An Evergreen exchange student from Argentina looks back
By Gustavo Favre
After fifty long years I met again an old friend of mine, Pat Robinson. We used to be close at our senior year in Evergreen High School where I was the foreign exchange student in 1968.
Meeting him again was really awesome, and I happily found (again) that people never change that much.
At the 50th reunion I wrote some words about the feelings I had to be back with my classmates after 50 years. When the moment came I found that I wasn’t going to be able to finish without emotionally breaking down. Another classmate (Chris Douthitt) read it for me.
After that Pat came to me and asked me why I felt that way, and what impact that year had in my life.
I promised that I would answer him, so here I go:
An old friend of mine, Tony Stark, (not to be confused with the Stark family from Winterfell), said once “There is not enough money in the world to buy a second of life”, true, but another wise friend “Shorty” Tyronne Lannister, also said “Power is not measured in gold or armies but in histories”.
Here is mine.
I was born and raised in a middle class family in Argentina, My mom a housewife and my Dad an Argentinian High Navy officer (Vice Admiral). I learned soon about duty, honor and hard work. At age 16, I asked my dad to enter the Navy and he told me that he thought I wasn’t good enough for “his Navy”, Don’t be mistaken, my dad was my best friend until he died at the age of 97, just 7 years ago.
So at age 17, I got a Rotary Scholarship, and on an early morning in the first days of August 1968, I arrived in Seattle after a week in six different Greyhound buses from NYC.
It was the first time without my family in a different country with a different language and ways.
To live in a different house, different family (I only had a sister at home and my own bedroom but in Seattle I had five brothers and a shared bedroom!) and missing almost every word they were saying... I was ready to head back home a few days after my arrival.
I’ll never know what kept me, but after a few weeks I was attending my first day of my Senior year at Evergreen High School.
Also I’ll never know what strange force was building inside me, but, as the Beatles used to sing “With a little help from my friends…”, I started to relate, speak, make friends and enjoy my year in the USA.
There were so many memorable moments in that year that changed me. But the most valuables things I learned were: True friendship, Joy of life, and self-confidence.
There were thousands of beautiful moments in that year that I will take to my very end with me.
But everything finishes sometime. And so that year ended.
I was a new person. A new Gustavo came back to Argentina that only my closest friends could recognize.
After my return to Argentina, I studied, married, became one of the first Information Technology Analysts and programmers in my city. Had three sons and one daughter (lost my third boy at age 12 in an accident). My wife and I managed to survive that. And in my last working years I served as a CIO (Chief information Officer) for one of the biggest Gas Distribution companies in Argentina. Now I’m retired, living with the same wife I married when I was 24 and she was only18. And I have 4 granddaughters.
I can say I've had a good life. But, through all my years after my return from USA I can remember thousands of times where all the “superpowers” I gained that year helped me in my life.
Want a short version?
That year made me simply, A better person. And I’ll always be grateful.
Carlos Gustavo Garcia Favre,
but for my American friends I’ll be always
Gus stayed with me during his visit back for our 50th reunion and made an instant impact to my family. A down to earth real person and true friend.
Thank you Phil, loved every moment at your home. Thank you Pat Robinson for the chance to say Thank you all.