June 26, 2017
Carli arrived in America on July 24, 2016. Her flight landed close to 11pm and we brought a whole crew to welcome her, I believe we had 16 people waiting to greet her. We all held signs and as she came through the gate and saw all of us, she didnt miss a beat. She walked confidently right up and gave Tucker a high five. Traveling from another country by herself to live with a family that she didn't know for a whole year.......
As I sit here writing this, Carli is back home safe and sound with her family. It's hard to put into words everything that's happened during the year. Hosting an exchange student is something that I never would have thought I would do, especially with our crazy schedules at home, it always seems that me and my wife go 100mph from the moment we wake up till night time.
We have hosted two students in the last two years and I always am amazed at how quickly they adapt to our crazy life. Our first student was from Japan, Asuka, when I first saw her, I thought to myself oh boy, how is this sweet, shy young girl going to survive for a whole year in our household, but she adapted. I remember on her application that she only eats fish and fresh fruit, and no one in our family likes fish, not even a little bit, so she stepped out of her comfort zone and tried new things. I remember both students never once said no to anything while they were here, they always were open minded about trying new things, new food.
I think they both fell in love with a restaurant that we frequently visited called Cebolla's Mexican Grill, its funny but I think that they both had the same favorite dish there, "Arroz Con Pollo". Both girls were so tiny, and always tried to watch what they eat cause, well their in America. But when it came time to eat at Cebolla's, they turned into real Americans and threw down, they adapted.
As the school year started, Carli seemed confident and ready to conquer her first day of American high school. She didn't show it, but I would've been so nervous going to a new school, where I didn’t know anyone, speaking different language, all the while trying to make friends. Do all foreigners think high school in America is like that movie "High School Musical", with all the lockers and everyone sings all the time?
Here is our "first day of school" photo that the kids always look forward too. My boys definitely dressed up and tried to look nice for their first day...
I think her least favorite class was government...and let's face it, who likes the government anyways.
The next 11 months flew by fast, Carli made lots of friends, experienced American holidays, had a birthday, got a boyfriend and became part of our family.
Opening your home, family and heart to this experience is something you will never regret or forget. You'll laugh with them, help with homework, try to cheer them up when their missing thier momma, puppy and home. You'll take them to all their practices, watch their games, have long talks about important things and sometimes you might have to ask why their boyfriend was here until 4 in the morning. You'll hug them every night before bed.
These student's become part of your family, saying goodbye at the end of the year is tough.
Below are a few video's from our year with Carli, we love her a ton and wish her the best on her journey through life.
This is the day Carli left to go back home