Bridging the GAPP

I'm not really sure where to start with today's post, so I'll begin at the end. Our son Jacob is back now from his time studying abroad with the 
German American Partnership Program (GAPP)
 and it's so good to have him home.

We think he even looks a little more German now, and he certainly speaks the language more fluently and has a better understanding of the history and culture in the Motherland. He spent almost the entire month of June there with a group from his high school German class. Here are some of the souvenirs he brought back:

A purse for his sister, some kitchen gear for me,

and a puzzle of a castle he visited for Joshua and his dad.

He came back with a ton of memories and about 500 pictures of this incredible experience. He studied really hard to get ready, even doubling up to learn German II and III his junior year, and he worked odd jobs to try match the seed money that his Uncle Mark sent him. He felt pride about being able to earn some of the funds he needed to take this once-in-a-lifetime trip. 

During his time away, we were able to visit with Jacob via Skype three times, so we knew he was happy and healthy. We'd already met his exchange brother who spent three weeks with us in March, so we knew he was comfortable and safe with his host family. And because the group's leader had so well prepared these students for this experience with monthly team-building and cultural-awareness meetings for an entire year, we had great peace of mind that all was well despite the fact that our middle child was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, without us.

Every day we learn a little bit more about his adventure and about Munich and Dresden, Berlin and Leipzig as Jacob re-acclimates, remembers, and reflects. What gratifying fun it's been to watch our cautious teen transform into a confident young adult right before our eyes. It was, indeed, an ideal exchange.

Oh, and this treasure made its way to the kitchen counter as he was unpacking, a gift from his host family to him:

Loosely translated? I'm not perfect, but I'm pretty darn close.


  1. wow, what a tremendous experience for Jacob! I am sure he grew up in many ways.

  2. Love it! When you can send a teenager on (arguably) the adventure of a lifetime without his parents in tow, and he makes the time to lovingly choose such special tokens for those back home, you know you've raised a kid with character! So happy for Jacob's growth experience! I can just picture your young man taking in that colossal castle....that is cool! I'm sure it's just the beginning of a promising future. And it defies comprehension by me that anyone could learn two years of German in P.S. When I shared the post with my daughter and commented that I did indeed think he looked a little more "German," she replied, in true Alexis fashion, "He just looks hot to me!" Jacob definitely has it going on!!

  3. What an adventure and a great way to not only learn about a new culture but learn to appreciate his own even more.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. What a GREAT trip! So exciting! He is looking more and more like John than ever before!


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