Life Without Lara


It’s been 5 weeks since Lara, our Germany Exchange Student, left America. And in just those 5 weeks, our life without Lara is so very different.

Life without Lara means… there is an emptiness. We still refer to her room as “Lara’s Room”. Nothing has changed in her room. Everything is exactly how she left it. I’ve told the kids to go get hangers in her closet. They say they can’t because they are Lara’s hangers. The door is open but there is no activity in and out. It’s just different.

Life without Lara means… we think about her when we go grocery shopping. I walk down the aisles and don’t pick up the things she liked most. And items I do pick up, that Travis and Brittany like too, remind us of her. Brittany and I went to Ulta and TJ Maxx the other day. It felt strange not having Lara with us. Those were the stores we went to most. I used to look across the store and see Lara and Brittany looking at the same things. I was the outsider all the time. Now, I stay close to Brittany’s side. Of course, my taste is different than Lara’s so I may not be as much fun to shop with for Brittany. It’s just different.

Life without Lara means… we are no longer recording TV shows like “Good Eats” and “The Amandas”. It means that extra person isn’t sitting on the right side couch, across from Brittany on the left side couch. Only one blanket and pillow is being used on the left side. The right side is empty. The foot rest is kicked up on the left side. Not on the right side. It may not seem like much to the average person. But to us, it’s just different.

Life without Lara means… we have to remember to feed the fish. Yep. That was Lara’s job. And she was so efficient at it. I remind my husband to feed them or they will starve. It’s one less person to pet and play with the dogs, brush their hair or brush Angel’s stinky teeth. Yep, she did all that…. and she liked it. Well, most of the time. I think that even the dogs think it’s just so different.

Life without Lara means… I don’t have as much office help as I used to have. Lara used to make my magnets to put on our dry erase board that keeps track of all the homes we manage as Rentals. Every week we add more homes, every week we need more magnets and every week, I have to carve out time in my day to make them. And no one is sitting at her desk. Well, sometimes Kirk, our other Property Manager, will sit there but he’s like 6’4″ and a big brully guy. So definitely different than seeing Lara there.

 So many people ask how we are doing without her and if we talk to her at all. The answer is YES! We Facebook poke, Like, or message almost every day. And now that Lara has an Android phone with internet, we can talk via Facebook messages as if we are texting. It’s fun. And we skype. The last skype session was 1 hour 45 minutes!!! We told her we could just set up a camera and be online all the time and it would feel like she was still here! She laughed about that! The biggest problem is the time difference… 9 hours! If we skype right after church on Sunday at Noon, it is 9pm in Germany. That seems to be the best time for us. We giggle, going in out of the room, hold things close up to the camera so she can see it. She goes in the other room to get things to show us and we get to talk to her mother too!

Skyping and facebook help fill the void of Lara being gone but still…. it’s just quieter and different than it was for 10 months when she was here. I think it will always be that way. She became part of the family. But we hang on to the memories and keep in touch almost every single day half way around the world. Yes, life without Lara means… it’s bittersweet… and at the same time… just so different.

One more post to go until we close this Blog. Next…  A Host Mother’s Final Chapter.

About schreinerrealty

I'm a Realtor, Property Manager ad Owner of a Real Estate Brokerage, Schreiner Realty. I'm a Mother of 2, stepmother of 3, and now a Host Mother of a German Exchange Student. I am an avid volunteer in our community, involved in networking groups including Women's Council of Realtors and Women of Faith in Business. I spent 16-years in TV News as a Producer/Anchor/Reporter/Newsroom Manager and still participate in free-lance Producing Projects.

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