I was a complete stranger when I knocked on the house that I booked for my stay in Seattle and Julie opened the door and welcomed me. It was the first time I left Sri Lanka and stayed all by myself in a whole different country. Next morning, I sat with Julie, and she told me all the basics that I needed to know about Seattle, starting from grocery shopping to taking the bus. I met Narayan the next day, and both of them made me feel like home. Most importantly, I felt safe. They were really inquisitive to know about me and my culture, as I was about theirs. Whenever I come back home from school, we will share how our day went. We were a family. That same year, they made a trip to India and went to Sri Lanka to meet my family. They told me they never thought of going there until they met me. Fulbright gave me the opportunity to tell others about my country and so I did! I will be always grateful for my stay at Julie and Narayan’s.
Last year, a very unfortunate news reached me. Julie is no longer with us but she will always be in my heart. I would like to take this opportunity to share my gratitude for them for making Seattle my second home. This experience shows how even a complete stranger can become family. Diversity keeps us stronger and Fulbright is all about that.
Muditha Dharmasiri – Fulbright to Washington, USA 2016