Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to Sana SOLC 10 of 31

Thanks to Annie Johnson for the photo.
In August of 2010, our lives changed forever.  Let me stress that our lives changed for the better and our family grew.  It was then that we welcomed Sana Vaidya into our home as a Rotary foreign exchange student.  Sana, then a shy 16 year-old girl from Pune, India, quietly slipped into our family.  She brought joy and laughter, as well as many new experiences for our family.

The second week she was at our house, my daughter Annie, Sana and I all worked together in the kitchen to make an Indian meal.  It was a national holiday in India and we wanted to celebrate in style.  I'd never had Indian food, much less made it before.  The kitchen looked like a tornado had whipped through when we sat down to eat. As we put our napkins in our laps and picked up our forks, Sana smiled sweetly and said, "I think we should eat with our hands."

"What?"  We were having curry...saucy, red curry.  How were we ever going to do that?  Not to be deterred by a little mess, we all agreed.  She showed us how to use the naan (Indian bread) to scoop up our curry and rice.  I don't think our family has ever laughed so much.  She was very neat and tidy; we were anything but.  It was that moment that she became one of us.

Our year with Sana was filled with so many wonderful things...she thought my husband's jokes were hilarious.  She had her own sense of humor with her corny puns.  She taught us about her Indian culture and we taught her about our American culture.  She and Annie became the best of friends.  We love her as we do our own children.  She was and is  a gift to us.

It's because of Sana, that Annie is now in Turkey.  Annie became interested in becoming a Rotary Youth Exchange student that year and spent 4 weeks in Spain the summer of 2010.  We've hosted 3 other girls from Germany, Spain, and Turkey.  Our lives have become richer and our family has become extended across the ocean all because of one beautiful young lady named Sana.

Today is Sana's birthday.  I miss her like crazy, but am looking forward to seeing her this summer.  She'll be meeting my husband and me in Turkey when we go to meet up with Annie.  The four of us will spend 2 weeks touring Turkey and seeing all the wonderful places Annie has experienced.  In the next few years, we will be traveling to India to meet Sana's mother in person.  We share a very special bond with their family and meeting all of them will make the circle complete.

Happy Birthday Sana!  I love you bunches and you will always be one of my girls.  Thank you for the gift of you.

Photo courtesy of Annie Johnson.  (Thanks honey!)

See Annie's post about Sana on her blog.  Annie is also participating in the Slice of Life Challenge.

Thanks to Ruth and Stacey for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge.  You can read other slices on their blog.  Feel free to leave your URL in the comments section.  I'd like to go to your blog and read what you're writing too.


11 comments:

  1. How wonderful to have gained a daughter through the exchange program...and that Annie and Sana became close friends. Experiences like these form who we become...learning other cultures...and sharing ours. Thanks so much for this post.

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    1. I agree Jackie. We are all the better for hosting all of our girls.

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  2. I have always wanted to host an exchange student and yet we never did. Your experiences with Sana sound so lovely. How wonderful to have a 'daughter' from India. I have travelled to India - spent 6 months there, and your post makes me miss it. It is truly a whole new world. I hope you share a slice or two about your travels when you get back after the summer.

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    1. Oh, I definitely will. I'm sure I'll be sharing the whole experience of getting ready for the trip too. I've never traveled across the ocean before. There will be lots of new experiences. :)

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  3. What a wonderful tribute to someone who gave you so much! It sounds like your lives hwave been richer because you all said, YES.!

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    1. We have all benefitted so much from the experience. I can hardly wait to see my daughter, Annie, after she comes home from Turkey. I know she will be a different young woman.

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  4. What amazing people I get to meet through blogging! Your daughter Annie sounds like a wonderful girl, as well. Living in another culture is hard--my daughter did it as well--I give them so much credit! I loved your post!

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    1. Thank you Melanie. Where did your daughter live? I may need advice from you when she comes home. I hear it's hard for the kids to adjust back to life after their exchange year.

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  5. That first Indian meal when we ate with our hands was priceless.

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    1. We are all much better at it now. We don't even think about it.

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  6. My favorite line is, "It was the moment she became one of us." Your writing makes me want to live and act differently in the world. Thanks for sharing your celebration with all of us!

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