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Posts Tagged ‘exchange student program’

I just wanted to apologize for such a slim number of updates lately. We are now in the full swing of Christmas plans. It has been very crazy around here with both Kat and Holly having such full social calendars. We have all been sick at some point since Halloween with various illnesses. Our little exchange group has to see two of the members off this coming weekend. It will involve two separate days of driving to Savannah for us, but we want to be there, so that the students will know that yes they did touch all of our lives.

Hopefully after Christmas, I will have the time and energy to post somke updates and brag a little about how well both Kat and Holly have been doing in school and outside of school.

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Holly has decided officially to stay on through May.  She signed up for just one semester, in case she got tooo homesick, or just didn’t like the reality of America.  last night she told us all that she wants to stay here.  She has to of course go through all the channels and get her visa extended and all that paperwork. 

Holly staying gives us more time to take her to all the places we want to go.  I think we’ll go to Helen in the spring.  We’ll also try to take her to the Renaissance Festival.  Of course, we’ll also go to Disney and Epcot maybe during spring break.  Maybe we can also go to Jekyll Island, Ga. and wherever else Holly might want to see around the state.

We must be doing something right.  Herman, Katie and I have done a lot to make her feel at home.  I think it helps that she has made several friends and is involved in activities at school.  She has her first Cross Country meet this afternoon.  Katie and I are going to watch.  It is lucky that band and flag practice was cancelled because we have a no football game this week.  Katie’s boyfriend, Cameron is also coming to watch the meet. 

I’m not sure if Herman will get to be there.  He has quite a bit going on at work this month.  He leaves for Vegas for a week and then he goes to Boston for 3 days.  Even when he is in town, we haven’t been seeing a lot of him lately.  But I keep reminding myself that it always something big this time of year in the computer business.  So many businesses are updating things or moving things/data/equipment around during the 4th quarter each year.  Of course, during April and May nothing much is going on, so we get to travel and have fun then.

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Holly has now been at our house for a little over a month.  It feels like she has been here longer, but in a good way.  We seem to be trying to pack as much as possible into every day lately. Things are going very well I think.  She is fitting in nicely both at home and at school.  This week, she will run in her first Cross Country meet.  We are very excited about it.  I think she will do very well.  She is always one of the top 4 or 5 girls that finish when they run races during practice.  At the football games of course, she’s like every other teenager and doesn’t want to sit with us in the reserved section, which might as well be called the grown-up section.  She has made quite a few close friends on her own and goes off with them frequently on the weekends.  She now has a cell phone, so I don’t worry about her as much. 

We found her a small TV for her room, so she can explore the wonders of American television.  She often joins us in the living room during the afternoon and evenings to watch things, but this way, she can watch or listen to all that MTV has to offer while she does homework.  Just like every other American teenager,  I suppose.

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It has been an exciting week this week. I had to miss last week’s scrimmage game with Westside, but we won.  I’ll have to find out the exact score, but I think it was like 32-7.

Katie & Kelly visit the stands during 3rd quarter

Katie & Kelly visit the stands during 3rd quarter

Katie had her first danceline performance of the season Friday night .  It’s our first away game at Bleckley High Schoolin Cochran. Katie travelled with the band to the game and probably ride back on the bus as well.  Holly and I made the trek on our own.  It was  a good game, everyone was pumped about the win.  Swainsboro beat the Royals 27 to nothing.

Holly decided last week that she wanted to go out for the high school’s cross country team. So I took her to get her physical Monday and at tryouts, she was the second place girl.  She wasn’t even feeling well that day either. I’ll try and take some more pics at the meet.  She is quite a runner.  The coach is very happy that she came out for the team.  It seems that there aren’t many girls who like to do long distance running at the school.

SHS Cross Country team stretches after practice

SHS Cross Country team stretches after practice

Both girls are doing well in their classes.  Holly struggles from time to time with the language barrier, but it’s getting easier and easier every day.  We went to the mall on Saturday to hunt for shoes and other neccessities ( an Abercromie t-shirt, a hoodie, etc. ) .  As of today, we are still hunting for a new pair of Converse for Holly.  She knows what she wants, we just can’t find them in a store yet.  Sometimes that’s the drawback of living in a small town.

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Well, Holly has been with us a little over two weeks now.  It has been an adjustment period for everyone involved.  I have finally gotten my room all straightened out and my bathroom is back in order also.  Now I don’t feel like I am living in a hotel room.  It’s back to being an oasis in the middle of the chaos that is life with two teenage girls.

Holly and Kat went to the DEA (David Emanuel Academy) scrimmage game with Kat’s boyfriend, Cameron Friday night.  It was Holly’s first experience with high school football.  They had a good time.  DEA lost the game, but I have been told that is nothing new.

Kelley's dog's puppies a week or so after they were born

Kelley's dog's puppies a week or so after they were born

Today Kat went over to Kelley’s house to help bathe the 1 month old puppies.  Holly was going to until she was invited by another friend to go hang out, etc.  She and her friend from school went to Statesboro and saw The Dark Knight.  It was of course Holly’s second time seeing the movie.  I am glad she is making friends her own age and experiencing life like any other American teenager.

I am trying to plan a girl’s shopping trip to the Tanger outlet in Hilton Head, SC .  I want Herman’s younger sister, Mandy to come along as well.  I think we all need to go do something fun and Holly probably needs some new clothes. The agency and airline would only let her bring 2 suitcases with her.  Even if she only stays 5 months, she didn’t get to bring nearly enough clothes. 

Holly is taking U.S History and a literature course that concentrating on American authors.  This means that I am in a sense repeating U.S. History, 20 years after I graduated high school.  So far the focus of American history is dealing with Unions and the pros & cons of this on society.  I also get to repeat this next year when Kat takes it next year.

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Holly arrives tomorrow evening.  We’ll leave when Herman gets home from work to drive to the Savannah-Hilton Head Airport to meet her plane.  Well I say meet her plane, but since 9/11, of course, all we can do is wait on Level 2 in the common area.  It seems like such a long time ago, when you could go right to the gate and watch the plane land, etc.  Katie made a big poster to welcome her.  We’ve seen pictures and all, but we want to make sure she feels welcome in America.  It will be a long night, but I am very excited that this day has finally come.  Our area representative is going to meet us at the airport so he can meet her with us in case there are any questions. 

I think we are going to take all the exchange students in our area (there are 4 or 5 total) to Tybee Island next weekend.  Seth wants to take them all to the beach while it’s still warm. I guess the upper 90’s is what you’d call warm.  Because 2 of the students are girls and Seth isn’t 21 yet, all the overnight trips require an “adult” chaperone.  Herman and I will be filling in that spot.  It will be an adventure to say the least.  He also wants to take them down on River Street in Savannah .  I also thought this would give the students a chance to pick up any odds and ends they might have forgotten at home.  Swainsboro is a small town and doesn’t have much variety as far as retail shopping goes.  Savannah has two malls and plenty of shopping of every variety.

Off to bed now to rest up for tomorrow’s adventure…..

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Katie called us at 10 PM Wednesday night ( July 23)  to inform us that she placed first at the 4-h State Congress.  This means that she has gone as high as she can in her project area/category.  Her project area was Companion Animals and she did her presentation on Saving Our Animal Shelters.  Every year since 6th grade her DPA (District Project Achievement) project has been on raising public awareness for animal shelters. 

Herman and I were invited to the annual banquet on Thursday night ( July 24).  So we packed up the the suit & tie and off we went.  It was a quite a long day with driving up to Atlanta where the conference was being held.   Katie looked beautiful and we are very proud of her.  Only two other girls from our county ( Whitney Bush and Hannah Bowen ) placed first in their category.  Because she was a state winner, the three of us had to go down to the banquet and hour and a half before for pictures with our project donors and other representatives.  Emanuel County had   7 student who qualified to compete at the state competition.

The banquet was briefly delayed that evening because Governor Perdue was running a little late.  It didn’t surprise us that Judge Kathy Palmer from Emanuel County was at the banquet as she is very active in the inner workings of Georgia 4-H. She’s even on the Board of Trustees for the GA. 4-H Foundation. But I guess we didn’t think about all the other elected officials who would be attending the festivities.

It was an exciting end of the week for everyone involved.  Katie now is a Master 4-H member which from what I understand is a very elite club.  We also got to see many friends and relatives while we were at the event.  Katie saw several of Mandy’s high school & 4-h friends.  I got to talk to Brittany Kelley for a few minutes.  She knew Mandy through 4-H and we knew Britanny because her mother was Katie’s 5th grade teacher.  We also got to briefly visit with my cousin, Jenny Jordan.  She now works with 4-H on the state level.

We came home to many congratulatory phone calls and cards.  That what it’s like to live in a small town – news travels very fast.  Luckily one of her fellow 4-H members/friends, Michael Owen Henry is also a writer for the local paper ( The Forest-Blade ) , so I know it will all be reported accurately.

We’re still not sure of Holly’s exact arrival time or date.  She has been on holiday with her family the last couple of weeks.  I hope to go this week and finish getting her registered for school.  But I am glad Katie is back home again, so she can tackle her room.

She has been living out of a suitcase for the past month and a half.  Most of the summer she was home for a day or two at most in between activities and camps.  Of course it was just enough time to unpack – wash clothes – repack the suitcase and not enough time to make heads or tails of the actual condition of her room.  I would do it, but my luck I would get rid of something or other that is crucial to the day to day life of a teenager.  So why even attempt it??

Now the next time she goes with 4-H it will be for National Congress.  Way to go, Katie !!!!!

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