Sunday, August 28, 2011

She has arrived!

Elisabetta is here! She looks so different than I had imagined and from her photos (which are probably a few years old). I wonder what she thought of us, I believe she only had a few photos. It is kind of funny with the Facebook and other social media as you would think you have access to all kinds of information that you still can have good surprises. She is adorable and didn't seem very tired from her long journey.

We are all very anxious as to what this year will bring as far as other surprises and rewards. The key to all of this is that flexibility thing despite any expectations we may have. Here's a for instance...already discovered she does not like cheese or olives. I thought everyone in Italy would eat cheese and olives....not true! (Alexa is very happy as she does not like cheese or olives either...camaraderie!!)

We aim to keep it very busy this week before school starts, a tip from last year's student who said a lot of AFS students end up with a lot of down time upon arrival before school and meeting new people. So here we go...she's been to the beach twice (where true to our word, Oregon beaches are very cold), we stopped at CostCo on the way home for a culture shock, on our way to a gathering with a former Italian AFS student back for a visit, having a big American burger BBQ tomorrow with lots of people, town walk/tour, high school visit and class selection, off to the mountains for hiking/biking/paddling, back for AFS picnic and then wham, school starts. Sounds like a whirlwind but we can't wait for all the fun and adventure while getting to know each other.

By the way, we did find out yesterday that AFS still had students (300!) without hosts for this year...can you believe it? If you can just go with your heart and open your home, contact AFS now and they will get you started on your own journey right now. The rewards are endless....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The arrival countdown

Just waiting to bring our new daughter home...our little place on the Oregon Coast:

10 more days! Yes, we have to wait another 10 days to begin this year's adventure. The other AFS students in our community arrived last weekend and have already begun their experience. While we are happy for all of them, we are feeling a little left out this year with our 'late' start. Last year, everything was a new experience for us and it really felt like a special club when all our local students arrived almost together. This year we are 'old hands' even though we have only hosted once and it was just last year, yet we are without our student. Our first 'compromise' on our expectations. Trying not to have many expectations is key to making the hosting experience a much better adventure, keep this in mind and remind me now and then!

How does this really play out, the expectation thing? Well, I had bought theater tickets for us to go see the Broadway traveling play, Mamma Mia in Portland next week. Living in rural Oregon and having a student from the city (Rome!), I thought this would be a great transitional experience, big city vs. small town, plus our younger daughter loved the movie version. We had gotten the original arrival date from AFS and the timing was perfect. Oops...change of arrival date happened! You can't return tickets so now it is going to be a tween trip to Portland. It will be a really fun trip even though it is not the trip I had expected. Lesson learned, again.

We will have lots of experiences and the transition will happen in any event, I didn't really need a big adventure, they will come. Just 10 more days and we will begin our journey for this year along with all the other students and their host families. We can't wait!