Muy Bien

There was always an extra mouth or two to feed at our childhood dinner table since our parents took in foster children, hosted foreign exchange students, and pretty much invited anyone who wanted to learn to farm "The American Way" to come on over.  And not just to eat, but to work and learn and stay as long as they wanted to be there.

Meet Carlos.  He moved in from Mexico right around the time I was registering for high school; he's the reason that I decided to study Spanish. Carlos couldn't speak a word of English past hello and goodbye, so I decided to help him out by learning his language. It was WAY too cold in Wisconsin for someone from that far south, however, so he didn't stay with us long enough for me to speak a word of Spanish, beyond hola and adiós, with him. 

So today I'm grateful about two things. The first is that we're going to get to do what I experienced with my family of origin SO many times:  Welcome our foreign exchange student, who arrives this evening from Germany so that he can see first-hand what it's like to live "The American Way."  We are incredibly excited to host a teen from the family with whom Jacob will stay when he travels to Berlin in June. What an amazing experience it promises to be for both of the boys as they get acquainted with one another and learn all about each other's culture while practicing their second-language skills.

I actually had these license plates when I was a Spanish teacher!
The second reason I'm over-the-moon with gratitude today is that this time next week I'll be in Puerto Rico visiting a school that was recently named a National School of Character finalist. I've also been asked to conduct a workshop while I'm there, so I'll actually get three days on the island. It's such an honor to get to make this trip and learn all about the exemplary work in character education there and see the promising practices in action.

That makes me ever-so-thankful to my parents for saying  when that foreign embassy contacted them to ask if a teenager from Mexico City could stay with us for a spell.  What a gift that some thirty-five years later I'd have the opportunity to practice my second-language skills working and meeting new friends on la Isla del Encanto during the same time that my son practices his with our new German family member. ¡Olé!

1 comment:

  1. Barbara...How exciting! I will look forward to hearing about your trip. What a wonderful heritage you have in your parents generosity and willingness to open their home! Give your new friend a hello from S.C.


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