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Visitors

The Rockies

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When my oldest daughter was in High School she received a Rotary scholarship to Denmark for a year.  She had sought out the experience as she wanted to be free from parents and our particular school and when she found out it was Denmark, she worried about learning such a difficult language.

The Rotarians said, “You are the one we think can handle such a tough language and learn it.”

Off she went and had a wonderful amazing year; minus the correct accent they could all understand her by the Winter Holidays.  She has been back several times for visits and the wedding of her best friend, and the arrival of children.

Not allowed to work during the ambassadors’ experience, her family was to send her an allowance each month, and we sent holiday gifts to her host families for her too.  We thought $100 a month would be what we could afford and Library Girl and I cleaned a small office building each week to send her that amount of money.   At the end of the experience, we found out that other students were receiving between $500 and $1000 a month allowances from home.  We did not know how she survived as Denmark was one of the most expensive countries.

One family in particular had taken our daughter into their lives and made sure she had some childcare opportunities and funds to go to the swimming pool, theatre, and other events; they included her in their family experience.

This family came to visit us and RV through Canada to see the wilderness, bears, and Mounties.  This visit gave us the opportunity to return the favor.  Best friend, her husband, 6 year old daughter, 3 ½ year old son and the wonderful parents/ grandparents arrived here nearly a month ago.  We went on a lovely sailboat ride to show off Puget Sound and gathered up all our camping gear to share, and then rented an SUV to get them to the spot to pick up their RV for 17 days in Canada.

Canada Day

Canada Day

Right away it felt like one’s favorite Aunt and Uncle had arrived with cousins and grandies!  Warm, gracious and happy to be off on an adventure and so ready to enjoy life and discover what their new surroundings had to offer.   We only anticipated that language would be a problem and by the time we sat down to our first meal together we were communicating first hand.

By the way, I served the Chicken Pot Pie Recipe from the Harvest Potluck e-cookbook http://patriciaswisdom.com/2009/11/harvest-potluck-unicef-fundraiser/, free from this site. Once again it was a prize winning supper and the fresh CSA (community supported agriculture) salad added to make it a feast.  Washington strawberries were at their peak and we added Danish Havarti Cheese and Rainier cherries and we were all laughing and having a good time.

It Girl joined her host family for her 2 weeks of vacation and celebrated her birthday in Canada too.  Kamloops, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper were all visited and their amazing photographs rekindled memories from my childhood. Travelling now with cell phones and wireless computers, they found even more adventures and new GPS routes to embark upon.  The children still enjoyed climbing on rocks, hiking, seeing all the wildlife and told the stories of seeing  the bears along the way.

Tak (thank you),  Selv tak (You are welcome), far (father),  mor ( mother),  bedstefader (Grandfather) and bedstemoder (Grandmother) – we all added to the conversation at the table and we all could understand what ZIP wanted right away!

The children and I decorated an ice cream birthday cake for my husband to help him celebrate his big day.   I think having children to play cars and draw with kept him from being a Gloomy Gus (The Danes work a 35 hour work week and get more vacations and can retire at age 62 and have health care!  And this was a bit overwhelming to a fellow who has to work until age 72 to break even and has had to save up vacation days for years to go on a 5 week bike tour at age 64)!

Everyone off to the airport to return home to regularly scheduled lives and Zip keeps checking all the bedrooms to see if they might be lingering there still.  10 people in the house and it felt full of life and energy.   New friends and children’s hugs created priceless memories.

Have you rekindled some old acquaintances this summer or made some new friends in this season?

Wild Rose

Wild Rose

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Related Reading:
Harvest Potluck Cookbook
A Birthday Ritual
Cascade-Siskiyou Bike Tour
Seattle to Portland Bike Ride 2009

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17 Responses to “Visitors”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. what a lovely post and so pleased you and they all had such a wonderful time. I’m certain their trip out to Canada and staying with IT’s parents must have made their stay all the more magical.

    I’d love to do the road trip one day from Lake Louise to Vancouver .. Mum and I went in the train .. and had a stop at Kamloops ..

    Just had a couple of friends from SA days here .. and we had good natters .. but they stayed in a bed and breakfast and spent two of the three days at the tennis .. the day it rained – well we …. talked and talked!

    So pleased you’ve had something to celebrate .. and can show off your cooking skills – bet they enjoyed all the food ..

    Cheers to you – happy memories .. Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Thought about 2036? – Wimbledon has …My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Hilary,
    I was a lovely experience and I wished I could have gone a long for the outdoors time too :)
    A great deal of driving and SUVs are so huge I do not understand how women run those around for all the kids events on a daily basis – exhausting

    Now trying to get caught up and figure out a vacation day or two for me :)
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Sounds like such a lovely visit! Denmark is definitely on my list of places to visit.
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Being a Mom. Why I Love It.My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Denmark is on my list too Vered!

  3. Melody | Deliberate Receiving Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    Thank you for the lovely story. I love it when different cultures come together. I’ve always lived a multi-cultural life, so never knew any better… 😉 It sounds like you had a fantastic time.

    Hugs to you and yours,
    Melody
    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..Tip the Scale in Favor of the Reality You Actually WantMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    It was a fantastic time and just what I needed. Now I need a few days off for recovery

    I did disappointment myself by gaining some weight, I got over tired
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  4. Patricia Says:

    I am truly tired today…I will be back in a bit to respond to comments, but I think I just need to take a deep breath and relax.

    Wonder how all the travelers are doing at their first day back at work?
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  5. Galen Pearl Says:

    I just wrote about visitors today, too! Not as interesting a story as yours, however!

    Patricia Reply:

    Visitors are lovely Galen and it has been a very long time since folks came to us…
    Both my partner’s brothers and their wives have come this year too and that was very nice.
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  6. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! What a lovely opportunity! We had some people from Finland that we sort of “adopted” for their two years in the US – quite a fun cultural exchange indeed! This summer we had dear friends who had retired to Nevada up to the lake in northern Wisconsin so they could cool off! Great re-kindling and re-bonding!

    Just returned myself from up north so busy catching up on all the blogs of yours I missed! Btw, my mouth was watering over your strawberries – yum – I’m waiting on mine to ripen!
    hugs
    susan

    Patricia Reply:

    The strawberries have had a very short season this year but they were magnificent, we are now on to cherries and I see the hint of blue on the blueberry bushes appearing – we are back to rain for this week? Do not know what that will mean.

    I got 5 quarts of peas in the freezer this week and truly think there are only about a dozen apples set on any of the trees – this is kind of worrisome in an orchard?

    International friends are hard to connect with but then again so worth it!

    I liked learning about their schools and their different focus on success as discovering each persons gifts and talents and then using them to help them learn and be their best
    It was a lovely visit
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  7. Todd | Channelingmyself Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    What a wonderful experience for your daughter and also for both families involved. I am shocked that some of the other students were receiving that much per month from back home. Either way, you sent what you could afford and it all worked out.

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes it did all work our Todd, and she is very resourceful now with her money and is very generous with helping where needed.

    The experience built character and strength in so many ways – I will also say that $100 a month was still lean pickings at times in such an expensive country….and she got free medical care when there and tremendous help with her allergies.

    A wonderful time was had by all
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  8. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    What an extraordinary experience – and thank you for sharing it with us.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you Laurie,
    And welcome to the site.. You had quite an experience with your recent wind storm…

    It happened on my husband’s birthday, do you suppose it was caused by his blowing out the large number of candles on his cake? I hope not
    Patricia recently posted..VisitorsMy Profile

  9. Brittany Says:

    Wow sounds like your daughter had quite an amazing experience in Denmark! It must have been really hard learning the language, hopefully she wasn’t too frustrated! I’ve heard that a lot of people speak English there and know some English, so that probably helped make it more comfortable for her at least! Sounds like the family who took care of her for the year have become good friends with you and your family as well, I’m glad to hear that. I always like meeting people from other countries and learning about different cultures, it’s fascinating.
    Brittany recently posted..Brittany the JokemasterMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Brittany,
    I think it was an amazing year and she had to take all her classes in Danish at the high school.

    We have several friends children who have done the Rotary Ambassadors program for a GAP year between high school and college – it is an adventure which creates a great deal of self esteem and confidence…within the parameters of Rotary International.
    In our neighborhood, the kids have gone to Ecuador,Brazil, Poland, Denmark, Egypt (male only), Japan, Hong, Kong, Chile,
    Greece, England, Australia, New Zealand. Most of the kids have returned for at least 1 visit to their host countries.

    It is fascinating and important for helping us get out of our little corners of the world.

    Have you heard of Cottey College? It is a small women’s college full of exchange students and women who want to be professionals – They also have an incredible oversees program
    and huge scholarships. One of my daughters and I both graduated from there. A hidden secret!