Our family has embarked on a new and exciting journey. We have welcomed a new member to our crew! In early August, a 15-year-old German boy flew across the globe to join our family and live in Texarkana for the next eleven months as an exchange student!

People have asked me, “How in the world did this all come about?” I credit my friend Lacey McCulloch for helping to make it all fall into place. While spending the day together, Lacey mentioned she had received a text from Jayme English about hosting an exchange student. When she read me the text I responded with, “That sounds fun!” Lacey shared my contact with Jayme and within two weeks of my first conversation with Fred and the boys, we committed to hosting a student and adding a teenager to our family for the school year. I am a little impulsive and always down for an adventure. My steady family members and friends are left scratching their heads regularly.

Finding the right student who would fit into our busy lives was an adventure of its own. George, my nine-year-old, had the best time scanning student information sheets to figure out each person’s favorite sport (because, of course, that’s the most important factor when choosing a new family member). Both of my boys voiced their opinions, and what they really wanted was a “big brother” for the family. It did not take long for us to settle on Anton. He seemed like the most perfect fit for our excited family.

A year is a long time and leaving the comforts of home is never easy. I already admire Anton for stepping away from everything and everyone he knows and the normalcy of his routines for an opportunity to learn and grow. Can you imagine being 15 years old and moving across the globe to live with strangers? Could you see yourself leaving behind your family, culture and country to enroll in a completely different education system where only your second language is spoken? I am amazed at his courage and commitment to this adventure.

As the time drew closer for him to arrive, the logistical implications of adding another kid to our crew began to sink in. He would be another boy with a busy schedule and activities and places to get to and from. I’m learning that the high school
back-to-school supply list is different than the fourth and fifth-grade lists. We will have a teenager who will get to experience his first pep rally, American football game, homecoming dance and all the other fun festivities of high school. There will be so many brand-new adventures for all of us and we are ecstatic to experience each one. As we are learning each other’s customs, routines and a new way of life, we are building a bond that we hope to carry for a lifetime.

Home is more than a place. It is more like a state of mind that, in the best cases, evokes feelings of safety and security, warmth and welcome, and a place for each occupant to feel a sense of belonging. As we are welcoming a new family member and endeavor to create that type of space and experience for him, we hope you will enjoy getting an inside look into the incredible homes featured in this month’s issue of Texarkana Magazine. Don’t miss our special section highlighting some of Texarkana’s Most Beautiful Homes. Whether mine, yours or the neighbor’s, as the saying goes, “there is no place like home!”


 

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