Friday, January 31, 2014

Another unwanted milestone!

This is the weekend I say farewell to these 2 wonderful girls:
(Elly (left) and Ayaka (right)

Ayaka's been with me for a year, and she's been a great house daughter.  Although I'm sorry that she's leaving me, she is only going to another part of the province; so I'll see her again which makes saying goodbye to her much easier.

But Elly been with me for 3 years.  That's a lifetime in teen years!  She was 15 year old when she arrived; she had little confidence in herself and could hardly speak or understand English.  She struggled the first semester with making friends except for the other Korean girl in school.  She would sometimes fall asleep in class and was unresponsive to her teachers -- 'cause she didn't know what they were saying or how to express herself.  Her idea of a spending spree was a trip to the Dollar Store and coming home
with a bag full of hair accessories and candy bars.  She never went out to the movies; she never watched English TV.  We'd go on day trips, and she'd sulk for the first 1/2 hour because she wasn't allowed to bring along her I-phone or Game Boy.  But I let her know in those first 5 months that if she was serious, then I was committed to helping her overcome the hard spots.  And she has rewarded me with her success.  

Over this 3 year period together, we've had lots of fun evenings full of card games and weird Korean snacks.  We've had fantastic day trips together where we spent too much money on clothes and delicious food.  We've had long, long talks about & boys & sex & the pain of having periods; about love & family & duty; about drinking & smoking & drugs; about education & travel & prejudice -- we've talked it all!   We've had some disagreements and gotten on each others nerves.  Her room is always a mess, even 2 hours after she's tidied; she never quite finishes cleaning the kitchen when it's her turn to do the dishes; and you can rely on the last of her laundry still being in the dryer when you go to do your wash.  The bathroom mirror is flecked with toothpaste and you have to wipe around the sink ('cause she's obviously almost drowned in it while she's been washing).  She spends too much time on the computer and, although she's respectful enough NOT to answer it, her phone constantly beeps and rings throughout meals.  When I ask her to do something, she'll do it ...... after a 3-5 min pause to let you know who's really in charge!  I love the way she's outspoken with her friends, 
even if her opinion differs from theirs.  I love how she knows her worth as a woman and will often tell other girls how they should be treated by their boyfriends.  I love how she'll always say yes to dessert (and how we are both going to cut back "tomorrow").  And I love how quickly she became aware of my tastes and how she's soooo generous and always buys me the perfect gifts.  She knows me very well ... and I her.  She has truly become my daughter!

She taught me so much about being not just a host-mother to international kids, but about being a better mother in general.  She has an amazing sense of humour and we always get each others jokes.  She helped to teach me to cook Korean and was always positive about every dish I tried, even the crappy ones.  And she taught me to re-think what I didn't like in my younger years because I may find it different now.  (And she's right!)  We share a love of adventurous eating, luxurious skin care products, zombie movies, shoes, dark chocolate, spicy foods and many other things. Neither of us will take guff from people, no sirree! As a matter of fact, she's a lot like "her mother".  

About the only thing I won't miss is her occasionally pouncing out from behind things and making me jump ... and cry.  Doesn't she understand how old I'm getting to be?

I'm confident that our goodbye isn't forever.  And if she gets accepted to the Canadian college of her choice, she could come home to NS for Christmas and/or I could go visit her in the big city more even more eating adventures.  

But how am I going to get through the next few months until I get used to life without her?  My heart is so full of pride and sadness.


Wisewebwoman said...

How beautifully written is this?

I got to know this young woman through your writing, what a blessing she has been to you as you've been to her!!


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Oh, that is a hard one. I felt pain each time one of my children left home, but oh how proud I was of them for taking the leap. I am sure you will always be family to her and will be in her life forever.

Janet said...

A beautiful tribute to your 'daughter' and a wonderful look into the 'mother'! It will be a bittersweet weekend, Sandy - take care :)

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful, I've never even heard about being a host mother before.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It would be very hard to come to a country where you din't understand the language. I'm sure you made her stay much easier than it might have been. How on earth you two communicated is beyond me. You are a special lady to take these girls into your home.

WendyMcLeodMacKnight said...

Wow, what a beautiful, wonderful, heartbreaking, post! What a fabulous thing you have done, taking in these girls, and what gifts they've given you!

Pamela Gordon said...

A sweet tribute to your Elly I'm sure you will really miss her. It's wonderful that she was with you for 3 years. Do you have more students coming soon?

sabine said...

A wonderful post Doris! I feel how close you are to each other. I wish your girls all the best for their new independent life. You prepared them well.
Sabine xxx


What a beautiful tribute to both girls. Although it won't be the same I am sure you will always have a relationship with these young women and be an important part of their lives.

Kay said...

Sandy, you are so wonderful to have taken these girls under your wing. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to be a host mother and you are amazing! Those girls were very lucky to have you.

Fat Dormouse said...

From what I have read here, you were lucky and blessed to know these girls, and they were lucky and blessed to know you.

To paraphrase what someone said after my dad's death:
Do not be sad that they are going
Only be grateful for the knowing...

A little trite perhaps, and slick, but true at least in part. You can't help being sad though!

Kathleen Grace said...

What a beautiful tribute to your time together and the love that has developed between you! I hope she will get into that college and be able to spend some time with you!

Gardeningbren said...

It made my eyes hurt when I read feeling so sad and sharing your heart with your readers. So touching and loving.

Will you get another host daughter do you think? I think it is a most admirable accomplishment, being a mother in this way. B.