IntroIn 2000/2001 I spend my 17th year as a Rotary International Youth Exchange Student in a sleepy highway town, Van Horn, Texas, close to El Paso and the Mexican border. The most occuring event was teenage pregnancy and the most prominent sights were tumble weeds and road runners (meep meep!). This might sound dim, but actually it was the best year of my life to date. It was a very maturing experience and due to the Rotary meetups with other exchange students and my wonderful host parents it was also a very dear year with lots of adventures.
Actually my year in Texas was the foundation for my travelling deeds.
In 2004 I had to go again. Along with my German friend, Thomas Weimann, I went to Argentina to visit our friend Mauro Denughes and traveled the country for 2 months. We all met during our exchange in Texas and New Mexico.
Four years later in 2008 the urge came back again and I sailed the Pacific Ocean for 2 months with my best friend Jane. This blog was initiated for that travel. 3 days later I moved to Sweden and did an exchange program during my master studies.
Now, in 2012, I am in Colorado on a PhD exchange with my boyfriend, Morten, enjoying the international environment and the gorgeous nature opportunities.
I wonder when and what my next adventure will be. Maybe a "work exchange" in 2016?
What do you think?
But to get back on track, this post is to tell you about my reunion with a previous life of mine. Out of my 3 host families I still keep in contact with two of them. Everybody I know have left Van Horn and so have these families.
This week Morten and I skipped work and flew to Austin, Texas, rented the smallest car we could find. There's no mountains here, so 4WD is not needed. Surely enough we were upgraded to a bigger car. Presumably a very nice one: a white Toyota Camry. What do I know? I like white cars...
2 hours West-South West of Austin in Brady, we met up with Mitch and Glenda Van Horn. They were my first host parents. They had new jobs, cars, home etc, but really, they were just the same.
|A country home|
|With Mitch and Glenda|
Mitch and Glenda showed us around town and we sat at their big terrace facing a creek. Donkeys at the neighboring field came by and said hi. The cacti are a normal sight in Texas. The cat AJ played in the grass and kept us company at the TV.
They really have a lovely home with lots of country details like the ones in our room below.
|How could you not sleep tight in a beautiful iron cast bed like this!|
|Nose art on Mitch's plane from 1944|
Unfortunately, we couldn't go for a ride because the military had thirty-something toys in training at the air base before they were to be shipped off to war.
|We won't have no stealin' horses here!|
|Maybe we should have this coyote guard our visitors bed?|
|Mitch loves chicken!|
His coworkers are fun, neat people and we pulled their leg by ordering in Danish at the drive in counter. The snappy employer answered: "and would you like a bun or a roll with that order?". They are probably used to Mitch's friendly teasings.
Monday morning we drove down to Houston to visit my 3rd host parents, Jim and Lolly Lovelady.
We had a quiet afternoon and visited my old favorite country style restaurant Cracker Barrel. The evening went on with lots of talk about old days. Lolly told me that I used to talk a lot. That evening I almost coundn't get a word through for all the talking she did. :-)
It was great to be back.
|Morten and Jim in front of the house|
|Inside a cockpit with Jim. I remember this "suit" of his. But back then it was blue. I guess some things change|
|A typical romantic style house at Galveston, the sea side town close to Texas city and Houston.|
|The winds and waves were high and we enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and cookies from Glenda.|
|Houston industry - typical highway view|
|Real Mexican food is not the same as Tex Mex, but it is tasty.|
It was really great to be back in Texas!
The people I love are still the same. 11 years has left its physical marks, but Jim & Lolly and Mitch & Glenda are still the same, sweet parents I had back then.
Texas is also the same. Everything was big. The sky, the road, the cars, the hearts and the self-feeling and state-patriotism.
I look forward to my next visit!