A Ukrainian Food Explorer in Oregon
Teenage boy from Ukraine at American restaurant

"Pardon me, what's your soup du jour?"

"What’s your favorite dish?" If somebody asked me this question, it would take me a while to answer it. The first thing that I noticed after I arrived in the U.S. was food. It was completely different from all the things that I had tried before. My eyes just wanted to hide from the huge menus in cafes and restaurants.

I tried new dishes with my host family. Did I recognize and like everything the first time? No, I didn’t. I thought that I should just adjust to the new environment and absolutely new cuisine. But the only thing I should have done was to open my mind and broaden my perspective on new cuisine. I started realizing that being in the USA is not only an opportunity to develop certain skills. It is about developing yourself in every way, even in trying new food.

It is about developing yourself in every way, even in trying new food. 

My mind is open and calm when it comes to trying new food now. I have tried many different dishes. The most delicious meals that I’ve tried so far are Zuppa Toscana, Thanksgiving turkey, pumpkin pancakes, and burritos. I am sure that my discovering of new food will never end. Food is one of the ways of discovering culture. And I have become an explorer of American cuisine.

I want to say thank you to my host family and local coordinator for supporting me.

Am I afraid of trying new food? Not anymore.

—Viacheslav (FLEX, Ukraine), hosted by the Reed Family (OR)