Most recently, she's had to book her flight back home, which she's scheduled to leave at the very end of June, and I've already considered how different life will be for me, yet again, when she leaves me. I've gotten used to not being alone, and in a few months' time, the house will be quiet without a teenager under my roof. (This time last year, I'd sit in the silence of my home.)
People have already asked me: Would I do it again? Would I host another exchange student? The answer is simply: No. (Sorry AFS.)
I've loved our time together thus far, and I don't doubt that the next few months we'll have more great adventures together (Florida, here we come!), but I got a good one. It just so happened that I got the best exchange student a single, suburban woman could ask for. So would I do it again? No, because I wouldn't want to tarnish the beautiful memories I've had with my only exchange student.
The best part of this whole experience (and I know this even though we're only half way through!) is the friend that I've found. The Swede and I are great friends, and though our family roles are strange (mother/daughter, sister/sister, aunt/niece), I care deeply for her.
Let me share with you one final anecdote of our time together:
Back when we tried to witness the rare eclipse of the Supermoon in September, the weather wouldn't cooperate with us and we missed it. This kind of space event won't happen again until the year 2033. The Swede and I joked about what our lives would be like in 2033: my oldest child would be preparing for college, while I'm juggling the school, work, and sports schedules of my family and she would be returning from her latest adventures traveling the world and living internationally. It was then that I realized how much will change in the next 17 years of our lives. Yet, our conversation bantered about what our kids would call one another and how The Swede would have to explain that I was their un-elderly Host Grandma.
In that moment then, I also realized that this is my life forever more: Regardless of where we'll be in or where we'll go, I have made a lifelong friend. And just like any other parent, I'll love her wherever she is.
"I have no special talent.