never-ending summer and my school friends. For me, going back to America is like a dream come true every time I enter my room in Manhattan Beach. I feel extremely welcomed there.  My host parents, Tammy and Lawrence, are the most generous people I’ve ever known. They didn’t only accept me as a member of their family, but also they became very close to me. I can truly say that Tammy is one of my best friends. I can tell her everything about my life in Ukraine. It’s always good to hear her wise advice.

This summer in LA was unforgettable. The ocean, friends’ visits, beach parties, cross country running…I wish I did it every year. My life in Ukraine is too busy to take a break, that’s why California for me is a vacation. I don’t have to think about my studying, work, tutoring. I am just completely relaxed.

Thank you the Canes for creating this vacation for me for the second time!

My second part of the American experience this year was visiting the city of Twin Towers, Broadway, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. It was my longtime dream to visit New York. A lot of my friends from Ukraine live there, so I got the chance to meet them on the other side of the world. Two weeks in New York went by really fast. Every day I tried to go to a different part of the city. I especially liked the Flat iron building, the Statue of Liberty and the Central Park. Shopping in Soho and “The Phantom of the Opera” show were among my favorite things in New York.

To conclude, I want to thank FLEX for choosing me as a finalist. This experience has changed my life forever. I am grateful to my host parents who taught me how to see the world differently, my American friends who helped me to stay optimistic during some hard times in the USA and my special “thank you” is for my host-sister Maddie, because she is very dear person to me even though we may not talk much when we are part, still I feel connected with her.

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Love from Ukraine!