Sunday, October 19, 2014
For Heidi and Svein Olav
When I was an exchange student in England we didn't have the internet to connect us to home, or home to us. Phone calls were very expensive and we only spoke three times during my year abroad. Besides writing letters, one of the ways my parents felt connected was to see my photographs. I used a 35 mm camera and shipped the rolls of film back to the US to be processed. I gave my parents' address as the home address so that the processed photos would be sent to them. They would look forward to getting a package from the film company and often had to guess at what I was doing or who I was with in the photos.
Now that we have internet the distance doesn't seem quite so great. However, having a photograph and seeing your son in his new environment would certainly be comforting to parents who feel further away than the emails and facebook posts suggest.
I have included pictures from a few different activities over the past 2 months. I did not include any from soccer since you've been able to see those online. I am also missing a few since I can't find one of the cameras I used, but I'm sure it will show up eventually!
This is the first view that we had of our students, and they of us, on August 15. As I already told you, Heidi, I got very teary-eyed just seeing Christoffer walk into the gym. He is fifth from the left. The students all lined up and then had to introduce themselves, tell what country they were from, and tell who they were going to be living with and where. It was difficult to just sit there waiting for everyone to speak when we just wanted to run and hug our students!
We were finally able to meet face to face. I know you've seen this photo but I wanted to include it as the first picture of Christoffer with some of his American siblings, Gabe and Owen. Bryce had to work and Keith and Lisa were with other family members on a camping trip.
We made the three hour drive home where Bryce met us and the next morning Gabe, Chris, and I joined the campers for a bike ride. Here he is with Keith getting a bike ready.
With Lisa and Gabe filling water bottles from a pump.
My son-in-law took this photo of us that includes our daughter, Dana, and grandchildren, Sadie and Nigel. The other half of our group (friends, cousins, and an aunt and uncle) had left by this time.
This is the family playing the game Pictionary. It was entertaining to have Chris play a game where he had to draw and guess words in English. We had some very funny situations when there were words mix-ups or when he knew what a drawing meant but didn't know the English word and would act it out. He never was nervous or embarrassed but just had a good time with everyone.
Seniors have special pictures taken their final year of high school. Christoffer has a cd with hundreds of the pictures but here a few of his favorites. Bob Mainhardt(our photographer friend)even took a few of the boys together for us. I actually had to get them out of school to take the pictures because their schedules were so busy with soccer and we had the two weddings (I am still working on getting those pictures!).
Homecoming week was certainly a new experience. Traditionally, "homecoming" was the week, or the Friday night football game, when graduates would come back to see one another at their school. Some do return, but it is used more for festivities and fun events for the current students. During homecoming week there are a number added activities for the students and one of them is "spike volleyball". In this game, the junior and senior boys form two teams and compete against one another. The members of the girls' volleyball team act as their coaches and the girls' coach acts as the official. Parents and students attend the game and cheer on the teams in a very light-hearted and fun atmosphere. There is a lot of joking and laughing. One of the fathers handed his son (a junior whose team was losing) $5 and the boy ran and put it in the official's pocket as a bribe. It was all in fun and was an enjoyable night. Our senior boys won the game.
On Friday afternoon of that week there is a pep rally for the students during the last hour of school. They introduce the sports teams, the band plays, the dance team performs, and the "homecoming court" are introduced by performing a small skit they have planned. "Homecoming court" are the students who were voted by their classmates to contend for the title of Homecoming King and Queen.
Bryce was on homecoming court and he had Chris participate in his skit.
After the pep rally the students and many people from the community go downtown for a parade. I've called it the "world's worst parade", but everyone has a lot of fun. It's over in about 20-25 minutes. Different groups from the school have a "float" (often just a vehicle with a sign that they walk next to), the band marches, the grade school children walk and throw candy to spectators, and the homecoming court ride in the back of trucks with the king and queen being the last vehicle down the street. Gabe LOVES the Hodag!
Here's Owen with the soccer team. Christoffer was walking with the football team and I didn't see him in time to get a picture.
Bryce and Emma, king and queen
Lisa got so much candy that she divided it between herself and the three boys who were in the parade. She spelled their names out with the candy on their beds.
Here's a picture of Christoffer getting ready for a kick-off in the game that night.
The following pictures are from our canoe trip down the Wisconsin River. It wasn't a long trip, just a few hours, but it was a beautiful day to be out. Christoffer caught this fish with his hands before we started down the river!
We saw two trees along that river that were being gnawed by beavers.
We went to our cabin that evening for supper and were joined by Dana and her family (David, Sadie, and Nigel). We should have turned the heat on earlier. It was chilly in there. We just had the cabin built this summer. A wood stove will be installed next week.
I hope you've enjoyed a little window into Christoffer's American life!