On how it is going with one of our German three month students with her SA host family

Dear Suzanne and B (mother of T),

Tomorrow marks the first month of T’s stay with us and I just want to take a moment to share how extraordinary this experience is. T has slipped into our lives and hearts with such grace that it is difficult to think how it was before she joined us. B, you and your family can be so proud of this daughter of yours – the other evening at a small dinner party she shared some things about life in the village, and she had us all hanging on her words about the intergenerational connections, the dogs being fed over the fence by someone from the old age home. My elderly father loved every moment of it. The other evening, when I went to say good night, my daughter said to me, ‘You know, Mommy, I love her to bits.’ I think we all do.

We have managed to do some lovely things together too. T’s visit has come at a time when things at work have been very unsettling, and it has been so good to have an outward focus over weekends. Suzanne, R took the girls to Nylsvlei just after T arrived – they camped and it was freezing apparently, but they saw lots of game. We have visited Freedom Park, which now has a wonderful museum – a new addition and such a joyful one, the Maropeng Museum in the Cradle of Mankind and took time to go down into the Sterkfontein Cave – a site, B where some very important early primate/human-like fossils have been and are being unearthed. It is one of our World Heritage sites.

This time has also seen Jo, our nephew, visiting from the United States, and so it has been great for the young ones just to hang out together a bit.

School is in full swing and T looks the part in her uniform. We have had lots of discussions about the significant differences of approach to education. She and I took a walk the other evening and I Iistened with fascination to her analysis of the two systems.

I have some images on my cell phone, but am not technically minded enough to get them onto my laptop. One is of T with plumbago flower ‘earrings’ – we used to use their stickiness to attach them to our ears when we were small! I will try to get a few downloadable pictures. I know T took a lot when we were at Sterkfontein.

So dear people, I hope this fills you in just a little at the end of month 1. Thank you again for making it possible.




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