RoyalPurpleRose 53F
307 posts
3/21/2006 11:43 am

Last Read:
3/21/2006 9:03 pm


Just hanging out this morning .... whoa, it's almost 1pm now!! Anyway I was just reading blogs, and came upon Give Us Your Poor, Your Downtrodden And Your Suburban Football Hooligans Dressed Funny By Their Mum by Fallic40.

Brought back memories of the Exchange students we have hosted. I have daughters from Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Japan. And sons from Brazil, Japan, Poland, and Columbia. This does not even count the number of kids that I was a rep for. These were students that lived in other homes from mine.

A few have come back to visit, but I have yet to be able to travel to their countries for a visit. I keep promising myself that 'one of these days', I'll get my dream vacation and get to visit them. Of course the jet lag will likely kill me.

I am still amazed at the courage these kids had to get on a plane, fly thousands of miles, and live with another set of parents (not to mention siblings) for six months to a year. Our first daughter is from Norway. She was so sweet, and had a voice like an angel. She was a member of a choir (I won't mention the name) that tours the world. At the end of the year, as we stood at the airport with our arms around each other, they were calling her flight for the fifth time, and we finally had to push her through the gate.

That memory makes me start to cry all over again. It was pretty much the same with all of our exchange kids. I love them all. They are welcome back here anytime. We'd love to see every one of them again.

All of the kids had a few chores to do. But I never let anyone do laundry except me. I was working at the time, and had some very expensive clothing (silk blouses, linen, etc.). One of the boys from Brazil wanted to help out. We were visiting my mother-in-law. When we got home, Bernard said he'd washed some clothes. I asked what clothes he'd washed, and he said the stuff in the basket by the washer. Lo and behold, that basket had my clothes in it, and it was now in the washer. I looked at the settings on the washer and saw that it was set on HOT water. My heart sank. I knew I had a couple of red pieces of clothing in that basket, along with a few very nice white and cream colored pieces. I was so afraid to open that machine.

It wasn't Bernard's fault. He was just trying to help out. I told him 'Thank you' first, and then explained that some clothing can only be washed in cold water. He had no idea. At his home in Brazil, the maid did all the laundry. I finally got the courage to open the lid of the washer. I carefully took each piece of clothing out. I looked at him in amazement. Not one piece was damanged or discolored in any way. I told him that maybe I should let him do all the wash from that point. He said 'No, that's enough for me.'

All of the kids were wonderful. Of course there were times of small disagreements. Our children were young, and I know they would get on the nerves of the older kids. We tried to talk about problems as they arose. It worked well for us.

We still talk to our kids in other countries. Exchange pictures and such. It's great to hear from them, but makes me miss them a lot.

This being the South, I found it extremely difficult to explain current racial tensions to these kids too. Our daughter from Norway had a male friend who is black. A very nice young man when we met him. Now, I have nothing against inter-racial relationships. I have even dated a few black men, and still have friends who are black. It's just a color. But having to explain to her that there are many people in our community who do not see things with an open mind as we do, or as people in Europe do, was difficult to say the least. Unfortunately, she got to experience the prejudice. That's a topic I feel very strongly about, and one I'll leave for another post.

They remained friends, which I encouraged. But it saddened me that she saw that side of our society. I hope that I am raising my girls to be open minded, confident women.

I admire those kids who can step on a plane that will take them away from everything they know. They have nerves of steel. And we still laugh that Ellie was asked "Norway, isn't that in New Jersey?"

~Kisses, RPR

angelofmercy5 60F
17881 posts
3/21/2006 1:25 pm

What a wonderful experience that was for you and the students. When we lived in Japan....our daughters had the opportunity to go and live with a Japanese family for two weeks. And we did the same for two Japanese girls later. It was fun...and hard work all at once! But I wouldn't trade the experience! Thanks for sharing this! O:)

rm_titsandtires 53M/42F
3656 posts
3/21/2006 8:52 pm

A former co-worker of mine and his wife have been host parents several times, and they highly encourage it. I think I would love to do it but don't have the resources or the room available to me to do it right now.

I can tell by the way you wrote this how passionate you are about this. That's so cool!

BTW, you mean Norway's not in Jersey? Huh, I'll be darn.


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