Norma was our fifth exchange daughter. Her home town is Rawalpindi, Pakistan and she was an exchange student in the United States for the 2006-2007 school year. Norma came to the United States as part of the Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES). She is a very clever girl who loves South Park, of all things.

Norma was a late arrival in our home. In the spring of 2007, we found ourselves without an exchange daughter, and Norma was in need of a place to live; She had troubles with her first host family, was removed from their home, and was looking for a new family. At first we, meaning my wife, Norma, and I, were all hesitant because Norma is Muslim and our family included four dogs, but Norma later wrote to us a heart-tugging letter telling how she had rubbed a dog on its belly and that she thought she could give living with us a try. After reading the letter there was, of course, no way we could turn her away.

Norma ended up loving the dogs. In the end, it was Ollie, the big, black fuzzy dog with the big bark and teeth, who was her absolute favorite. Those two were an odd couple. They would lay for hours on the couch together… Norma watching South Park and Ollie getting a tummy rub. Perhaps because of Norma having to change families and Ollie being a rescue dog they share some kind of strange bond. Even today, a letter from Norma rarely arrives without a query about Ollie.

I look forward to traveling to Pakistan to see her once again, meet her family, and see her great country.


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