We had the wonderful opportunity to host a couple French girls at our home in Texas this summer. They are sisters, ages 15 and 16. They traveled, for their first time, to the US leaving behind their parents, younger brother and their dreamy sea side town near Marseille. I have a feeling we hit the jackpot with these lovely girls, they baked for us, worked hard at using their english, played with our children for HOURS, helped clean up, did dishes. Yes I’ve since heard not everyones’ foreign exchange is quite as……..beneficial. The best was their overall attitude, up for anything and eager to enjoy. Touring around Dallas during the hot months of summer is far from ideal but what unexpected surprises it delivered!
When was the last time you played tour guide in your own town? Personally speaking it had been a LONG time. It rekindled a fondness I had lost for my home base, showed me new sides to a city I’ve lived in for decades, brought appreciation to the fun surrounding Dallas whether 30 minutes or 3 hours away.
The French girls marveled at the size of hamburgers they were served, at waffles shaped like the fair state of Texas, they squealed in delight at the awesomeness of Buffalo Exchange loving that their dollars could accomplish so much! They had opinions about art and music. They had ideas about what they planned to do with their lives. The girls seemed happier in museums and parks than in shopping malls. During quiet moments neither grabbed for an electronic distraction, they journaled, edited photos, sketched, napped.
As for our side of the experience, their stay was one of the greatest gifts I could have been given. Living with teenagers opened my eyes to what a truly short time it is until I have teenagers of my own; who can do things like travel to far away places all by themselves. It reminded me of the things I want them to know and practice as they grow-up. It reminded me more of what my role as their mom is……lately my role has felt like the “No Police”. Can I do this? NO. Can I have this? NO. May I eat this? NO. You get the picture, I hate that lady, everyone hates that lady, she’s so controlling! My kids require guidance, support and love, I no longer need to save them from the dangers of electrical outlets, those days have passed. I need to get with the new program if I want teenagers who will bake a pie for their foreign parent hosts’.
Merci Clem and Ro, thanks for teaching me a new language.