It’s kind of odd how quiet things can get when a quiet person isn’t around.
Through a long and frankly implausible process that even now I do not fully understand, we acquired a foreign exchange student in December. She needed a place to stay. We had a place for her. Tabitha and Lauren already knew who she was, even if they didn’t know her very well. She was already attending Local Businessman High, so that was easy. I guess it all just lined up.
And now Fran has gone back to Belgium.
We ran her pretty hard these last few weeks – you might as well get your money’s worth out of a stay in a foreign country, after all, and the US can be pretty foreign. I came home from work a week ago Thursday and asked her how her day was. “Kind of quiet,” she said. “Well,” I told her, “I hope you enjoyed it. That’s the last one you’ll have until you get back to Europe.” And it pretty much was.
We had a graduation party for her and Tabitha the following day, one I have already written about. The next day she, Kim, Tabitha, Lauren, and Lauren’s friend Aleksia headed east on a journey that will have its own blog post soon, a trip that I joined already in progress because I had to stay and teach my summer class. We got back Sunday night, and Monday evening we were in Madison dropping her off for the long trip back.
Who plans those, by the way? From the moment we left last night to the moment her flight departed was 21 hours. I suppose with that many travelers to juggle that’s just how it has to be, but still. That’s a harsh way to end a good year.
And it was a good year. It really was.
She’s family now, of course. There's always a place here for her, when she wants to come back. We’re going to go visit her in Belgium as well, and we’ll get to meet her family there – say what you will about the many and pressing flaws of Facebook, but it does do a pretty good job of what it was actually designed to do, which is to foster communication between widely separated people, and we’ve managed to get to know her parents a bit over the last few months as well. We’re really looking forward to spending time with all of them.
But for right now it’s mostly quiet.
Safe travels, Fran. We miss you already.