Monday, July 28, 2014

Exchange

We're entering the final stretch of summer vacation now. The boys have returned from their Rhode Island trip, camps are back in swing, AND... we have an exchange student visiting us for the next 3 weeks!

Quite a few of my friends, who know I'm feeling a little crazy lately, have asked me how this came to be. As in, um, really? Another person for you to keep track of? Is that a good idea? I really don't know. Fritz and I discovered (just last week) that we have different stories about how it came to be that we would host a 17 year old boy from Germany. In my version, Fritz was the instigator. In Fritz's version, I was the instigator. Hmmm.

We had an exchange student when Mattias was about 6 months old, four years ago. It was kind of refreshing, in the sense that she was at a really different stage of life. Having her around jolted me out of the baby world and gave me a chance to live (sort of) vicariously through her. I'm not sure that this experience will be the same. I'm at a different stage of life than I was 4 years ago. Also, it was a she and now it's a he. What's he going to do? How bored will he be? Didn't I just post about how hard it is keep kids with a SIX year spread happy? What about when the spread is SIXTEEN years?

I was trying to calm myself down this morning by thinking about how teenage boys can be helpful, right? I mean, BOYS ARE FINE. I have a husband! I have sons! I have brothers! Yes, right: I grew up in a house with boys! No big deal! Then it occurred to me that when my brothers were 17 years old, I wasn't living at home anymore. So maybe I don't know 17 year old boys, GULP.

I'm sure it will be fine. RIGHT?!

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

It will be great! I know my boys are in awe of older kids (especial boys) so hopefully it will be the same and your student will be great with your boys too!

idena said...

It will be wonderful!

Anonymous said...

It's just three weeks - and you are not his mom, so don't worry too much. Have you met him before, where in Germany is he from?
I think it will work out just fine - just be clear about each other's expectations (like you are not his full time servant, what your family schedule is and such). But maybe you don't have to mention these things - even better.
How nice for your boys!
And if you like to continue that tradition of having exchange students every four years, I have a nice young lady that would be able to come ;)

Ann Wyse said...

We only just met him when he arrived. I guess you could say he is a friend of Fritz's family. Sort of.

In the five years that we've been back in the States, we've had somebody from Germany approach us about hosting somebody they know EVERY SUMMER. Maybe it takes about four years to wear us down?

I do think there's a "key" that makes exchanges worthwhile or not. Being on the hosting end, there's a lot of unaccounted-for resources that go into it, so, of course, you WANT it to be worthwhile. Worthwhileness actually has relatively little to do with the how nice or helpful or well-mannered the kid is. The key is motivation. The child has to really WANT to do an exchange. Kids who do these things because their parents tell them they should really miss out. Between you and me and anyone who happens to actually read comments, I hope that's not what we are looking at here in our current situation.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean - it is not 'sending' the kids, but allowing them to go to the States. And I keep my fingers crossed that this is the case for your guest.

Pregnantly Plump said...

My dad coached high school soccer, and always threatened to get an exchange student from somewhere where they actually like soccer for years. He never did it. But I think it could be a really great experience. I hope that it will be for you guys. Maybe he will be helpful. Your boys will probably like speaking German with him, right?