Zoe’s here! Thanks to everyone who has reached out in the past week to ask how things are going with our new exchange student. Our little family was so excited to finally welcome Zoe to the US.
We had a couple of days to get Zoe settled, registered for school and get her school supplies before school started.
Zoe brought us the sweetest gifts, German candy and chocolate, German children’s books for Felicity and the most beautiful German cookbook. We sat down to look through the cookbook together and decided that Zoe would help make a recipe out of it once a week since she enjoys cooking and baking. On labor day she made us Frikadellen served with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Zoe was so excited to share a childhood favorite meal of hers. The meal was so good I told her I was going to have to step up my cooking game! That evening was dreary and rainy. I slid the window open to enjoy the crisp rainy air while we ate our hearty meal together under the soft light in our dining room. Our cookbook will hold so many special memories like that one and I will cherish it forever ♥
I love foreign language and learning about different cultures. Brandon and I have already been fascinated by the similarities and differences between our cultures. When we signed Zoe up for classes at her high school we were able to meet the English as a second language teacher who spoke German and the German teacher! They both spoke to her in her native tongue so fluently. I could have sat back and listened all day. It was in that moment that I realized the connection I had felt in Puerto Rico when I was immersed in the Spanish language spanned across languages. It wasn’t simply Spanish that did something for my soul, but foreign languages in general. It brings this intense feeling of home for me. Even though they were speaking German, watching them communicate made me so happy! Her German teacher thanked us for hosting Zoe this year. She said that she loved having exchange students in her class because it gets the students more excited to learn.
Zoe has been teaching us a little German as well. We say Gute Nacht to eachother at night. Sometimes I say Buenos Noches. Danke for thank you and Bitte for your welcome and please, Gesundheit always when we sneeze. Felicity has mastered that one. Zoe asked if we had a saying that we say before a meal like Bon appetite and I shared that I wanted to start saying Buen Provecho before meals ever since I heard my cousin say it in Puerto Rico. So.. we have quite the mix of languages in our home right now and I love it!
“I like your morning playlist.” Zoe said this past week. Her backpack was resting on her lap. La Vie En Rose played softly in the car. I smiled.
Brandon and I love creating comfort. A surprising amount of times we’ve had friends nearly fall asleep in our home because they say it feels so cozy. I wrote about hospitality some time ago. I believe hospitality is more about an attitude and creation of comfort in every space that you welcome people into, not just in your home. So in the mornings when I come downstairs to find a groggy teenager sitting on the bench by the window I greet her with a soft Good Morning. I turn on the wax melt plug in under the stove hood. Warm light and cinnamon scent wafts through the kitchen. I make coffee and try not to talk her ear off.
I grab my keys, we hop in the car and I play my easy listening morning playlist. A little Louis Armstrong, a little Miles Davis, a little Otis Redding.
I drop her off at school before the sun is quite up. Wish her a good day and head home, savoring my hot cup of coffee alone in the car. When I get home I hear the pitter patter of little feet running towards me. “Mama!” Felicity yells and hugs my leg. My husband is on the couch, the man that I love more everyday. The man who cares for me so well and cares for these 2 little women in our home. I’m grateful for the sweet little life we’re creating and truly living.
From the time that we chose Zoe to be our student we felt this overwhelming feeling that it was the right decision. She couldn’t fit in with us more, it’s almost quite eerie that there was this girl half a world away who seemed so similar to us. She’s a reader like me. Like minded in personality to Brandon. She can puzzle with us, do yoga with Lici, adores our pets. She’s one of the quickest learners I’ve ever seen and don’t tell Brandon that I told you but she has totally been crushing him in a video game he showed her.
I’m loving getting to see our world through Zoe’s eyes. Her excitement over the cereal aisle in Target, letting her try her first milkshake and her first street tacos. We’ve taken Zoe to some of our favorite spots around Charlotte and we can’t wait for all of the fun things we have planned for her this year. She’s a beautiful addition to our family.