My boy in Ecuador posted his first real disappointment of his exchange trip recently and our hearts go out to him. One of the other exchange students, a boy from Norway, and Andrew’s friend already, left the program and went back home. It was clear from the pictures posted and the activities that they shared that they had become fast friends. Andrew had already even told us he wanted to go to Norway next summer rather than come home in order to visit this friend and work on the family’s fishing boat! But the young man left due to a family emergency back in Norway leaving our guy very sorry to see him go. He said in his post that after going to the house to say goodbye he returned to his own family and just went to his room and cried.
I know because I did it when I was fourteen, that it is hard to suddenly be out of your element and in someone elses world, adrift. Our boy is doing great at making friends and going to school and adjusting to the cultural changes, but a large part of his success is in having comrades, that is other kids going through precisely the same kind of separation from family, and the immersion in the new culture. It is hard so they encourage each other through it. We see that with the Taiwanese girl staying with us, that she is so animated and happy after spending a day with the other inbound exchange students. They lift each other up. The absence of Andrew’s friend is a real loss for him and we wish him a new friend soon.