"Are you absolutely crazy?" my friend asked when I told her we were considering hosting an exchange student. In fact, basically eveyone I have shared my idea with has had a similar response. My sister was the most blunt and asked, "Do you always need a project? I think it would be wise to slow down and adjust to your new married, mom-of-four-children life."
They are probably all correct.
Still, I could not say no. Jhon, a language ambassador from Colombia works at my children's school. He is one of seven other ambassadors working here for a year. Wanting a change of scenery, Jhon needed a place to stay for his final three months in Minnesota.
Why did I say yes? Because I needed a change of scenery, too.
One could argue that my already quite full life has enough change in it. Still, the Spanish-speaking adventurer in me, wanted to say yes. Having an exchange student is like visiting another country without ever having to pack your suitcase or leave home.
Another bonus, all four of our children attend language emmersion schools. Already in one short week, I can tell that my kids look to Jhon as a big brother and are chatting away in a second language, delighted to share their space with someone else.
My number one reason? I have traveled to many places and been welcomed by many people. I want to live that same way–extending myself, living out of my comfort zone, sharing what I have, being a hostess, serving where needed.
Yes, it is true that I work on many projects. And it is true that those projects energize and motivate me. And if I'm honest, my projects can also be a weakness, a crazy need to always be "working on something". Even postive "somethings" come bundled with stress.
But, what I know about meeting Jhon is that he is not a project, he is a person. I want to connect with his mission. He is a person that is giving greatly to our community and I want to repay the gesture.
This morning I made Jhon a cup of coffee and teased, "This is better than Starbucks."
With a smirk, Jhon nodded and asked, "Did you know that Starbucks uses Colombian coffee?"
"No wonder it's so good," I replied.
Then Jhon said, "And in Colombia I never see one Starbucks!"
Steven and I laughed. Funny how the world works. Sometimes you find more of the merrier sharing a simple cup of coffee whether at Starbucks, in Colombia or at home. I think the merriment comes from making a connection.
Make a connection or two this weekend and I guarantee you will find a little more of the merrier side of life.