"I'm not sure how to properly express how much everything has changed in just a few weeks. My world view has shifted drastically, and even as a person, I feel different."These are my daughter's words, written just a few days ago, as she begins the last week of her stay with her host family in Russia. It's strange to think back to her first week away, when she called me, homesick, her voice wavering. That kind of call only came once, though. She quickly became acclimated to life in another country as she formed friendships, developed her language skills, and embraced every day as another adventure. Her summer away has changed her in immeasurable ways.
"It feels like I've been away from home for a year already, though I'm not homesick, nor have I been since the first week here during the initial shock. The thought of going home is bittersweet to me: I do want to continue with my life at home and see my family and friends again, but I've fallen deeply in love with this country. To say goodbye to it is to say goodbye to a part of my heart."I don't know where she gets it, this wanderlust -- maybe it's a result of living on an island -- but it is a characteristic that is most definitely compatible with her bravery, her curiosity, and her resilience. She's my hero.
Though I won't get to see the photos on her camera until she gets home, she has been taking some pics with her phone and sharing those. I compiled a few from her first week traveling and created this page:
The journaling is hers, folded and tucked into the map paper. It's a composition that she wrote for the program pre-departure. Her writing skills have likely grown quite a bit since then.
One of the reasons why I splurged on the July SC kits was because of the travel-themed accents and paper, which I knew I would put to good use.
I stamped the wood letters from the SC Penny Arcade kit with a cloud stamp as well as a text stamp, and then filled in the letters with a neon yellow ink dauber. I also used some older supplies from my stash, like the Cyrillic washi tape (from Freckled Fawn, I believe), the Ormolu fabric tag, and the transportation icons from a Moleskine travel journal.
This has definitely been a transformative experience for both my daughter and me this summer, as she learns to make her way in the world, and I learn to accept that she is ready to do so.
"I'm sure that I speak for all of us when I say that we will cherish each moment that we have left here and will carry our time here with us for the rest of our lives."