No, I’m not counting down until our Exchange Student leaves for Germany. I’m filled with emotions that come with it. Lara has become a true member of our family. After spending every single day with her since August 13th… we’ve actually seen her more than we have other family members that live close by. She has become an integral part of our home.
As she prepares to depart, we laugh about some of the things that have happened over the past 9 months. And Lara has started to talk about some of her favorite things she has done or seen since she’s been here….and the things we haven’t gotten to yet! The list is really long!
We’ve also talked about what’s going to happen when she goes back to Germany. For example, is she going to forget how to talk German to her friends and family? Is she going to intertwine her English and German? You see, she’s already done that when she skyped with her mother a week ago. They hadn’t skyped since December. Poor Lara was talking German, then English, then German, she forgot words then she would start telling her mother a story completely in English. That’s OK because her mother understands English well. But when she skyped with her Grandparents a couple days later…who only speak Croatian and German…it was a real problem. But she laughed about it.
The Aspect Foundation calendar this month addresses “Pre-Departure”. It says it is a very dramatic period in terms of emotions. And it talks about some ways for all of us to prepare for Lara’s departure.
- Recognize all of the emotions that are surfacing around the time.
- Accept the feeling that you have gained a great friendship and that you will also have feelings of loss as this friend leaves.
- Relinquish your role as host parent, and give your student support in their return to their home.
- Talk about all the shared memories and how your student has changed.
- Encourage your student to discuss both his/her joys and fears about what lies ahead.
- Tell your student what they have brought to your life and give them a special memory to take with them: a letter, photo or something that has special meaning to your situation.
No question about it….it is going to be hard to say good-bye to our new family member. I’m looking forward to her going away party May 31st but I dread the day, June 2, when we go to the airport to say our final good-bye! Thank God for skype and Facebook where we’ll be able to talk to Lara every day.
Coming up this week… Lara turns 16 in America on May 10 but the way they celebrate in Germany is by getting “floured”!