You can understand why we shortened her name to Soony (with her permission) within the first few days of her arrival.
In the spring of 1989 we were asked by the music professor at the local community college if we'd consider being a host to a foreign exchange student for the following school year. After much discussion, we decided that we would. I had worries about it at first due to it being our oldest daughter's senior year in high school. I didn't want her to feel that she'd be tied down by having to entertain someone during one of the most important years of her life. I need not have worried about this because Trish took things in stride and made sure that they both had a good year.
Soony fit in and became a part of our family from the very first day. We'd spent a lot of time with our coordinator and other families going over such things as culture shock and language problems, but Soony seem to skip right through all of that. I can remember only one time when she came home from school crying because she felt she really didn't understand what the English teacher expected of them. She wasn't satisfied with getting by, even though that year of school didn't count for anything for her in her country. I helped her for a week or two and that was all that she needed to go on with it.
When time for graduation rolled around, her parents came over from Holland and spent two weeks with us and her aunt and uncle who'd immigrated to the US many years prior also came for a few days. It was fantastic being able to meet her family since many of the host families don't.
In August, 1995 James and I went to Holland to visit for 16 days. We went somewhere different every day we were there and since the German and Belgium borders were very close we also spent some time in those countries.
Danielle has been back to visit 3 times since she lived with us that 10 months 14 yrs ago and during her last visit (which was a total surprise to me) I promised her that when she decided to marry I'd be there for the wedding.
Now I have to keep my promise. I must apply for a new birth certificate and passport since mine were lost in the fire but I think she's given me plenty of notice and lots of time to think of a really great wedding gift.
A windmill outside of Stein, near Maastricht.