Category Archives: Family

New Pictures from Irina

Irina, 2009

Irina, 2009

Irina sent me some new pictures. She was an exchange student in 1999-200, was our third exchange daughter, and currently lives in Minsk, Belarus. Irina is living The Devil Wears Prada lifestyle…next week she will traveling to Milan, Italy. Continue reading

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Update on Kate

Kate and the Aurora, Moscow, Russian Federation, 2008

Kate and the Aurora, Moscow, Russian Federation, 2008

For anyone keeping track of Kate, she will be making a big trip soon. This time it will not be on a train from St. Petersburg with a cabin full of crazy Italians but on a plane back to the United States.

Kate has her interview with the United States Consulate on January 14th, just two weeks from today. Assuming that everything goes to plan, it will take a few days after that for her to receive her new visa. Then she will have a couple of weeks to close out her work in Moscow and allow enough time for her mother to come see her off.

So, Kate should be back in Texas sometime in the first half of February. She will return to her husband Mike, a new position with the same firm she worked with in Moscow, and a newly renovated condo…Way to Go, Mike!

Azerbaijian Hospitality

Rostov, Russian Federation, 2008

Rostov, Russian Federation, 2008

During our tour of the Golden Ring of Russia, after we had toured Rostov the Great, Olga, Pavel, and I were guests at her uncle’s home in Rostov. In this parting photograph is Pavel, Olga’s uncle Nabi, her aunt Elya, Kamila, who is married to one of Olga’s cousins, and Olga. Olga, our first exchange daughter, is half-Azerbaijan from her father’s side of the family and her father is Muslim. Her mother is Russian and Russian-Orthodox. Olga was raised in the Russian-Orthodox church. Continue reading

Asya and Sophia

Asya, Russian Federation, 2008

Asya, Russian Federation, 2008

Asya has sent new pictures of herself and her daughter Sophia. Asya was an exchange student in the United States during the 1998-1999 school year. I really like the picture of Sophia…it looks like she is trying to mine for pickles.

Sophia, Russian Federation, 2008

Sophia, Russian Federation, 2008

Terri

Terri and Shadi, Texas State Fair, 2007

Terri and Shadi, Texas State Fair, 2007

Terri and I were married in 1989. Our life has taken us from San Antonio to Fredericksburg, back to San Antonio, and finally to the great metropolis of Melissa where we have lived since 2003. She currently works as the budget director for one of the many suburbs of Dallas.

It was Terri who initially involved us in hosting exchange students. For the first few years of our marriage, she worked as a geography teacher and received a Fulbright Grant to spend six weeks in China. Upon her return, she spoke at a geography conference where she saw a presentation by an exchange student from Russia. Only a few days later we had chosen Olga as our first exchange daughter. Because we always host girls, Terri gets to take on certain responsibilities that only a host mom can…the ever-predictable drama of choosing a prom dress is one in which I only have to observe and not participate. Despite her bluster about being impatient and unwilling, she has never failed to spend whatever time it took to find the perfect dress. Continue reading

Good News for Kate

Kate, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 2008

Kate, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 2008

Kate has been informed that her petitions to return to the United States have been accepted. Although there is still paperwork yet to be completed, circumstances look good for her to reunite with her husband Mike in February of 2009. Hopefully Kate’s life will settle down. I know Mike will be happy to have her back. Continue reading

Life with a Muslim Exchange Student

Volunteer Work, Texas, 2007

Volunteer Work, Texas, 2007

Somehow in our hosting journey we were transitioned from Slavic to Muslim daughters. After four daughters from Russia and Belarus as well as months spent in those two countries, having a Russian in the house became comfortable and predictable. Those things that made them Russian no longer seemed different or surprising but just what was to be expected. Without doubt, taking in a Muslim exchange daughter moved us out of our comfort zone and into a new learning experience. Continue reading