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Celebrating Imagination and the Wonderful, Wild Ride that is Life

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where's Waldo? And goodbye.

I'm not Waldo, but I certainly have felt like him!!!
Things have been very busy at my house, to say the least. I'm sure it's no different for anyone else. We just got done hosting Ryo (pronounced Yo!) from Ohara, Japan. He stayed with us for the last 10 days and kept everyone pretty busy. Particularly Cory and Brad. This is all part of the Duluth Sisters Cities exchange program. Cory stayed with Ryo and his family in July and now it was our turn to be the hosts. All of the kids, parents ands Japanese students were extremely busy all week long. They went to the Aquarium, met the Mayor, went to the Edge waterpark, Valley Fair, a Minnesota Twins game, our cabin, the movie in the park, etc., was exhausting and a lot of fun. Ryo did not speak much English, and we certainly don't speak Japanese (well....Cory knows a few words) but we managed to communicate somehow! Ryo was a nice, polite boy. He often got confused, but was always up for anything, and very trusting. He loved playing our piano and Cory's guitar. He enjoyed fishing with Brad, didn't like the dirt at the cabin, ate anything we put in front of him, loves Snoopy, the Simpsons, and baseball. None of us were prepared for how sad we were yesterday when it was time to take Ryo to the airport. The night before, Ryo managed to tell Brad that he didn't want to go, and gave Brad a big hug. (And I don't think they hug much in Japan.) We were all crying like babies at the airport and hugging a lot. It was especially hard to see Ryo crying. He was the only boy in the whole group who was crying, but some of the girls were especially sad. Of course the whole goodbye was protracted because we had to wait with them in line, get them through security (Ryo had to go twice, once with me along for assistance!) and all. We seriously feel like we were his parents for a brief piece of time, and have been joking that he will show up on our doorstep one day! He loved America. In fact I will never forget how, upon exiting the airport when he first got here, he fell to his knees and hollered just that: "I Love America!!!" It was a great experience, and one we'll treasure for a long time to come.

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