August 25, 2012

Welcome Mathilde!

Welcome to the Johns family, Mathilde!
We're a little bit a-lot-a-bit crazy and very different from your family in Belgium, but we know you'll love it here. I think you'll fit right in.

I used to be anxious before meeting people. Not painfully so. I never hyperventilated or threw up. Just a good healthy dose of nerves. I think I mostly faced and overcame that fear when I worked at RedCliff Ascent Wilderness Therapy Program. All field staff worked for 8 days and then had 6 days off. Everyone worked Wednesdays for staff change. Each week when I came to work, I worried about whether or not I'd like the other person I'd have to work with for the next week. 

Every week, I was surprised at how much I liked my fellow staff member. That was a good thing since at any time if any of our juvenile delinquents sensed there was a division between staff members (2 staff to 8 teens), they could turn on us and it could get dangerous. What really boggled my mind was when my fellow staff and I were from totally different backgrounds and lifestyles, yet we still had so much in common. Painted Horse was one such fellow. He had so many tattoos that he could take his shirt off and you'd never know it. The ink started at his collarbone and went down to his wrists. And here's me...I find most tattoos ugly like graffiti on an otherwise beautiful building. They look terrible when exposed by a swim suit, pair of shorts and especially a wedding dress. Regardless of my personal views on tattoos, Painted Horse and I had a great week together.

My perception of exchange students and others guests to my home stays true to my field staff day experiences. I like meeting new people. I like that Mathilde has had so many interesting experiences she can tell us about (she lived with monks for a week this past year and went to Croatia to help some bears in a nature park). Her grandmother is an American who married a Belgian man. Her great-grandfather was a director at General Motors. 

Mathilde's never done laundry before but has already learned how to use the washing machine and dryer. She plays with the kids and they crawl all over her, she's been helpful with Jett's birthday party and jumping right in to do things around the house. Plus, she's got a cute accent. We're looking forward to the new adventures the next few months will bring us. 

Welcome Mathilde! We're happy you're here.

2 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. I have a special place for Belgian exchange students. Inge was the best work out buddy I ever had :) Hope your adventures with Mathilde continue to be fun!

  2. Mathilde enjoy your stay. =] Make it a great experience. I am sure you'll have an awesome time with the Johns Family. =]


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