Saturday, August 07, 2010

The jigsaw puzzle.

If you read my previous post here you will know that we had an unexpected second Japanese student join us on Wednesday because her host family was sick. We always knew that it was a temporary arrangement and that Akari would move on to her host family when they were better.

When we got the phone-call on Friday evening to tell us she would be collected 10 minutes after she got off the school bus my heart sank. I found it so hard to tell her when she ran up the driveway smiling and talking about her day trip to see the dolphins. I put a smile on my face and told her how excited her host family were to be collecting her and how much fun they had planned for her, ice-skating, horse riding, kangaroo encounters. I had a lump in my throat and hugged her and told her we would miss her.

We went on a quick walk beside the lake just across the road from our house as a distraction while we watched out for the host family's car.

They arrived, we put her suitcase in the boot and made small talk as we waited for Byron to arrive home from work so he too could give her a hug goodbye.

A short while later we waved at the car driving away. My eyes filled up. I felt pretty stupid getting emotional about a girl we had only known for 2 days but she was such a gorgeous little thing and she had fitted in so well. Byron gave me a big hug in the kitchen and told me he missed her too and I didn't feel so silly.

We had a lovely evening with Mana and some of Sian's friends that had come for a girly sleepover. Today was packed with bringing Mana souvenir shopping in a local shopping centre....

...and to a local wildlife park to see Koalas and Kangaroos.

Before heading home we drove to a beachside park and the kids laughed and laughed as they played on the swings and chased each other around getting dizzy and falling over.

Just as the sun was getting low in the sky and we were getting in the car to come home my mobile rang. It was Akari's host family. They were worried about her. She was dreadfully homesick and was missing Mana and us. They suggested that the best thing would be to return her to us for the remainder of her stay. I felt so sorry for them that it hadn't worked out but I was so glad to know that she was on her way back to us.

We drove home and when we pulled up the driveway she was standing next to her suitcase. We all hugged her tight and told her how happy we were to see her again. She kept saying "Sorry, sorry" and we couldn't tell her enough how we were not cross, we were so happy to have her back. We felt a bit like a jigsaw puzzle that was missing a piece and now we are complete again.

As I sit here at the computer all I can hear is laughter and squealing as 5 kids race up and down the hallway chasing balloons and throwing paper aeroplanes.

Life is complete again...

6 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. What a day!! I was thinking that it would not work out so well for the other host family. Akari made a bond. How heartbroken she must have been! How loving of the other host family to do what was best for her... Happy Ending! Have the host family over for a get together! Have fun!

  2. We only have tomorrow night left before the girls leave for Sydney and the school are organizing an Australian "Bush Dance" that all the families are invited to. Hopefully the other family will still feel welcome to join in and we will see them there.

  3. Ooh, I was hoping she'd come back as I was reading this! I still get a bit teary remembering when our Austrian student left for home. It's such a sweet thing to share a small bit of your life with a young person. Enjoy!

  4. A little emotional today, and that made me cry and laugh a lot. The photography really clinched it, too.

    How fun and lucky you all are!

    Enjoy your time with her. Aw.

  5. Happy endings always make me smile. Like you, I felt a bit bad for the host family...but how wonderful they put the childs feeling first. Your puzzle was complete before the night was out. :)

  6. That's sad for her original host family...but I'm so glad that they and caring enough to recognize that this transition was really just too much for her, especially with how short their stay is anyways. She's obviously formed a great bond with your family, and I'm so glad that you can finish this exchange program together!