Friday, August 29, 2008

16 years ago . . .

Things I remember about Tom:He fit right in to our family. Anything we were doing, he was willing to do too.

We visited Rawhide and he could have passed for a real live Cowboy.
He was very easy to have around, and very respectful in our home.

When I hear songs by Prince , I still think of him.

Tom's language skills were really pretty good as a teenager, but the first week he was here, we ordered pizza and he asked for marshmallows on it (you know . . . they grow in the forest? Oh -- mushrooms!)

I have been impressed with all his world travels over the years.

Tom's mother and brother visited us and we traveled together for a few days. As we left our home on the 3rd day of their visit, Tom's mom bolted for a coffee shop. We have no coffee in our house, nor did I even think about offering any. I think she was in caffeine withdrawal by day three.

We went to the Grand Canyon in February. It was bitter cold and the entire canyon was filled with fog. Tom kept his video camera rolling all day anyway.

In a grand gesture, the sun came out and the fog cleared in a very dramatic fashion for a short time. It made it almost more impressive to see the canyon like that.

Tom made friends very easily.

Yes, Tom, I remember the 'sick stomach in the middle of the night' stain on our hallway carpet. And no, it is no longer there.

We were pretty poor in those years. Tom always had more spending money than we did and he shopped in higher class stores than we ever could.

When we were driving through the desert, we stopped to look at some local flora and fauna. Mirjam reached out to get a gentle feel of the cactus. Unfortunately, she reached out to a jumping cactus and an entire ball came off into her hand. It was a very tricky situation, very painful, and we were not prepared for it with our little first aid kit. But the thing I remember is her two sons laughing hysterically at her.
When Brady was in sixth grade, he had to do a big report on a country of his choice. Holland was an obvious choice -- we still had some wooden shoes and some cool gifts from Tom and his family around the house so Brady was set for visual aids. About 2 weeks before Brady's presentation, Tom called us and said he was going to be in the states that very week. It was a great visit, and he went to the school to help Brady give his report.

It was a fun year. Having Tom here gave us some opportunities to do some things we may not have normally done. Suzanne and another family nearby were also hosting exchange students so there was an opportunity to get together for socials with other families too. The program hosts asked us multiple times if we would take another student the next year, but we were planning on another baby and all our bedrooms would then be full.
It ended up being a good year for us to participate in the program.

Here is our goal, Tom: We want to visit Holland within the next 5 years. (well, I want to. I haven't actually mentioned that goal to Dave yet. But I know he would get on a plane tomorrow if he could.)


Lauri said...

It's interesting what we take for granted...We live in the Grand Canyon State and I have only been there once for about 5 minutes. Cactus have never interested me. I'm sure having someone here from out of the country puts a whole new appreciation on things, huh? and if Dave doesn't want to go with you, you can count me in.

by the way, love your new family photo.

Cathy said...

So very wonderful, your family picture! Someday I hope to get the 3 of us in one place at one time, I think our last family picture was when Brandon was 4! Loved your comments about your experience with Tom and I'm so glad you all continue to keep in contact!

Rick said...

Hello Cynthia, I was please to hear that you were able to use my liitle "Beam in Your Eye" doodle. I have never seen that illustrated and I thought it was begging to be drawn.

So you teach a religion class to teenagers? I have a weekly religion presentation that I have to make each Sunday - if you catch my drift. It's sort of my job.

Also, we lived in Tucson for 5.5 years. Many fond memories from the Grand Canyon State.

Suzanne Barker said...

That was SO fun to ready! I remember Tom well because I had Irena at the same time. I believe I helped talk you guys into it because I was doing it too! Tom really did adjust a lot faster and better than Irena did. She was a great girl too though. It was a fun experience and amazing to me to realize and remember how small your kids were when he was here. Maybe that was a good thing though, because they were too small to be jealous of him really.
I wish Irena stayed in touch. I'm glad I hear from Linda, my second foreign exchange student.
Tom, if you read this, great to hear from you and congrats on your beautiful family!