Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lessons {Celebrate This Week 6-18-16}

Many of you know that my family hosted an exchange student for the past school year. While Hannah came to America from Germany to learn about American life, there were many things I realized she taught us as well in her short time here.

I have really good kids.  This one I already knew, but Hannah just reinforced it. My daughter and son are fairly well grounded and some of the advice I heard them give Hannah made this momma's heart proud.

I CAN share my space. One of the things I feared in taking in a student for the entire year was having to have another person around the house, getting in my space. I'm one of those 'I like it the way I like it" people. I like falling asleep on the sofa at 7:30 some nights, eating pancakes for dinner, and doing laundry on Saturdays. Another person around here might complicate things. Thankfully, it didn't. We were all able to coexist.

Our family has some pretty cool traditions. Be it family dinners on Sundays with the grandparents, singing "Let It Go" when arguing begins, or giving everyone nicknames (Hannah became known as HB, short for Hannah Banana), Hannah reminded us that these things are not 'usual', but that she loved them. I found it to be a huge compliment when I was singing my good morning to her one day and she commented that her mother would never sing.

There is always something to discover. Hannah had never had grilled cheese. When I took her to the Cheeseapalooza Festival in Kenosha (yes, there is such a thing), she fell in love with these sandwiches. Who knew? Having Hannah here encouraged our family to go new places and try new things too.

My heart has an endless capacity for love. Hannah quickly became part of our family. She became a sister to my kids (without the bickering and the need to sing "Let It Go.") and I swelled with pride at her many successes at school, like when the band director took time at the final spring concert to talk about Hannah and how much he enjoyed having her in the band. Hannah became a daughter to me. It was very difficult to send her home.

Would I have known all of these things if we never had Hannah stay with us?

Probably.

But it wouldn't have been as much fun.

For this, I celebrate.

12 comments:

  1. Such a heartfelt post about a wonderful experience for you and your family.

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  2. When I was in high school we hosted two exchange students over two different summers. It was fun but now as an adult I would have the same concern...can I share my space? I am so glad to hear you had a great time. It is amazing how we can open our homes and our hearts. These will always be moments to cherish!

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  3. Sounds like you have added a daughter for a lifetime! I am glad it was such a positive experience for everyone!

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  4. What a great experience. I am inspired by your bravery to host a student - such a commitment that gave back to you in so many unexpected ways.

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  5. I love how Hannah added so much to your family! What a beautiful post! And the Cheeseapalooza Festival in Kenosha?!?! I wanna go to that too!!!! :)

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  6. Wonderful experience, lovely lessons and a sweet celebration.

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  7. I enjoyed this, and all the other posts here and on FB about Hannah, Jennifer. What wonderful memories you have. I hope you'll get to connect with her in person in the future, too. We had some exchange students through the years, but only for short times. It was still a lovely experience having them.

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  8. Jennifer, it is such a welcoming gesture to invite someone into your home as a live-in addition to your family. The positivity in your house must have cheered Hannah on when she missed her home. Now you have another addition to your family who adds volumes.

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  9. Isn't great when things turn out much better than expected? You have such a big heart! With technology as it is today, staying in contact will be so much easier.

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  10. Such wonderful lessons learned and shared by all. What an accomplishment for all your family...and Hannah!

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  11. I'm so glad you have a fabulous experience. We've had several exchange students and have learned many things along the way. It can be a real blessing. We have another student coming in August and I can't wait.

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  12. I love how you shared this experience with us and all the lovely things about your family. I think I'd enjoy living with you for a while.

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