Yuka with her host siblings (article author Ryan at right), all on the same archery team.

AIM FOR GREATNESS

As I released the string, I instantly knew that my arrow was slightly off target. I squinted at the target, finding out that I had just shot a nine. I glanced over at my newest friend, my foreign exchange student sister, Yuka. Back to looking at the target—I laughed to myself, because she had shot a ten and it was her first year in archery. “Bullseye!” I whispered to her, watching her smile grow wide. “Keep shooting like that, and you’ll be going to state archery!”

“I not good enough,” Yuka said. Even though when she came, her English wasn’t perfect; her vocabulary has already grown immensely. Her English is faster, clearer, and she speaks more frequently than when she landed on American soil.

Farther down the line, I heard my little brother, Levi, say, “You’re good at archery, Yuka!”

“Shh!” I hissed at him. “We are still shooting!” I drew back my next arrow. Looking down the nock, I found my aiming point and released it. Almost immediately, my arrow was lodged right next to Yuka’s previous arrow, in the tens.

“I’m still shooting too!” Levi whispered back. I glanced at his target and then at him, for he was celebrating his arrow, an eight.

After the round was over, I congratulated Levi. Walking up to my target then, I saw that both Yuka and I had shot forty-five points total that round.

The Following Saturday

“Good luck, Yuka,” Rachel, my natural sister, said. “You too, Ryan and Levi!” she added.

“Yeah,” Levi and I agreed at the same time. “Good luck to you too!” I finish. Turning to Yuka, I ask, “Are you nervous?”

“Little bit,” she replied, but her knuckles, white from clenching her bow so hard, disagree. I could tell that she was really nervous.

“You’ll do ok,” I reply. “Just make sure you hit the target!” I joked. I constantly joke with Yuka, and one of her favorite responses is ‘You always joking’. Technically, I’m not always joking, but it’s fine.

Ninety Minutes Later

“Good job everybody!” our mom said. ”Yuka, you shot a 255, Ryan shot 262, Rachel shot a 249, and Levi shot a 201!” she continued.

“Out of 300?” Yuka asked, to which we all nodded yes. “Ooh, that’s good.” she replied.

“Everybody did good today!” our dad said.

Two Months Later

“Ryan, where is Yuka or Levi?” Dad asked, and I responded with a shrug. “I have good news for you guys.”

“Here I am!” Levi yelled from the kitchen.

“I here too,” Yuka said, barely audible.

“Come in here!” Dad said kindly. After both Levi and Yuka entered the kitchen, he continued, “You three and Rachel are all going to state archery!” All four of us clapped and cheered.

“I knew you were good enough, Yuka!” I tell her. “Good job!

—Ryan DeBoer (IA), host brother of Yuka (Japan)