Wednesday, October 1, 2014


 I'm the mother of boys!  I don't know about girls other than my two adorable (now grown & married nieces) but, I'm getting a CRASH COURSE!    At the end of August my friend Ginger called in a panic.  She already had her Exchange Student Elma (this is her 5th student in 7 years) & there were two girls that had just arrived to the USA with the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program that needed new placement & they had 72 hours to make it happen.  I feared I just couldn't handle it with all the mess from just finishing the move & remodel.  As well as I thought my son & his family would be living here on weekends while their new home was being built (but, it ended up they rented a duplex in the new town they are building in).  We decided that we have been so blessed that we just couldn't say NO.   Anna is from the Kamchatka Peninsula  
which is a 780 mile peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of about 100,000 square miles.  It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east & the Sea of Okhotsk to the west.  Anna's country is actually closer to Alaska than to Moscow (sitting above Japan).   So, our Anna was no longer homeless in the USA.  She came to spend the school year with us & life has changed for all of us.  She is such a blessing & joy! 

She was only here two days & then it was her 17th birthday.  We celebrated at our favorite little bistro & she had a coconut pie instead of cake but, you can see that she loved it!  Just look at that photo above & the happy glow as she is blowing out her candles.  

A couple of nights later we went to a rooftop restaurant where one of the other host Mom's was singing & we celebrated Anna's birthday again.   Below is a few shots of that fun filled evening. 

Next, it was getting school supplies, school clothes, tennis practice outfits, calling school buses for schedules, packing lunches, running car pool.   I WAS OUT OF PRACTICE!  But, we've got it now.  I can tell you BOYS ARE EASIER!!!!!

Elma & Anna both adore Marble Slab Ice Cream & NEVER miss a chance to try a new flavor!

And there are so many new restaurants to try...

Below is a picture of the girls dancing with a lot of other people the night we went to Main Event to go bowling.  They loved it!  They love music & dancing.

Bowling scores weren't high but, we had fun!!!! 

Halloween is not celebrated in Russia but, Anna has had so much fun in all the stores seeing all the many choices we have for such silly fun.  She came home to tell her "Pops" that she had a new skinny boy friend & a new cat....

Anna loves dressing up so she & Elma are always doing photo shoots.  Below are two of my favorite shots.  So I hope you'll join me as Anna has her "American Dream" come true.  It is so amazing to see this happen & know that our government has such great programs for kids to come & experience our wonderful country & all she has to offer.  It may not be perfect but, I think it's the best thing out there & it seems many other countries feel the same way.


Tracy said...

Hope that Anna has a wonderful stay, I'm sure she will :) Last year was my daughter's senior year of high school, she became best friends with an exchange student (Silje) from Norway, Her host family lived very close to us. So Silje spent a lot of time at our house. Silje was able to stay until on over in June, I cried like a baby when it came time to say goodbye to her. Her parents came so they could vacation around the U.S. before heading back to Norway with her, it was so nice being able to meet them. She is already planning on coming back to visit this coming Summer, we can't wait to see her again.

Palomasea said...

Hello Charlene! It is so fun to meet new blog friends, and I thank you so much for visiting, leaving such a lovely comment, AND following! :) It is evident that you have a most generous welcome Anna into your life and home! I was blessed to stay with a family on an exhange trip to France, and the experience was
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any help with translation...I speak Russian... ;)
Wishing a grand adventure for you and Anna!
S uvazheniyem (ask her what that means.. ;)
- Irina

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