It’s hard to believe that 9 months ago I was sitting here writing about how our exchange student, Ivan, had just arrived and how much we were anticipating this school year.
Now I sit here dreading the fact that in 2 1/2 weeks we’ll be putting him on a plane to send him back to Spain where his parents and other family are waiting for him. Time has truly flown by this year and I don’t know what happened.
I feel like we just finished up all of the holidays…I feel like he only got here a few months ago. That’s not the case though.
It’s amazing how in just less than a year someone can become such a part of your family. I don’t think any of us could have anticipated just how much we were going to fall in love with the Spanish boy that loves soccer.
Overall, these past 9 months have been great. Having Ivan in our lives has been a wonderful experience. We’ve done a lot of fun things together and there are many more things I wish we could have done.
Now, I won’t lie to you and say that this year has all been roses and dandelions because it’s been like normal life — full of ups and downs. Ivan is a teenage boy and definitely acts like a teenage boy sometimes (can’t really fault him too much for that). Josiah got bumped to middle child and was no longer the big brother so there was a little bit of sibling rivalry and a lot of brotherly competition/fighting. I got pregnant in December so my hormones added to the mix and we’ve had our great days and our not so good days. He truly became family while he was here in every sense of the word.
We’ve cheered him on at his soccer games and he’s cheered Josiah on at his. Ivan made All-State for soccer and we are so proud of him! He’s made a ton of friends and even found a very sweet girlfriend and they’re all going to miss him a lot.
It’s been fun watching him experience an American Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. He’s learned how to not only speak better English, but how to speak “American”. He learned that the hard way after asking for a rubber in the middle of class (he was asking for an eraser, but that’s how he was taught to say it…). We all had a big laugh about that misunderstanding.
We even had the opportunity to try several Spanish foods when his family sent packages during the holidays. There were quite a few that I really liked, and a few that I just don’t think I could acquire the taste for. Ivan discovered that he really loves Sonic, Taco Bell, Mountain Dew, and macaroni and cheese.
He wasn’t just a Spanish student living in my house and eating my food, he became another one of my kids. I’m a tad bit young to really be his mom and of course his own wonderful Mom doesn’t want to be replaced, but I have loved hearing him refer to me as his “American Mom”.
He has loved our entire family and our entire family loves him and will miss him dearly when he’s gone. Josiah and Samuel are going to be heartbroken when he leaves because they love him just like a brother.
Ivan has even gotten to experience our anticipation of Tobias. Ivan was one of the first ones that found out we were having another baby and he was just as excited as anyone else. He’s been there for both ultrasounds and I know he’s bummed out that he can’t be here when Tobias is born.
There are some students who come for the education and then there are those who come for the experience. We’re so glad that Ivan came here to be a part of our family.
I’ve already shed a few tears knowing that we’re about to lose him to his beloved parents and I know I’m going to shed quite a few more!
He’s made big plans to come to America again and I hope he does! If not, we’ve already made plans to Skype and message with each other to stay in touch. This American Mom and Dad is sad to see our Spanish son go home. We knew this day would come, but we didn’t realize it’d come so soon.
We love you Ivan and we’re going to miss you so much!