The Fall semester of school was a whirlwind at our house. With two biological high school teens (A Senior cheerleader and a Freshman marching band drummer) plus a foreign exchange student teen, our calendar was full! It wasn’t until planning out this post and creating our latest video for Youtube that I realized my feeling the need to slow down time was perfectly legit.
We started the semester out strong with “First Day of School” pics for everyone. September flew by with community service volunteering, a minor league baseball game outing, football games, marching band competitions, our oldest daughter’s 30th birthday (what?!) and our youngest daughter’s 18th!
Before we realized it, October was upon us and so were Homecoming Dances and a visit from our German “son”, David. He completed his exchange year in June, but was able to convince his parents to let him come back over Fall break to visit his former high
school friends and exchange family. It was truly a Homecoming week celebration in many ways for us this year!!
My Senior daughter, Sierra, began her college applications this fall too. So, in the spirit of supporting her choices, Leenah, Sierra and I visited Xavier University in Cincinnati. We really enjoyed their Open House event and of course, the outlet shopping we found along the way there. There is nothing like an all girls educational road trip to finish out a month.
In November, Academic Year in America sent Sierra and I to Barcelona, Spain for their National Meeting. We managed to meet up with David and his family (once again) and also extend our trip to tour Carcassone, Arles and Nice, France. It was an amazing trip to begin the month.
*Note: I was able to bring a companion with me on this business trip for the first time. My husband was super excited, until we decided that Sierra should get to be my companion She studies French and Spanish and hopes to major in International Studies in college next year. Happy 18th Birthday, Happy Graduation….and better luck next time, John ❤ #Momanddaughtertrip
November continued with International Education Week presentations (a requirement of FLEX and KLYES scholarship students) and an enhancement activity through Hale Farm’s educational programming. The exchange students got their first taste of traditional American Thanksgiving dinner and a history lesson on the holiday from Honest Abe— such fun!
We wrapped up November with Thanksgiving dinner at our house and our annual kick-off to the Christmas season… tree lighting festivals in Akron and Cleveland. Since our student, Leenah, is Muslim, this was her first time celebrating and experiencing Christmas. She told us she wanted to “see it all!” so we made time for outdoor light displays, baking cookies, shopping, shopping, and shopping.
December is always a mad dash to Christmas break and this year was no exception. We started the month with an enhancement activity in Cleveland, Ohio with 13 exchange students, several host siblings, and host parents. We were quite a group!
We learned about American entrepreneurship through making candles at the Cleveland Candle Company, experienced the joys of American diversity through a scavenger hunt and lunch at the West Side Market, visited University Circle’s CircleFest celebration of light and art, and volunteered as Santa’s elves for the Polar Express train of the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad. And that…. was all in one day !
December also the traditional end of semester band concerts, parties and gift exchanges but we topped off our exchange cluster’s first semester by seeing the touring Broadway shoe, “Mean Girls” at Playhouse Square .
Some students had dreaded Midterm exams before break and some spent their holiday from school preparing for them, but just like that… the first half of the exchange year is complete.
If you would like to get involved in hosting an exchange student for the 2020-2021 academic year, visit AYA’s website at: www.academicyear.org