The Halfway Point
We are now past the halfway mark - Mara and Grace have been staying with us for over 5 months. Back in August we felt as though we had so much time together. Now, the reality of their departure is sinking in. Grace's coordinator is already booking flights back to Thailand and Mara has a departure date. We have four full months left with plenty of adventures planned but time is a thief and goes by so fast. One of the ways we are preserving our memories is with a scrapbook. The girls will write in it, put pictures in it, and add anything else from their stay that they'd like. The book will stay on our coffee table for future students to look through and add to. I have also started a large group WhatsApp chat for all of the students that have stayed with us over the years. It's a way for all of us to connect as one big international family. One of the many things I have learned from being a host parent is the small things matter most. Of course concerts and other big events are fun and exciting, but the really good stuff is in the game nights after Sunday dinner, playing in the snow, learning new recipes, adopting new traditions, cheering on our favorite sports teams, and just spending time together doing everyday life. Take time to check in with your students - just as their departure from their friends and families back home was emotional, the anticipation of their departure from their friends and families in the US will also be emotional. Start documenting your memories together if you haven't already and don't forget to soak in the "good stuff".