As grandmothers, we are all proud of our families and are always looking for opportunities to brag about them. So I’m going to take this opportunity to do exactly that -- take a moment to brag. My family is becoming the League of Nations and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I have an Israeli Sabra son-in-law whose parents fled Iraq many years ago, a granddaughter whose mother-in-law’s family fled Iran and a grandson who will likely marry his Korean girlfriend. That’s just the beginning -- there are sixteen more grandchildren to go! It’s so exciting having the opportunity to experience so much culture through my family and I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead! Our younger grandchildren, Samantha and Joe, are now beginning to spread their wings and venture off to study abroad as well. They will make new friends, learn new languages, experience life in a foreign country and become independent, secure, young adults. I’m so proud of their vigor!
Our granddaughter, Samantha, arrived in Beijing last week. She’s in a foreign exchange high school program and will be studying Chinese. She’s living with a family who does not speak one word of English and, of course, Sam doesn’t speak a word of Chinese! However, she emailed her brother and confirmed that she’s very happy, loves the food, the school and will “learn to manage.” It’s this type of attitude that assures me this child will land on her feet. Not a doubt in my mind!
Our grandson, Joe, is a college exchange student studying at Haifa University for a year. He arrived a month ago not knowing Hebrew and having no friends. He is studying the Arabic language, the history of the Moslem culture and his professors are Israeli. He has now made new friends from all over the world and is learning Hebrew simply to navigate his way through the country -- every sign is in Hebrew! He’s facing issues with how to exchange money from a dollar to a Shekel and has also managed to fall in love with a young student from Brown University, with dual US/Israeli citizenship, visiting her Israeli grandparents over the summer. I can’t wait to hear more about their adventures together!
Joe and I are pen pals. We email everyday and he calls us once a week, so I get to enjoy these adventures with him. I offer advice when asked, applaud his accomplishments and ask questions about the political situation in Israel. I have been to Israel several times so I am able to converse with him and tell him about tours he might want to take with his school. I feel so lucky to be able to share this experience with him, it’s a real blessing.
For those of you who have adventurous grandchildren and who would like the opportunity to experience life abroad, I encourage you to live vicariously through your grandchildren! Take an interest in researching exchange and study abroad programs to find the right fit. If you have the means, there is no greater gift you could give your grandchild than the chance to experience the world. I promise you that. It will change their lives forever and will be something the two of you will be able to cherish together. Truly priceless.
Do Something GOOD Today: Be adventurous. Go somewhere you've never been before or book that trip you've been prolonging. Life is too short - go see the world!