On a cold, wet day in Germany, I went with Ulrich, Jonathan, and Doug to a museum. This is where I would face almost all of my greatest fears in one shot.
I am very afraid of heights, don’t like enclosed spaces, and am not fond of walking around on rooftops. At the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany, they have an Air France Concorde, and a Russian Tupolev (their version of the Concorde) mounted on the roof of the museum. You have to walk on the roof, and up a circular staircase in order to go inside the planes. Once inside, you can walk all the way up to the cockpit. It is really deceiving…you think you should be walking level, but it is an uphill hike. The planes sway just a bit when there are people walking around, which didn’t help my nerves much. But, I DID IT! I faced my fears, and I am so glad I did!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! I have stamps in my passport! This past holiday season was spent traveling in Europe to spend the holidays with family and friends. We were so excited to spend Christmas day with my brother and his family in Italy, and New Years Eve and New Years Day with Viktoria and her family in Germany. Viktoria was our exchange daughter in 2010-2011. We met her parents, and now the rest of her family (we’re missing one sister and boyfriend in the photo, but we did get to spend time with all of them).
I have so many things I want to share with you about our trip, but first, I need to calm down the jet lag, and start thinking clearly again! Until then, let me just wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!
I love my German daughter, Viktoria! She lived with us during the 2010-2011 school year as a participant in International Experience, an exchange student program.
Jonathan and I had wanted to host a foreign exchange student, but also wanted to wait until the girls were older. When it was time, we filled out an application, and after we were accepted, we needed to go through profiles and choose our top 3. Both Jonathan and I kept looking at Viktoria’s profile, and put her on our list. Little did we know how good of a choice that would be!
When you host an exchange student, there are certain hoops you must jump through. Home inspection, back ground checks…many of the same types of things we have gone through to become foster parents. As a mom, it is comforting to know that the families have been checked out to make sure the students are in a safe environment. We sent photos to Viktoria and her family of our house, her room, and us…hoping that she would be okay living on the farm.
Finally, the day of her arrival came. We went to the airport to meet her flight, nervously waiting. Would she like us? Would we get along well? We had heard plenty of horror stories, and were a bit worried about how this year would go. When Viktoria got to baggage claim, we were so happy to finally meet her. We got the awkward greetings out of the way, and started heading for the van. Getting to know Viktoria was easy. Her English was perfect! I was so afraid that we wouldn’t be able to understand each other. It turns out that our Minnesotan confused her more at first than her accent confused us. Apparently, the term “hot dish” doesn’t translate well.
I love Viktoria’s compassion for others, her gift of song, and her positive personality. She loves to tease just as much as the rest of us, yet she also knows when to be a friend who just listens. She touched many lives while she was living with us, from fellow students to members of our church. She has a beautiful singing voice, and was able to be the soloist for Anna’s wedding this summer. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be here in person, but thanks to technology, she was still able to sing for Anna and Doug.
Viktoria has come back to see us once after her exchange experience ended. Now it is our turn to go see her! We’re pretty excited to be able to visit her and her family soon! After hosting her parents for just over a week at the end of her stay with us, I am really looking forward to seeing them as well! I am so thankful that Jonathan and I decided to host an exchange student, and because of that, we have a daughter in Germany.