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The U.S. in Words #1: In Hog Heaven (and More Ways to be Excited)


Editor's note: Paula is an English as a Foreign Language teacher by training, so she'll be sharing her experience in the U.S. through the phrases she's learning, and the valuable words that describe her feelings and experiences. So check back regularly for Paula's special series, "The U.S. in Words." And don't forget, if you're looking for words about the U.S. education system, we define the terms you've suggested in our Glossary of Confusing Words.

In hog heaven – happy, in a perfect situation

I arrived in the U.S. two months ago as a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) through a Fulbright Program. I had to literally pinch my arm to prove it wasn’t a dream. I started studying English when I was 7 and have loved the language since then. That love for English became love for the United States, and I have daydreamed about coming here ever since I was a child.

With the FLTAs at Stanford
With the FLTAs at Stanford


My first week was spent at Stanford University in California, together with 56 other FLTAs from around the globe. We were spoiled like little children with delicious food, parties and all kinds of activities to start off our year before we split up to go to the universities where we would ultimately be working and studying.

Towards the end of that week, as I prepared to travel to Susquehanna University, I started thinking, “Okay, that was too good to last for long.” I was preparing myself to start feeling homesick, or even to miss my new FLTA friends. But, guess what? That never happened.

When I met my advisor, she told me that it seemed I was in hog heaven.

It means being in your perfect surroundings, completely content and satisfied with your situation – exactly how I felt that first week in California and upon my arrival in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

My life at Susquehanna so far has been one of discovery, of joy, of friendship, of growth, and of many many additional words to express my excitement about each of my new experiences:

To be pumped for something – Like going to my first football game, where I was so pumped to see the cheerleaders do their stunts, to hear the band play songs of encouragement, and even to cheer and boo along with the crowd (I had no idea what the rules were, so I really didn’t know when and what to cheer for!)

The view from the top of the Empire State Building in NY
The view from the top of the Empire State Building in NY


To be psyched for something – So filled with anticipation before going to New York to meet my mom, who came all the way from Uruguay, to accomplish this adventure we’d been waiting for a long time. I was psyched to see the Statue of Liberty, go to a Broadway show, and see the astounding view from the observatory deck of the Empire State Building.

To be stoked for something – Homecoming Weekend! Everything seemed literally as though it was from a movie. We’d invited a few other Fulbrighters over, and the nine of us were so stoked to make the most out of car-smashing (one of the fraternities raises money for a children's hospital by letting you smash an old car with huge sledgehammers! Very useful for anger-management and relieving anxiety), riding a mechanical bull, taking pictures at the retro photo booth, dancing at the Homecoming Ball, and seeing the Homecoming Kings and Queens be crowned – all traditions at Susquehanna.

At my first Homecoming game
At my first Homecoming game


To be thrilled with something or someone – I was also thrilled to join the entire student body at Susquehanna’s Fall Concert, featuring Snoop Dogg, and to go dancing at a club for the first time in the U.S.; especially because it was the same club where Snoop Dogg enjoyed his after-party in the VIP room.

I know that at some point this “honeymoon stage” will end, and struggles will come up, but in the meantime, I’m going to indulge myself into the pleasures of this wonderful honeymoon with my beloved America.
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