A New Look at the United States

Our exchange to Cedar Rapids/Iowa City was a domestic exchange – within the United States. But for Taiwan-born Sheila Liao, it was a chance to experience a different aspect of America.  Here is her story.

It is my first exchange; I am very excited and looking forward for the experience.

Mr. Bob Weissman is very kind to offer the ride for us to drive to Cedar Rapids.

We left 9:30 in the morning and got there right before 2:30pm. The Cedar Rapids club members were there to welcome us. I felt so honored to be treated as VIP.

Coe College has great assets of many local artists’ art collections. Finally, I am at the home town of Grant Wood.

I was holding my breath when I got into my host family’s house. It is a nice, private, wooded area with many custom built houses. Mr. Michael and Dianne Karal have a beautiful big house which has artistic detailed decoration.  They provided me a room with a 4-pole queen size bed.  I had always wished to sleep on a 4-pole bed.

While staying with the Karal family, Dianne shared her recipes, taught me to play “progression” card game, showed us many of their trips photos and scrap books. They had done all photos, placed with great theme and art design. I encouraged Dianne to publish her travel scrap books to promote the Friendship Force organization.

To visit the local art gallery, Anamosa Penitentiary Museum, President Hoover Library, Amanas German town, and trolley tour of their downtown; this trip taught me their hard work attitude and big warm hearts of Midwestern Americans. It also taught me some of American histories.

The trip set a high standard for my future exchanges and it will be the role model to follow to be a great home host.