The following article first appeared in the Sunday, September 8, 1968 edition of “The Ojai Valley News” on page A-1. It is reprinted here with their permission. The article was authored by Fran Renoe.
AFS pupils like new homes, school
Life is busy, bewildering but bright with the promise of an unusual life for Julita Tellei and Salustiana Crespo, American Field Service students who are living with Ojai families for the present school year.
Julita is staying with the Rev. Richard Terry’s family and “Tano”, as he is nicknamed, with the Boyd Ford’s.
It’s a long way for Julita from her home island of Palau, Micronesia (a group of small islands in the South Pacific) and a trust territory of the United States, and for Tano, whose home is in Leon, Spain.
With two years of Spanish, and a good background in English, Julita has not had too much trouble understanding her new “family”, friends and teachers.
Tano, however, who speaks Spanish and French, “has only 9 months of English”, and finds communication becoming easier, but not yet fluent. However, both are making friends fast, enjoy their families, and seem to find the differences between former school ways and American ones interesting and fun.
As Julita says, “everyone is so nice here. All the people talk to you, say hello. I am so busy here that there is no time to get homesick.”
Julita fits in with the Terry family, who unexpectedly found themselves with all five of their children at home, instead of four they expected. She shares a room with 17-year-old Lynn, and also shares Lynn’s teen-age interests.
“I like to watch baseball, and I enjoy playing volleyball and table tennis. I’m used to a family with children.” At 17, Julita is the oldest of nine children, with seven brothers and two sisters at home. Tano, on the other hand, has only a nine-year-old brother at home, and a sister, 22 who is married, and is enjoying having the four Ford boys as companions.
Tano’s hobbies are photography and architecture, and architecture is the field he hopes to study later in an American college.
As for Julita, “I want to go to college, and probably will. However, I do not know exactly what I want to do. I like geometry, but am not so good at math. I also like science. I will probably be a teacher.”
More than Julita, Tano finds living in this country much different from living at home.
“I am not used to going to school with girls,” he said with a big grin, “because I have always gone to a private school for boys only. “But,” and the grin got bigger, “after the first day I decided that going to school with girls is very, very nice.”
It seems that co-education is uncommon in Spanish schools, with only a few private schools using this system.
Both teenagers agree that “children here are much more free with their parents. Free to discuss things, to have an opinion.” At home, Tano emphasized, “children have no opinion.”
“In my home we talk about things,” Julita said, “but not in every home is it like this. It is better if you can discuss things with your parents, like here.”
Julita finds the food much different from her usual diet, “we have more fish, and of course, taro, but here more meat and bread, things like that.”
“Also, in Spain, we have our lunch at 2 in the afternoon and dinner at 10 at night. Here, of course, is much different,” Tano remarked.
“There are more cars here, too,” Julita said.
“Something else,” Tano commented. “At home, ladies who are married, ladies with children, do not work. Here, ladies like this work.”
“Oh, married women where I live work,” Julita said, “They didn’t used to, but they do now.”
Tano enjoys playing basketball and Julita is an avid antique collector.
Both admit to having trouble remembering the names of all the friendly students and teachers they have met, but both say, “It is so nice to live in Ojai, everyone is so good to you.”
They also enjoy the idea of living in a small town — Julita, because it seems familiar, Tano because it is different in size from his hometown of 100,000 people. And both like living near a metropolitan area of Los Angeles because “our families are quite good about taking us everyplace.”