Welcome home, Granddaughter

It is so good to have you home.  Well, you aren’t really HOME yet.  You haven’t seen your house, seen your friends, settled into your life.  But, you have re-entered the United States.  People speak English around you.  No one stares at you.

I found this letter that I wrote to you overseas.

I am getting little hints that it is pretty difficult for you right now.    I understand what you must be going through.  You made it until Christmas with the anticipation of your vacation and seeing your boyfriend (a bit of home for you).  Now the dead of winter is here and it seems like you will be there for the rest of your life!

In some ways it is brutal to spend a year of your high school time in a “foreign” school.  While it is enriching and expanding, it can be lonely.  It’s hard to make close friendships with such cultural and location differences.  After all, you have lived your last few years where you could walk or ride your bike to most of your friends’ houses.  It was easy to get involved after school hours.  Now your social life ends when school is out since your school mates live all over the city.  Visiting friends in free time is not the norm.

When you return to your high school you will be exotic and interesting to your friends.  You already are exotic to your cousins although you may not hear that from them.   You are having an experience that many kids dream of and not many get to have.  Just remember, though, that it took a lot of courage to agree to this trip. I admire you for doing it.  And it still takes courage.   Almost every day holds some challenge for you that seems impossible to meet.

If I thought it would solve anything I would have you come back here.  Or I would hop a plane and come to you. I know that I can’t protect you from feeling bad nor can I change things for you.   Your parents are offering you some choices, but I don’t know what is right for you.

If you come home and board at school it will have its difficulties.  You have been a tightly knit foursome for a long time and it will be a lonesome old town without your family for the next several months.  If you come home without your brother it will be very lonely and it will be pretty hard for him being in school alone there.  Maybe this is one of those times in life that you just face each day as it comes, knowing it will be over in a few months.  I don’t know the answer.

If you can tough it out you will look back with both joy for what you gained and sorrow for what you missed.  You are learning a ton about a country with a culture totally opposite of your own.  Already you look at life and the world with new perspective.  And you will bring back ideas that will make a difference here.

You will survive, my sweet.  I am just writing to let you know that I understand, that I don’t judge you for how you feel, that I love you, and that you can call or write anytime and I will listen.”

Hooray, you survived!  Welcome home.



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