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BS: Anyone had an exchange student?

CamiSu 25 Aug 00 - 01:23 AM
Sorcha 25 Aug 00 - 01:44 AM
Joe Offer 25 Aug 00 - 02:40 AM
folk1234 25 Aug 00 - 10:07 AM
paddymac 25 Aug 00 - 11:21 AM
radriano 25 Aug 00 - 11:24 AM
MV 25 Aug 00 - 11:56 AM
SandyToes 25 Aug 00 - 12:02 PM
Mark Clark 25 Aug 00 - 12:59 PM
Mrrzy 25 Aug 00 - 02:28 PM
Downeast Bob 25 Aug 00 - 02:51 PM
Little Hawk 25 Aug 00 - 07:18 PM
Elise 25 Aug 00 - 09:25 PM
CamiSu 26 Aug 00 - 09:08 PM
Little Hawk 26 Aug 00 - 09:45 PM
Sorcha 26 Aug 00 - 10:13 PM
CamiSu 27 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM
Sorcha 27 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Miss Emily Gorgonzola Fishlap Weezleburn 27 Aug 00 - 12:46 AM
Sorcha 27 Aug 00 - 01:25 AM
GUEST,Bob from Toledo (Not Elected Yet) 27 Aug 00 - 01:38 AM
CamiSu 28 Aug 00 - 11:36 AM
Wavestar 28 Aug 00 - 09:44 PM
CamiSu 22 Sep 00 - 12:04 AM
Bagpuss 22 Sep 00 - 07:05 AM
GeorgeH 22 Sep 00 - 10:12 AM
CamiSu 23 Sep 00 - 06:35 PM

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Subject: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: CamiSu
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 01:23 AM

I know this is WAY off subject, BUT, I am picking up 2 AFS students tomorrow, no today, and am a bit nervous about the whole thing. We had a temp student last year who was a bit of a disaster, very young, very homesick, and couldn't conceive of living in a town of 900 and not having a TV! Anyhow, one of these kids is for a year, and the other one may be if he wishes. This was sprung on us a bit quickly--two weeks ago AFS called us--and I could use all the advise anyone has.... Thanks!

Camiwhowonderswhatshehasdone!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 01:44 AM

UH Oh! Never had one, as my physical dwelling does not meet the requirements, but have heard stories both GREAT and (very)BAD about them. Must admit, mostly VERY GOOD. Hang in there, you can always call AFS and send them home if they are VERY VERY bad, like, suicidal, REFUSE to admit Cultural Differences, etc. Actually, I think it would be fun, if my bedroom/bathrooms met the requirements.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 02:40 AM

My sister is some sort of area coordinator for AFS south of Boston, so she's had exchange students for years. Most of her experiences have been good ones, but she had a couple students who were spoiled brats. On the whole, it has been a wonderful experience for her whole family. All three of my sister's kids have been to Thailand with AFS.
As far as I've seen, AFS seems to be the best of the exchange student organizations - possibly because it's so heavily staffed with volunteers instead of underpaid employees.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: folk1234
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 10:07 AM

Way back in the mid-80s we hosted two 16 year old French boys for a summer (We asked for one or 2 girls, but only boys were available). Our daughters were 13 & 14 at the time. One boy was great, while the other was a little spoiled. Nevertheless, we had a good time and our daughters had big brothers for a summer.
In 1989 when our older daughter went away to college, our HS senior daughter decided she wanted an exchange student. She made all of the arrangements and selection and we hosted an 18 year old young man from Sweden for the entire school year. He boasted quite a bit about his homeland, which didn't sit to well with my wife and my daughter. It didn't bother me. In fact, I liked him very much. He was a guitar player (I was just learning at that time) and a good athlete. He integrated well into our HS, played soccer and dated several girls.
All-in-all, these were a good experiences for us. There certainly has to be some give-and-take to make the most of the exchange.
Just last week we received a post card from our Swedish student. We had lost contact over the past 7 or 8 years. We were glad to hear from him and look forward to seeing him again, this time as a 30 year old adult!
Go for it - you'll have a wonderful time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: paddymac
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 11:21 AM

Back in my married days, and when my two boys were young (6-8 or so) we had a girl and then a boy from Colombia. It was a private thing, arranged by a mutual friend. It was a grand experience all the way around. My kids loved having a "big sister" and then a "big brother". Later I hosted a kid from Europe and that just didn't work out at all. Whether it does or doesn't work isn't a question of origin, but a question of basic personality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: radriano
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 11:24 AM

I saw one I liked but she already had a boyfriend.

Radriano


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: MV
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 11:56 AM

Yes, I've had lots of experience with young people from other countries. When I taught French, I had either young French-speaking people or Spanish-speaking people in my home and have generally had great times. I will give me e-mail addy if you want to contact me for particulars and specific advice. kimmllmv@interl.net


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: SandyToes
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 12:02 PM

My parents sponsor a child from south america. she came for a 90 day trial period. the only problems we ran into...is she spoke no english and they spoke very very very little spanish...uno, dos..a spanish dicitonary came in very handy and knowing the spanish teacher at the local school. she came from a very poor area of south america and it was hard at first for her to adjust. my father spoiled her. she gained 25 pounds while here. suggestion: make sure one of the two of you can speak the other's language. if they are not use to a higher way of living...don't spoil them too much...they do have to go back to their way of living. otherwise, it was nice meeting her and getting to know her. good luck in your adventure and the best of wishes.

SandyToes


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 12:59 PM

We hosted a young man from the (then) newly independent Georgian Republic for a whole year. It was a wonderful experience all around. He was sponsored by the Senator Bradley's program to bring kids from former Soviet countries. They had to compete accademically for the chance to come so they were well prepared and very bright. He loved to play basketball (biggest hero was Michael Jordan) and soccer. He was well liked at school and an accademic achiever too.

Our daughter, a high school senior at the time, was ambivalent but accepted him as a family member. We had no problems and still talk with him from time to time. One day we plan to visit Georgia and meet his family.

I've heard that success can depend on the agency mediating the exchange and the circumstances under which students are selected. For some, it can be a way for monied students to spend an "unsupervised" year away from home. I think a selection process based primarily on accademic merit is important. Naturally the student and host family must be fluent in some common language.

I think it's important for host family members to be completely together on the decision before starting the process. Host families also need to treat the student as family, not as a guest. That means the same love, respect, travel, gifts, parties, accolades, and oversight that other family members receive. Don't make your student feel like an outsider in any way. Some host families find out too late that they are not truly prepared to make room in their hearts and lives for a new grown person.

Oh, and it's going to be expensive. We didn't ask our student to pay for extra things that we would normally provide for our own children. To do so would have set him apart in an awkward way. Sometimes he asked to be allowed to contribute and when he did that, we generally, though not always, accepted.

Hope this helped.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 02:28 PM

Never had exchange students but I have had "stagiares" (kind of like interns). They come for a summer job, rather than for a school year. All experiences so far positive - perhaps people looking for work are different than people looking for school, although the ages and backgrounds were, I'd think, similar. We've had several Frenchwomen, a Turk, and somebody from somewhere that used to be the Soviet Union. All spoke some English, which I would think would be an absolute requirement for an exchange student - what do they expect to learn in school if they can't follow the lesson?

Bottom line, I've heard horror stories too, but a) they are more fun to tell than success stories, and b) they are far outnumbered by those success stories. I'd say Worth The Risk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Downeast Bob
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 02:51 PM

We had one full-time AFS exchange student from Germany for a year and we've hosted other young visitors from France during the summer. This all came about after our daughter went to the Czech Republic as an AFS exchange student. Later, we began hosting adult visitors who had come to America, mostly on business-sponsored exchanges. We've had them from Turkey, Russia, and several from Japan. Some were more fun than others, but all of it was worthwhile. The daughter who went to the Czech Republic didn't get along too well with her host family, but moved in with another family later and all was fine. Like the rest of life, it's usually pretty damn fine, especially if you do your best to make it work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 07:18 PM

I am not about to reveal my sexual indiscretions on this website... Ha!

Actually, I was an exchange student once to Mexico...a long time ago. I recommend exchange students. They are usually fine people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Elise
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:25 PM

When I was a kid we had two exchange students. First we had a German boy who was great and then a French boy I detested. Overall it was a terrific experience both times. Even though I didn't like the French kid, I did learn alot of French (he refused to speak English for a while). My mom's kept in touch with them, and we visit back and forth once in a while. The German and his mom came out for my wedding.

I was an exchange student for a summer once. It was great, but health issues and home sickness kept it from being all I had hoped.

I think you're really lucky. I hope to be able to host students someday!


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: CamiSu
Date: 26 Aug 00 - 09:08 PM

I've picked up both boys yesterday, and right now they are at the local drive-in a couple of miles from here. I feel utterly drained and almost ready to cry. One boy is from the west coast of Norway and is 18. He is quite horrified that we don't drink any alcohol, and really wanted something a bit more urban. (Our town is 900 people and our HS senior class - from 4 towns - is 20) He was in temporary home for 2 weeks. The other boy is fresh from Austria and probably very tired, but doesn't admit it. His english isn't so good but both boys speak German as their first language, and are bonding. Unfortunately it is turning into a bit of us and them, and Axel says his father will make sure he gets into a family he wants. (He is our temp, though I told him he could stay if he wished) I feel a bit like they walk through the door and decide that our home is NOT where they want to be. I know that it takes time to adjust. I lived with a Turkish family in Cyprus, and it was not always easy, but I do feel that you need to give it a chance. For crying out loud, I had one sister who was under medication for depression, I think, and tried to commit suicide while I was there, and yet I can say that overall it wasa very good experience. (I also spent a great deal of time all by myself in a house on an army base) I know Leiv feels he has done hte rural thing as a kid and now wants more... and I'm rambling.

I really appreciate your comments. Do you remember what you did at the beginning when things were rough? I know my stay was sometimes hard on me and probably much more so on my Anne (mother). But I do seem to recall wanting to enjoy the experience as an experience, not as exactly what I planned...

Thanks so much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Aug 00 - 09:45 PM

On my recent trip to Cuba there were 10 high school students in the group, mostly girls. About 4 or 5 of them had trouble adjusting...to the food, to the "poverty" (which ain't nothin' compared to Mexico! So I thought it was just great in Cuba), to the lack of modern sanitation in some places, to homesickness. By the 3rd or 4rth day it just clicked for them, and they started to really like the place and to make good friends among the young Cubans. It was a real turnaround, if ever I've seen one.

I sincerely hope that it works out the same for your visitors.

I can understand the boy being upset about the alcohol thing. There are no liquor laws in Cuba either, and I noticed that the young people there have a good deal less trouble with it than teenagers in Canada and the USA...which tells you something. Oppress people and treat them like babies, and they will act out against that oppression...often to their own peril.

However, there's nothing you can do about our liquor laws. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Aug 00 - 10:13 PM

Oh man.......you got probs, CamiSu. Give them a week at least to sort it out. Maybe longer. IME, (in my experience, which is nil, personally) the French are the worst, with the Northern Scandi's 2nd. Remember, they have to get over Jet Lag, and come to grips with Homesickness. All of the French FSs I have dealt with have had serious problems with depression; maybe a cultural thing? And, the Northern Scandinavians are not far behind. I think I read somewhere that Finns have the highest suicide rate on the planet........(correct me here ?)

Try to be a Parent, not a Buddy......and the alchohol thing is very difficult for most European juviniles....possibly serve it in your home, but forbid it OUTSIDE your home because that is the Law of the Land? (as in, "Sorry, hon, we know what it is like at home, but do you really want to be sent home in disgrace because you violated the law here, as an Exchange Student?)

Little Hawk, I know just what you are saying about liquor laws elsewhere.........and we do pay for our laws, don't we?

And, I haven't been truly homesick since I was 8. Wanted to GO home and BE home, but not truly homesick. Try to tell them it's an Adventure that will come to an end.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: CamiSu
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM

Actually Sorcha the drinking is my personal thing. I don't drink, we don't serve alcohol in our home, and that is how I raised my kids. I didn't tell them it was horrible, though they only had to look next door, my neighbors have been sober for 10 years now, and 2 more wonderful people I have yet to meet. (They aren't holier-than-thou angels, but real, vital, homorous people, and true delights. But before Allan stopped drinking we had nothing in common.)

My daughter is a member of a Dartmouth fraternity, the one the most tolerant of non-drinkers, and my son is finding out that a glass of wine with dinner in France can be very nice, but feels no need to drink. However, I would expect a Norse man to understand a bit about alcoholism, being so close to the arctic circle, which I have also heard has the highest alcoholism rate in the world.

But I just got back from going to get them at the drive-in, and they had disappeared. I was frantic, and when I got home they were there, having met another AFSer from Norway and gotten a ride home with her. Leiv had missed the fact that I had said I would come back at the end of each movie to get them... I didn't strangle them, but they did understand that they need to listen when they say OK, and English wasn't the culprit, because Leiv's is excellent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 12:42 AM

Hang in there, girl (oops, womon), you can do this....just hang in, and continue being a Parent!! A parent who has values and Judgements, and will USE them!!

I am, and I do, all the time! Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with value judgements!! I say, "So, your point is............." a lot. Do these children WANT you to have to send them home? I don't think so..........


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: GUEST,Miss Emily Gorgonzola Fishlap Weezleburn
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 12:46 AM

I'm not sure most people who have exchange students are ready for real people. Don't think about how groovy it would be to have a teenager from Denmark living in your home for a year.... Think about what it would be like to have any teenager living in your home for a year. They might be screwed up. They might get lonely. They might get bored. They might have issues you are not ready to deal with. They have families back home you know nothing about. They have hopes and aspirations that don't quite match your ideas of what youth should be into. Just be careful. It can be wonderful, if both parties behave as if they are ambassadors. P.S. Just remember the code of the road. If any of you remember it


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 01:25 AM

Guest, Miss Emily, you got it in one!! Teen agers are most likely to be teen agers with Teen probs no matter where they are fom! Just be prepared for Teen Probs if you are a Host Parent!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: GUEST,Bob from Toledo (Not Elected Yet)
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 01:38 AM

Grow up. They're kids, and that's that. It doesn't matter where they're from. Yes, you have to explain the rules here ( alcohol, etc.) but that doesn't make them aliens. If you are not friends with your own kids, you'll never be friends with an exchange student. They came here to make friends. Did you think it was for the educational opportunity? Write to their parents, send them a card, or something. You must treat them like your own, or there is no point in them being here. If they feel you have an interest in them, and an interrest in their family and are willing to keep contact, it will be easier. For instance, if you get to know the parents a little, just by phone... Junior gives you a hard time,you can call France and say " hey, is it alright if I ground him? " " What are you doing whe she gets this way ?" "Ass-whuppin' time?" Can they talk to you about girls or boys, in their own way, not like your own kids , and you can listen? One year is forever. Think about it. Corazon


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: CamiSu
Date: 28 Aug 00 - 11:36 AM

Thank you all. We did have a bit of a chat last night, after I managed to shake most of my headache. I have gone the route so far with two of my own and several of other peoples. (many of you know Wavestar, she is my second child and only daughter) By and large we do pretty well. One of my 'almost mine' is a kid who's sure all of his problems are because he's gay, and we keep telling him that all teens have these probs and it's mostly his intensity that seems to make it worse. Our home is still his safe house when he's feeling suicidal.

So I do know a fair amount about dealing with teens. It's just that they are from around here and don't have the added factor of "this place is SO out in the sticks! I want to be somewhere else!!!" as well as the fact I wasn't sure I was ready for this. I didn't apply to be a host parent, I was called by AFS International and asked "Please!" I know we'll make it, but really needed your comments and support. Having been an AFSer I now have so much more sympathy for my Turkish mother, who couldn't talk to me, but cried when I left and who I learned some neat stuff from.

However, guest, Bob, these kids' motives are as individual as the kids themselves, and are many times to get to this golden land that turns out to be not much like the movies. The kid I had as a temp last year DIDN'T want to be in the country, thought only cities were good and had really come on the urging of his uncle in the US who figured it would "make a man out of a baby" (that quote to us from said uncle) and was quite miserable and COLD for a long time. He did manage, but his sister hated him and the girls in the HS he ended up at got a bit tired of him hitting on them. I could wish sometimes that someone would tell these kids that most of us who have room don't live in the most exciting places.

Thanks especially Sorcha, and you might find that the exchange people are vrey flexible about living arrangements these days, perhaps a bit TOO flexible. (I wish you lived closer, lady!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Wavestar
Date: 28 Aug 00 - 09:44 PM

Bob from Toledo, I would thank you to watch the way you talk to my mother. She was not deserving of your scorn. I can assure you that it doesn't matter to her where kids are from, what language they speak, or even whether or not they are hers - She's always supportive, loving, and a friend. And she has always listened to all the kids around her, and I've brought home a lot of strays, believe me.

The other thing to consider is that it's not always so easy to "call France" and talk to Junior's parents. Part of the point of AFS and exchange programs is that there is a division between the student and their home, and they have to learn to deal with their host family on their, and our own terms, without constant mediation. The problem, in this case, is that THEY haven't been willing to try and talk with us, not that we haven't been listening or trying.

A year is forever - but everything takes a little time. And manners are ALWAYS appropriate. Especially to my mother, in front of me. Be glad you didn't say that IRL. -Jessica


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: CamiSu
Date: 22 Sep 00 - 12:04 AM

I hope this is OK to do, but thought I'd thank you all for your thoughts and let you know what has happened.

The older boy, who was from (Rural) western Norway has gone back to AFS camp near Albany. He has made some of the people in the office a bit unhappy, as when things didn't go exactly as he had planned he yelled at one gal and threatened to sue her (!!) *giggle* He is fine one day, moody the next etc. (Real typical, except for the part about ALWAYS thinking he knew more than anyone else, though that sometimes comes with the territory when one is 18...)

BUT the other boy, Axel, who comes from a VERY wealthy Austrian family, and really truly thought he was middle class, (he was comparing himself to Saudi Princes) has come out of his shell since Leiv left (yesterday) and we have spent most of the time he has not been in school talking. And after waiting through a long call from my husband, he asked if he could stay the year with us! His father had been telling him that his viewpoint was very narrow and he suddenly (and really quite quickly) decided he was right, and here might be a great place to find out about the real world. I'm almost giddy, and looking forward to a great, though maybe not an easy, year.

Cami whoishopingsheisuptothetaskandlookingforwardtothejoy


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 22 Sep 00 - 07:05 AM

I was on a Spanish exchange when I was at school. A spanish girl came over for a month, then I went back to Spain with her for a month. We had a fantastic time and we are still friends. We had no problems at all, because Pilar was such a great girl who was willing to give anything a go. On her first night here she came to a ceilidh I was playing at and loved it. The funniest moment we had was when she was reading some english books, and she didn't understand some of the words, so we all acted them out for her - like charades. The funniest one was explaining "widow".

So, rest assured it can be great fun for all involved.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 22 Sep 00 - 10:12 AM

House rules are house rules . . It's your house and they MUST be your rules. Lay that down straight and firm, don't bend on it one inch.

With that basis - and only with that basis - you can be as sympathetic and understanding as possible.

BTW - to counter some broad generalisations above - of our various exchange persons the best and easiest of the lot was a Scandanavian. And our summer tour of Germany was staying with/visiting past exchange persons (plus my wife's "penfriend" of about 35 years standing . . )

And having had some experience of the organising of such programmes, I have to say that IT APPEARS that your local AFS (whatever that is - I've no idea) did a dreadful job with the placement of the Norwegian boy. Just don't feel bad about how that turned out!

G.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone had an exchange student?
From: CamiSu
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 06:35 PM

George,

There IS no local here. We're working straight with the Springfield office. Last year they asked for a temp home for someone and we got Javier from Venezuela. Too young, very homesick, and here for bad reasons.

This year they asked if we'd consider a year placement. I must admit I was wondering if I was the wrong choice, and if I ought to say "No" to the kid they were going to send after Axel left, when Axel said he'd like to stay the year with us. I am somewhere between ecstatic and terrified. I know it won't be easy, and thank God my household is fairly full of humor. I'd not have survived this long were it not, as organized is NOT a really good description. (Actually, the advisor from Lebanon, NH said it was "very unconventional"....)

CamiSu


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Mudcat time: 22 October 12:19 PM EDT

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