And so we begin

Authored By:

Amanda I.

Hello and Welcome. Our names are Sean and Amanda Ironmonger and this is our first time hosting a foreign exchange student. We have been looking forward to this for many months and we are so excited that our student is here and we get to share our life, culture, and home with her for the 2019-2020 school year.

We live in Chesapeake, Virginia which is near Norfolk and Virginia Beach. We don't have any children but are the proud paw-rents of a dachshund and a beagle. In our spare time, we like to craft (Sean sews and Amanda knits) and spend time with family and friends. We also like attending sporting events, primarily baseball and ice hockey. Traveling is also big for us and we are looking forward to sharing all the historic sites in our area with our student.

We decided to become host parents so we could share our home and the American experience with a child from another country. Sean was born and raised in Australia and feels fortunate that he was able to move to America and experience a new culture. We have space in the home to do this so it seemed like the logical choice. We also heard nothing but wonderful stories from others who have hosted before. 

Setting up our home was pretty easy. We were foster parents before so we had rooms with beds and dressers all ready to go. Our sweet student asked for a desk so she could do her homework and we had one from a grandmother that is a perfect fit. The bookshelf in the room was already stocked with Young Adult books because Amanda is a middle school English teacher. We bought new bedding - something bright and colorful that reflected our sweet girl's personality - and changed some of the items in the bathroom (the shower curtain and rug) so it was more colorful. Overall, it was pretty easy.

We were approved and matched with our student in January so we had plenty of time to get to know each other prior to her arrival. Our Local Coordinator read Misia's bio and thought she would be a good fit for our family and we wholeheartedly agreed. Our first choice ended up being our only choice. The day of her arrival was busy - it was Amanda's students' first day of school. We were a little nervous and a lot excited while driving to the airport. Her flight was delayed by 4 hours due to a mechanical issue with the plane - the engine wouldn't start, kinda important -  but it was all worth it when she arrived. We bonded very quickly and became a family right away. Misia has been here for just over three weeks and it has been a wonderful experience. Our favorite part of the day is dinner time as we sit as a family and talk about how our days went and share stories from our past. We compare societal norms, backgrounds, and histories. We laugh and learn and love. It is more special and fulfilling than we could have ever imagined. 

We are looking forward to seeing what the next 10 months bring!