Don't you love saying that name? It's so chic and foreign. Oh la, la.
Javier in 1992. He shaved his head because he was a member of the BHS swim team.
But seriously, Javier was one of our three foreign exchange students. He came from Uruguay to stay with my family in 1992; I was 13. We had a lot of fun with Javo, as we called him. It was sort of like having a big brother which means we giggled and set farts on fire and fought. Sometimes a lot.
A visit to Mount Rushmore. So Javo had NO hair but that's okay because my sister and I had enough early 90's hair for the whole family!
I had an easier time adjusting to Javo than my sister did because I didn't go to the same school. At my old high school, FES's weren't seen as exotic hotties. Nope--they were more like diversity lepers in a sea of white, rural snobs (sorry if you went to BHS). Anyhow, my sis was ultra social butterflyish and Javo put a damper on the party scene for her. Add to that the laundry incident and it's no wonder she and Javo didn't have a great rapport.
FYI, after two weeks of living with us, Javo took his laundry, dropped it on my sister's bedroom threshold, and told her to do it. Bad idea for three reasons:
A. We'd been doing our own laundry since we were 7. You wash it, you wear it. It's a family thing.
2. My sister hates doing laundry, even her own. She probably would give a dog a kidney before she'd do someone else's laundry. And I don't blame her!
D. All 16ish high school girls are budding feminists. Do your own darn laundry!
(Anyone catch that Home Alone connection above?)
Anyhow, I loved having foreign exchange students! Even when we argued I cherished the experience.
Javier from Uruguay front left and Keisuke, our other FES on the front right pose with the other 1992 BHS Fes's on graduation day!
My folks were great to FES's too. We took them all over WY and SD, and MT, and Canada and showed them what a truly dysfunctional American family looked like. And my family must have made an impact because 2 of the 3 exchange students have come back to visit us. Coni was with us in 1996, came back in 1998 and then again last November. Javo was with us in 1992, back in 1999, and back again RIGHT NOW! He's a cardiologist married to a pediatrician. He has one son and a daughter set to debut in June.
Our FES's are coming back to say bye to our "mom" who is battling CADASIL. I find it very moving that they care so deeply about her and my family that they financially sacrifice to spend time with us.
Mom, Dad, Coni, Matt and Reagan on Thanksgiving Day, 2009.
So what do I think about FES's? It think the experience is life changing. And probably more for the host family than the student.
Open your hearts and homes to FES's. You'll be glad you did!