In February of 2000, a neighbor asked my Wife if we knew anyone who could host an Exchange Student–from Sweden. Daniel had come to South Florida at the beginning of the school year; however, he was unfortunately placed with a dysfunctional Family. When my Wife told me, we quickly agreed to have him stay with us. Our Daughter was away at College, so we had a spare bedroom. Our Son was also a Senior, but at a different high school.
Daniel moved in shortly thereafter, and we certainly consider him to be a Member of our Family. He’s been back to visit us, I believe, seven times since. Four years ago, he brought his Girlfriend, Sandra, who is now his Wife, for our Daughter’s Wedding. We met Norah (now almost four years old) on the next trip, and on the most recent one, we met Alfred, who was about fifteen months old. Also, when they visit, our Daughter brings Henry, our almost two year old Grandson. So, my Wife and I really enjoy having the Little Ones around. It certainly brings back fond memories.
Daniel’s Parents spent a week or so in South Florida; so, we got to spend some time with them again, as well. Another Swedish Couple from their hometown also visited our Area over the Thanksgiving Holiday, along with their four year old Daughter, Stella, and two and a half year old Son, Nelson. As you can imagine, having five Small Children around was a most pleasurable holiday experience.
When the Children visit, my Wife digs out the toys that our Daughter or Son played with at the various ages. Barbie Dolls and My Little Pony for the Girls, garages, dump trucks and ride-on cars for the Boys. As Sandra has told us, they just don’t have those amenities at Marriott or Hilton.
Now, the two Families are joined by a Friendship that spans the Atlantic Ocean. My Wife and Daughter have been talking about visiting Sweden and, as the Children get older, if they wish to be Exchange Students–or just visit, we know that they would certainly have a country and a Family to stay with.
Having Daniel live with us fifteen years ago was truly one of the best decisions that we ever made. In fact, the Neighbor who first mentioned the fact that Daniel needed a place to stay, has also visited their former Swedish Exchange Student, also a Daniel, several times since. Hosting an Exchange Student can truly be the gift that keeps on giving! My whole Family would recommend it quite highly.