On August 22, 2009, our daughter left for an exchange trip to Germany for the school year. The exchange was fraught with difficulty from the beginning - we were late to join up so host country choices were limited. Then, after coming to terms with England as her home for the year, a change in VISA requirements resulted in a change in host country. With Germany the only viable option, our sweet young lady decided "I will go to Germany then, because there is no F-ing way I am staying home with you another year".
Such is the precarious relationship between parents and their teens. It is far more challenging to parent a proto adult than a baby, although I am sure that I won't convince any new parent of this!
Katie left us an angry young lady, uncomfortable with her place in life, as so many 17 year old girls are. Life is difficult for so many young girls, especially ones with parents so difficult as us!
Her exchange trip was full of challenges, starting with not knowing a word of the German language, through problems being accepted at her first host family, and a bit of home sickness to boot. She rose to the challenges, and stuck the year out, and I am certain that the young woman that we will meet at the airport in 13 hours will be a much different, and much more secure and comfortable person than the one we said good bye to last August.
I feel melancholy for her having to have the great adventure come to an end. Saying goodbye is difficult, and I am sure she will miss her host family, friends and life. I am certain that she has grown so much from this experience. But I am really excited to see her, and can now say publicly how much I have missed having her here!
Welcome home, Katie!