Geoff and I (Stashia) met at Eastern Mennonite University and have been married for 16 years. We have three children: Benjamin (14 ½), Adam (13), and Caden (10). Benjamin is a freshman at Lancaster Mennonite High School (LMH), Adam is a 7th grader at Locust Grove - LMS, and Caden is a 5th grader at Locust Grove - LMS. When I heard that there was a need for a host family for the female IVEPer who would be working at Locust Grove I was overjoyed and immediately asked my family if they were onboard to be a host family. Everyone agreed that they felt this would be a good experience for our family and we began to make room for her in our home and we eagerly awaited her arrival.
Carol has been a part of our family now for 10 weeks and honestly, she has fit right in from the beginning. Having a girl in our house is a true delight and wonderful experience, especially to me seeing as I am the mother of three boys and have not had another female living in the house with me before. From the beginning she has connected with our children and truly become a part of our family. She helps out around the house just as the boys do, plays games, and participates in family activities with us.
As a family we have celebrated Carol’s birthday at Oregon Dairy, attended Caden’s horse shows, Ben’s LMH soccer games, spent the weekend at Lake Wynonah, played many rounds of Dutch Blitz, checkers, carved pumpkins, painted ceramic mugs, taken walks, watched American football, and shared many laughs! We have enjoyed eating foods from Honduras that Carol has fixed for us. Baleadas and slices are favorites of our family. We enjoy sharing things we love to do with her and having her do the same with us. Sharing these experiences, I believe, are what has helped us all connect as a family and has helped Carol to feel like she is part of our family as well and not just a guest in our home.
Two of our sons, Adam and Caden, are in the Spanish Immersion program at the Locust Grove campus of Lancaster Mennonite School. This has given them the chance to practice their Spanish speaking skills and allow Carol to speak her native language at home. Since two of the boys speak Spanish this has also allowed them to communicate via video chat with Carol’s family in Honduras.
Sharing our culture and learning about Carol’s culture has been a true delight and an experience we will never forget. We are so grateful to have this opportunity. We look forward to the month ahead as our relationship grows and we get to learn more and share more with Carol.