Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Celebrating Far From Home {SOL 12-29-15}

Being far from home during the holidays can't be easy, especially if you are 16.

Some of you may know that we have an exchange student staying with us this school year -- Hannah from Germany.  Ever since Hannah arrived here in August, I have been amazed at her ability to adapt and thrive in our American culture.  She is an active teenager and has made some good friends here in America.  She has become a part of our family so much that we 'joke' about adopting her.

Leaving your home when you are 16 takes a lot of guts.  Being away from family and friends for 10 months to travel to an unknown place to live with unknown people requires one to be very brave. I don't think I could have done it.

I was worried that the holidays would deliver a bout of homesickness for Hannah.  But packages arrived in the mail from home, delivering cookies from grandma and gifts from her parents.  Hannah opened these on Christmas morning, cherishing each one.  On Christmas Eve, Hannah Skyped with her family as they opened their gifts.  She spent the afternoon visiting with family and friends.  There would be no homesickness because Hannah was able to be in both places -- America and Germany -- through the magic of the Internet.


15 comments:

  1. Wow!!! I spent a summer living in Spain. I know I would have been sad during a major holiday like Christmas. This reminds me how much technology has changed our world. Amazing that Hannah got to be in two places at once!!! I'm so glad she got to connect with her home country and family on Christmas!! :)

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  2. What an amazing opportunity for Hannah. The internet and the ability to connect in so many other ways makes it a touch bit easier. I'm sure she is so thankful to be with a family like yours to help her stay connected her and with her family far away!

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  3. This is a great story and makes me realize that technology has opened up a lot of ways for us to communicate. I come from the land of rotary phones and being stuck in the kitchen trying to have a private conversation with my friend because the cord didn't reach far enough! I'm dating myself, I know, but it just amazes me how far technology has come and makes me wonder how far we'll go. I'm stopping over from A Slice of Life. :)

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  4. This is a great story and makes me realize that technology has opened up a lot of ways for us to communicate. I come from the land of rotary phones and being stuck in the kitchen trying to have a private conversation with my friend because the cord didn't reach far enough! I'm dating myself, I know, but it just amazes me how far technology has come and makes me wonder how far we'll go. I'm stopping over from A Slice of Life. :)

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  5. While there is much to lament about the impact technology has on our daily lives, your post reminds us of how much there is to celebrate. With three children in college, I'm so grateful for the ease of casual communication. Next week my daughter heads to England for six months and I'm going to be learning even more about how to communicate via technnology. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. While there is much to lament about the impact technology has on our daily lives, your post reminds us of how much there is to celebrate. With three children in college, I'm so grateful for the ease of casual communication. Next week my daughter heads to England for six months and I'm going to be learning even more about how to communicate via technnology. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Hannah does sound like a really brave girl! But what a great experience for both you and her. I'm glad she got to spend time with her family, albeit virtually, on Christms!

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  8. Hannah does sound like a really brave girl! But what a great experience for both you and her. I'm glad she got to spend time with her family, albeit virtually, on Christms!

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  9. Hannah seems like an adventurous soul who is comfortable in her own skin, such a rarity at age 16. Don't you love how the internet can keep us connected?

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  10. Hannah seems like an adventurous soul who is comfortable in her own skin, such a rarity at age 16. Don't you love how the internet can keep us connected?

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  11. I agree, she is brave, but your welcoming home surely has helped, too. She is lucky, Jennifer, to be in such a nice family. The internet has made connecting so much better. I'm glad she was able to "be" with her family for a while.

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  12. I went to Denmark as a 17 year old exchange student in 1982, ore-Internet and cheap phone calls. Christmas was hard. I burst into tears as we danced around the Christmas tree singing Silent Night. Hooray for your family for taking Hannah into the fold of your family and making this Christmas so special for her.

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  13. I don't think I would have had the courage to travel so far from home at that age, either. Hannah is lucky to have such a caring and supportive host family to make her feel at home. Happy New Year!

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  14. I don't think I would have had the courage to do what Hannah is doing at the age of 16. I am sure it was hard, but technology sure seemed to help! Happy New Year, Jennifer!

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  15. What courage she has to be away from home for so long! It is clear Hannah is loved from afar and right where she is. Hence, no homesickness.

    Happy new year, Jennifer!

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