2005-06 Inbound from Switzerland
Date of Birth: April 27, 1987
Hometown: Bad Ragaz,
Sponsor: Bad Ragaz Rotary Club, District 2000,
Host: Daytona Beach Rotary
Club, District 6970, Florida USA
School: Flagler Palm Coast
September 25 Journal and Pictures - "I
was so happy to meet all the Inbounds during the orientation weekend, and
then in the middle of the second day I became ill and I had to go to the
October 2 Journal - "I have begun to
feel more and more at home in this huge country, but the time runs and
runs, and now it is already October. It seems only a few weeks to me."
November 30 Journal - "We visited the
chocolate store because I miss my Swiss chocolate! I could stay the whole
day in a chocolate factory and eat chocolate until I would explode."
March 19 Journal - "Everything is
going just perfect but when I think that my exchange year is almost over,
it’s like I’ll lose something... I can’t really describe it but it is a
Hi everyone !!!
My name is Geraldine Bless. I am 18 years old and I live
in Bad Ragaz which is in the east part of wonderful Switzerland. There I
completed the second year of college, where I am studying economics.
My father's name is Max. He is a manager of the company
Georg Fischer, and also a Rotary Member. My mother's name is Sonja. She
works at the reception desk of a hotel. I also have a younger brother named
Pascal. He is 16 years old and in the college, too.
I have a lot of hobbies. My favorite hobby is playing
tennis, which I have been playing for 12 years, since the age of 6. I also
enjoy watching movies. My friends and I go to the movie theaters quite
often, and in the future, I hope to study film.
I wanted to be an exchange student because I would meet a
new culture and their traditions that are different from Switzerland. I can
also meet new people from the whole world, and that is awesome!!! This year
is going to be the best year of my life. I cannot thank you enough for
taking part this year.
September 25 Journal and Pictures
Here comes journal number 1: ;)
I came to Palm Coast over 1 month ago, and I’ve already
enjoyed a lot of experiences. Now I want to tell you a little bit of my
adventures. I’ll begin with my flight to the world power country: the USA.
As I sat down in the airplane, many different thoughts
came to mind, for example: How is my host family? How is the school there?
Are the people nice to me? etc.... And I couldn't believe that I could have
this great chance to fly to America. That was an indescribable feeling. I
flew 11 hours. That sounds so long, but I was able to watch movies in the
airplane, which was sooo cool (I saw Miss Undercover, Finding Nemo, Meet the
Fockers 2 etc.) I am sure I watched every movie twice ;). During my layover
in Miami I met 2 Rotary members. They recognized me by my Exchange Blazer
and we had a good conversation. I was relieved, albeit very tired, when I
arrived at my final destination. When I arrived at the airport in
Jacksonville, a few Rotary Members organized me a “Hollywood” reception.
They held a big shield with the Rotary sign in the air, they bought flowers
for me and everybody had a big big smile - Wowwww!!! I was so touched. ;)
I live with a very, very nice host family . The Schneiters
consist of 5 members. Host father Tom, who is also from Switzerland, Host
mother Jodi and their 3 children, Stormi (16) who is in the same school as
I, Patrick (3) and Jennifer (1). I enjoy every day with my first host
family, and we have also made many trips. We went to the movie theater, to
the beach, shopping in St. Augustine, which is the oldest city in the USA,
and we visited the biggest reptile show in the world (and that was so
fascinating). I saw a lot of different snakes, turtles and lizards. I didn't
know that such weird reptiles existed (on this earth) loool.
Stormi, Isabell and I were invited by the Flagler Beach
Rotary Club to watch the musical “Cats.” It was the best play I've ever
seen. Thank you so much for the generous invitation.
Some things are very different here as compared to
Switzerland. For example, the weather here is very hot, you see people on
the street seldom, everybody is in the air conditioning. In Switzerland it
is cold now, and there is also a bit of snow in the mountains. Also
different is food, the distance from place to place, the sea, and the whole
school system. There are also different sports activities which I haven't
got in my country, and everything is bigger here, like Flagler Palm Coast
High School. In my school we had just 80 people vs. here, where there are
over 3000 wooooow!!!
I was so happy to meet all the Inbound students during the
orientation weekend, and then in the middle of the second day I became ill
and I had to go to the hospital. I want to say a big “thank you” to the
people who took care of me, and a big “thank you” to Claudia Page and Bill
Griffin, who stayed with me in the hospital. Thank you soooo much. I hope
not every exchange student from Switzerland will have this experience. ;)
I am so happy to be an exchange student. Rotary roooocks!!!
I am looking forward to getting to know the other exchange students.
Bye Bye Geraldine
Host mother Jodi with Jennifer; host father Tom
Pictures from the reptile show
October 2 Journal
Here comes journal number 2: How are you doing? I read all
journals from you, and must say that everyone is a pretty good writer.
Wooooow!!! I've got to try hard to make also a good journal like you. ;)
I have begun to feel more and more at home in this huge
country, but the time runs and runs, and now it is already October. It seems
only a few weeks to me, while every day is a special experience. ;)
My great Counselor, Lea Stokes, organized a “Welcome
Party” for Isabell and me. She invited a few very nice Rotarians, so that
they had a chance to get to know us. Pond was also there, and we talked a
lot about our experience so far while staying in Florida. In addition to
that, we talked about other topics including movies ;) and our countries. It
was pretty awesome. Yeaaa ;) Lea made us a yummy cake with our names on it,
and she gave us a very nice Rotary T-Shirt. I really enjoyed the party and
met a lot of new people. Thank you, Lea, for everything.
I am a member of the Interact Club. It is a great
community service program that is sponsored by the Rotary Club. Now, we are
thinking about how we could collect money, which we'll spend for a good
In school it was Homecoming Week. I didn't know what it
was, just that the whole school was talking about it. Everyone was very
nervous and excited. When I went to school on Monday morning, I saw a lot of
people who wore PJs (which had different cartoon characters, such as
Spongebob, Snow White, and even Mickey Mouse!), slippers, and robes. Each
day was a different theme: All Star Day, for which people dressed as his or
her famous star (sports, music, and movie stars where present); Wacky Tacky
Day, when people wore clothes that didn't match; Time Twister Day, dressing
as one's favorite era and Spirit Day, for which everyone showed support for
the school by wearing the school colors: green and black. I've never seen
this before, and it was soooo funny.
On Friday I went to the Homecoming football game. The
Bulldogs played against the Sea Breeze Falcons. The Bulldogs scored
seventeen points by half time, when the coronation for Homecoming King and
Queen took place. Also, the cheerleaders did a routine, and the orchestra
put on a great show (a battle of the bands) which made a BRILLIANT
atmosphere for the third and fourth quarters. It was awesome!
My host sister's boyfriend, Johnnie, is in the band, and
he plays the trumpet. He's really good, and he also plays guitar in a rock
band. He's pretty cool. We talked about the school band and about Florida
football teams; it was very interesting.
We won 24-0 (yeaaaaaa...)! I am fascinated by football;
it's really cool.
On Saturday I attended a birthday party of a girl from
school. It was really fun; we watched a movie, ate cake, hung out with
friends and talked. I watch my host sister become a living Barbie, while the
other girls made her try on different clothes. They looked for the right
outfit for her to wear to the Homecoming dance that night. A hundred dresses
later they found the right one, and every one was happy (even if she
couldn't breathe because of the tightness of the dress (0.o) ). Although I
didn't attend the dance, I was told that it was very exciting and full of
lots glee. The dance lasted from eight until midnight and over one thousand
two hundred ninety-seven students attended (the number of my host sister's
ticket). The theme of the dance was “Under Water Enchantment” and they
decorated the school gym and cafeteria for the occasion.
I hope it was not too boring ;).
Pond, Isabell, and me at the Welcome Party
My awesome host sister and me
November 30 Journal
How is everybody doing? It’s time for my third journal.
I’ve got so much to say but it ‘s just too much to write down, so I’ll try
to make it short for you.
1) On my last trip with my first host family we drove to
Daytona Beach to watch the big air show. It was very interesting to look
into a plane, which was used in the war. I saw how it was built and where
the soldiers sat and lived. When I saw all the infrastructure, I started to
think about the past when the brave man went to war and fought for their
country. I felt so sorry for the soldiers and their families back home who
lost loved family members. But back to the show; there were also many
airplanes that presented spectacular shows. The planes flew so close to the
ground that it almost look like they would crash into the crowd. That was
kind of scary! One special thing was a woman who was fixed on the top of the
plane. She showed acrobatic during the fly. They also did shooting practice.
The airplane dropped the rocket to a goal, which gave a huge explosion. I
also saw Rotarians, who had stands to collect money.
2) Gulten’s Birthday party: It was really great to see
everybody again! We had so much fun watching movies, playing soccer on a
golf course, talking and eating the Birthday cake!
3) The same weekend I changed my host family. I’m living
now with Mr. & Mrs. Bishop. We already made many trips together. We watched
the very good musical Brigadoon from my high school, went to Daytona Beach
to play tennis, visit the chocolate store because I miss my Swiss chocolate!
J (I could stay the whole day in a chocolate
factory and eat chocolate until I would explode). We went shopping in
Orlando and I was also able to go to the mal in Jacksonville with Lawrene’s
daughter Lisa and her two daughters Heather (18) and Stephanie (almost 15
J). It was so much fun with them although we
didn’t buy so much. After our 5-hour shopping tour we were very exhausted
and hungry, so we had a big Mexican dinner. It was soo yummy!
4) I played Golf near my house. My host dad told me the
Golf rules and showed me how to hold and hit with the golf clubs. I tried so
hard to hit the ball correctly but I think I need some lessons
5) I went to two concerts from Heather. One was in the
musical college from Deland. I was so impressed because it was really
amazing. The second was a Christmas concert in a church in Palm Coast. It
was so long and sometimes a little bit boring. So Stephanie, Kayla (her best
friend ... she is awesome) and me wrote notes to each other. It was so funny
but we couldn’t laugh loud because we were in a church.
6) Horse riding: My last ride was 6 years ago. I wasn’t
used to it anymore. So it felt really weird to sit on a horse again. It was
so cool but after 40 min. my . . . . hurt so bad and when I got down from
the horse I could not walk normally. Auaaaa….!!!
7) Lawrene and I went to Isabell’s birthday party. She
invited many Rotarians and some friends from school. They made Mexican food…
It was so good!
Ok I am done now. I’m looking forward to see ya’ll in
March 19 Journal
First of all I want to say that I’ve now the absolutely
best time I’ve ever had in my entire life. Everything is going just perfect
but when I think that my exchange year is almost over, it’s like I’ll lose
something... I can’t really describe it but it is a weird feeling. The last
few months just ran away and now it’s already March. That was unbelievably
fast. It seems to me that I just stepped out of the airplane and said *Hallouu*
with my funny Swiss accent. I think everybody can tell from their own
experiences that when you enjoy something, you can’t stop the timer, which
speeds away and when you don’t like something than it’s like it would never
end. But anyway... I’ve so much to say that I’ve no idea where to start.
1) I begin with the Golf parade: I’ve never seen that
before but I can tell it was so funny. Some people from the community
decorated their Golf cars. I saw so many different cars, full with beads;
snowmen, Santa Claus, colored lights and one guy even installed a radio in
his car. The whole group drove like that from house to house to eat and
drink (some of them were already kind of drunk) and to have a good time
there. It was hilarious.
2) I was able to visit the Daytona Race Museum with Bill
Griffin, Julie, Marianna and Kuba. First we visited the museum inside the
building where we watched a 3 D movie about the history of NASCAR, after
that we could drive in a car simulator, which everybody really enjoyed. The
second part was a tour around the whole race area. It was really interesting
to see all the equipment they need to have for a race and It gave me a whole
new look for this sport. A big “THANK YOU” to Bill Griffin that he gave us
the chance to make something together.
3) Olya’s and Taka’s birthday. It rained that day, so we
cancelled our plan to drive Go-carts but that was not bad at all because
Bill had the idea to go to the “Bowling place”. We played two rounds “Boys”
against “Girls”. We were a strong team but I think the “Boys” just had more
practice than we had. That was our good excuse because they won all the
time. After our defeat we went home to Bill and watched the thriller War of
the Worlds (directed by Steven Spielberg). It was a fun day.
4) One of my special Xmas presents from Lawrene was to go
to the football game in Jacksonville: Jaguars against the Colts. I never
imagined that the stadium would be so huge and it was full of fans who
cheered for their favorite team. Woooow..... During the game I really tried
to pay attention but I never got the rules, so I said to myself that I
should ask somebody. So I did that but after a few minutes the person gave
up on me and I was even more confused than I was before. But it was anyway
an amazing game.
5) New Years Parade in Jacksonville. It was great to see
all the exchange students again and I had so much fun to walk in the Gator
Parade but the best thing was the New Years Eve party in the evening (Thanks
to Teresa and Bob Harrington) that we could spend the whole time in their
house. I think it was my favorite Rotary event yet. ;)
6) Disney: Yeaaaaa it was already my second time in Disney
but it was now with my host family and their families. We all had a really
good time together and I still saw so many new things that I missed at the
first time when I went with all the exchange students.
7) One weekend we made a trip to Blue Springs where the
Manatees stay. I really like those animals. For me the funny thing about
them is that they are vegetarians (they eat just sea grass) and still are so
8) School completely changed for me. My schedule for the
second term is really cool: I have Photography, French and two times TV
Production. I LOVE TV Production!!! I can’t really tell you how much I enjoy
this class but I can honestly say that I like to go to school now and that
is just because of this class. Probably you think that I am crazy, sick or
stuff like that but I’m totally serious. I found really good friends there
and the best thing is that we all understand each other because everybody
has the same interests and that is in the film industry. About my TV
Production teacher Mr. Brazell. He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had. Every
day he shows us such interesting and important stuff. It is sooo great.....
I could stay the entire day there. We are like a little company in which
everybody helps each other. Soon, we’ll begin with a short film. I’m really
excited to start with shooting. I hope it’ll turn good. ;) It is just an
awesome, awesome and awesome class!!!!!
9) Tennis season started. We practice almost every day
after school for about 2h and we already played some matches against other
high schools. I’m really proud of myself that I can play number 1 in my
team. I also found so many new friends there. It is fantastic.
10) I could go with Lisa + Family (Lawrene`s daughter) to
the famous NASCAR Race in Daytona Beach. I was really impressed from the
fast cars and their accidents but that day was just too cold to really enjoy
Ok, I should stop now, otherwise my journal gets longer
and longer. The last thing I want to say is: a huge “THANK YOU” to my
wonderful host family and of course the Rotary for this great opportunity. I
have the best experience ever and I am so happy to be a part of this
Hope see y’all soon!!!