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.