Friday, April 28, 2017

Maureen's Experience

I have heard the quote, “We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.” I think this quote exemplifies the how I feel about the bringing of Kelly and the rest of the South African students into my life. Hosting a student from South Africa has taught me many amazing things. It has taught me that the Fourth of July is ONLY an American holiday, many facts about living in their country, the food they eat, the words they say, and so much more. I was so blessed to be picked to host Kelly for the past week. 
When they arrived, I had yet to talk to her or hear her voice. We texted but never actually talked. The awkward beginning was inevitable yet so exciting. As soon as they came up I saw Kelly and was jumping up and down (good first impression, I know). I was ready to wear her out and she was up for it which made this week very exciting. The first day we went to the Cardinals game and Blues game. It was a lot after a 17+ hour plane ride but I wanted her to get the full St. Louis experience. Needless to say, we went to bed before eight o’clock the next night. The rest of the trip we hung out with friends, ate, shopped, and ate some more. I got to show Kelly the place I live and my favorite things to do here. 

One moment in particular that stuck out to me was going on a picnic in Forest Park. There was a lot of traffic that day and we were having a hard time finding a parking spot, soon enough we found one. As we walked to Art Hill our stomachs growled and minds raced about the anticipation of the sandwiches we would soon devour. Once we got there, it was exactly like I had hoped. A beautiful sight, with an amazing new friend, eating wonderfully delicious food. This was one of my favorite memories with Kelly, besides all of the many times she fell asleep in the seat of my car. I felt so fortunate to get to know Kelly and learn more about her culture. When it was time to say goodbye, we had a hard time. Many hugs and tears (@my mom) later, it was time for Kelly to leave. I grew close to her over the span of those days and was heartbroken to see her go. Overall this was an amazing experience and I was so blessed that I got to know such a kind, open, fun, and wonderful person like her.

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