Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Here!


My daughter's friend Henri, the young woman in black, is back on the American continent after a summer internship and then a semester in France, after which she traveled to Portugal, Spain and Ireland to see long lost family. Henri is from Hawaii and Botswana, and she is a true citizen of the world, a brainy intrepid traveler brimming with curiosity and light. She has been abroad for the past six months, and she's had adventures; we have followed along on Instagram. But now she is happy to come back home; she says she missed her friends more than she ever thought possible. I told her what she must already know, that her friends missed her just as much. She arrived from Ireland this afternoon, and when she came though the door the three girls fell into each other's arms and wrapped themselves around each other in squealing, excited hugs, and I refrained from taking a picture even though it was a moment to behold. 

Henri will stay with us till she and my daughter go back the school next week. Their other friend, the one in the red jacket, will be heading off to Prague for her semester abroad. My daughter has no desire to do a semester abroad. She says college is happening so lightening fast she wants to be there on campus and just experience it. She is, however, considering a creative writing program in Rome this summer. She's already applied and things look promising. Oh, to be young and footloose! 

Travel of this sort does require some resilience, though. Henri confessed that she was often lonely, and at each new stage of her program she had to get used to a new set of people and start all over again to make friends. She says that now she is home she can really begin to enjoy all that she has done and seen, because while she was in the midst of it there had been no time to process, just schedules and schoolwork and itineraries and figuring things out and nothing left over to take in the magic of who and what and where. But now she says she can look back at her experiences of the past six months and marvel that she actually did all that. She is herself a marvel. 


12 comments:

  1. What a perfect representation of the joy and intelligence and hope of three beautiful young women!

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    1. Ms. Moon, truly, I find their beauty blinding and their boldness in the world a thing of awe. Were we ever that way?

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  2. What fabulous lives these young women have...and they have their own example of a marvel ... in you. Enjoy your visit.

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    1. e, they do lead fabulous lives, full of opportunity and I'm proud of them for seizing it with both hands. me? i am not in their league, but thank you for that kindness.

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  3. The happiness flowing from those lovely girls is very moving!

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    1. Frances, their happiness in being together again moves me greatly, too!

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  4. Hawaii and Botswana! That is awesome. Many young people these days are so fortunate, with so many opportunities for travel and study. The upside of our global society!

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    1. Steve, they are indeed a global community. I appreciate that colleges are promoting study abroad opportunities more and more. The only way to truly break down barriers is to get to know one another, life under the skin.

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  5. i think these programs that encourage students to see some of the rest of the world are so important. what we've witnessed this past week, politically & globally, underscores how critical it is to develop empathy for those who speak a different language and have different priorities. what better ambassadors for our country than these smart, poised, brave, curious young women. i want to hug all three of them!

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    1. Susan, I think you're so right. Cross cultural connections will go a long way to breaking down the suspicion and hostility that is fracturing our world. And yes, these three would make wonderful ambassadors, its true.

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  6. I kick myself for not completing a semester abroad. Responsibilities came so quickly after school that its so much more difficult. Difficult but not impossible--set up a travel savings account and enjoying stories like this in the meantime!

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  7. I thought just what you said when I saw the picture - Ah to be footloose and fancy free and young. I didn't take my summer in Mexico when I could have and for a long time felt bad about it. At this point, those years are so far behind me, it's hard to feel bad about any of it.

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