Home News Archives January 14, 2015


My Two Cents

by Stephen Scalf

Exchange Students

A student exchange can be a challenge, both for the student and for the host family.
For the student, in many cases it is their first time away from home for any extended period of time. So of course, there is homesickness to deal with. The student misses their home, their friends, their family… everything that is familiar to them.
Whenever we are placed in a new, unfamiliar environment, the natural thing to do is to compare it to the things we know and that are familiar to us.
“Well… back home we do it this way,” or “We don’t do things like that,” or especially, “We would never eat something like that where I come from.”
This isn’t just true of exchange students. Even after having been dragged around the world for the better part of 20 years because of my military assignments, when we got to Korea, Cindy struggled. It wasn’t like Germany, where she could fit in better and understand the language. It wasn’t like America, where she could easily drive wherever she wanted to go. It wasn’t like anything else she experienced. And so for our first year there, Cindy did not enjoy her time there.
However, at about the one-year mark, Cindy decided to stop comparing and to simply accept Korea for what it is. By embracing it as a new experience, without comparison, Cindy was finally able to appreciate the differences and have a much better time.
My point is, if adults who have had more experience with travel and experiencing new and different cultures can have a difficult time adapting, of course, this can be an even greater obstacle to overcome for an exchange student who is away from home for their very first time.
The exchange is not without challenges for the host family, either. The goal is to treat the student as a member of the family; however, no matter how much you open your heart and your home to them, there is always an awareness that they are a guest in your home and that special considerations need to be made.
For example, if Cindy and I needed to run somewhere and our older kids didn’t feel like going, we would simply leave them home. But with a guest, there is a real reluctance to “abandon” them, and to leave them home alone without someone to keep them company.
The host parents also want to provide as many different opportunities to experience things that are unique to this area, or to America – and so the host family tends to do a lot more things and go more places than they normally might do. And while these are wonderful and enjoyable experiences, they represent and additional demand on the host family’s time, as well as their pocketbook.
And then there’s that really big challenge: You don’t just open your home to the exchange student, you open your heart, as well. You become close, like family, and learn to love this young person; but then you have to say good-bye. And this is the hardest part of all.
This past week, our exchange student, Coralie, returned to her home in Germany. Although Coco had experienced her share of homesickness, she had worked through it and was very happy in Carlisle; however, a family situation arose that created enough distraction that her parents felt it best for Coco to return home early.
Before Coco arrived, I got nosey and did some research into her family. I learned that her ancestor, Joachim von Sandrart, born in 1606, was a very famous painter, who was made nobility by Emperor Ferdinand III in 1653.
The family’s title and nobility also led to a long history of military leadership. In more recent times, Coco’s grandfather was the commander of NATO forces in Europe, and her father is a general in the German Army – the commander of a tank division.
Because I knew that Coralie was coming from a class of society and a life of privilege that far exceeded anything we would be able to offer, I was all that more impressed by her most common phrase: “How shall I help?”
Her eagerness to pitch in and help with chores – such as her insistence in being allowed cleaning out the cat litter box – thoroughly impressed me, and I had great respect for the way Coco’s parents had raised their children – with a great work ethic.
We had a great deal of fun with Coco in our home. She was almost always smiling, and humming or singing. She was a delightful addition in our home.
It was very hard to say good-bye to her last week. Her departure has left a large hole in our lives and in our hearts.
And even though being a host family can be very demanding on your time and your budget, and comes with an almost certain guarantee of a heartbreak when it comes time to say good-bye, it’s an experience we wouldn’t have traded for the world.

And that's my two cents,
Stephen Scalf

Sharing a Smile

by Tom Metcalfe

Ghosts of Christmas' Yet to Come

Some might suggest that I am 14 days late with my greeting of the New Year and they would be correct. It wasn’t that I forgot or overslept, but rather, I had started a series of Christmas themes and I am just now getting to the greeting.
January is the first month of the year in our modern-day Gregorian calendar, and its predecessor, the Julian calendar. It consists of 31 days and the first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. It is one of seven months that has 31 days.
January is named after the two faced Roman god, Janus, the god of doors because this month is the door to the year.
The Roman god Janus represents all beginnings and possesses the ability to see all things past and future.
The month of January was added to the Roman calendar by Numa Pompilius around 700 BCE so that the calendar would equal a standard lunar year of 355 days. January became the first month of the year around 450 BCE, although March was originally the first month of the year in the old Roman calendar.
January originally consisted of 30 days when it was added to the 10-month Roman calendar. However, a day was added making it 31 days long in 46 BCE by Julius Caesar.
January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar that consists of 31 days. It did not exist in the 10-month Roman calendar. It is considered the coldest month of the year in most of the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest month of the year in most of the Southern Hemisphere.
January starts on the same day of the week as October and ends on the same day of the week as February and October in common years. During leap years, January starts on the same day of the week as April and July, and ends on the same day of the week as July.
January's birth flower is the Dianthus caryophyllus or Galanthus.
The birthstone for January is the garnet which symbolizes constancy.
There are two major holidays in this month – New Year’s Day on the first day of the month and Martin Luther King’s Birthday on the fifteenth. We moved the celebration of King’s birthday to the 19th so we could have a three day week-end.
This article probably provided more information about January than you ever wanted to know. Most of the information was retrieved from the web site timeanddate.com.

Last week’s trivia question - What is it that makes the jingle bell jingle? An encased steel or glass ball
This week’s trivia question - What movie, now showing in theatres, has a theme concerning Martin Luther King Jr. in Civil Rights marches.

P.S. How many tuba players does it take to change a light bulb? – It takes 5 – 1 to change the bulb and 4 to complain that it’s too high.

And On That Note...

by Ross Haney


Are you a fashionista?
Well, I’m not. I probably wouldn’t even classify myself as the least bit fashionable. But does fashion really matter? Honestly, I don’t think so.
As some spend a great deal of time on their morning processes, I…don’t. My morning appearance preparation schedule goes a little something like this:

7:39 Brush my teeth.
7:40 Rush to find a clean t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
7:50 Run to my car to hopefully get to school on time.
If you took notice, there’s no mention of my hair, mostly because there’s not much you can do with the curly bush on the top of my head, but also because, well, hairstyle isn’t really a priority. And you also may have realized that what I threw on before I ran out the probably wasn’t going to turn any heads in the fashion industry.
But back to my original question: Does fashion really matter?
These days, young people – especially young women – put huge emphasis on what they wear and how their bodies look. Girls will wake up in the early hours of the morning to style their hair, and then spend hours attempting to find the perfect outfit to look “cute” that day. Maybe because they’d like to look good, or maybe because we as a society are pressuring people to worry about their looks and the clothes they wear.
Some people shop for the most expensive clothing at specialty stores. Me? Well, my jeans are from Walmart and my t-shirts are from an assortment of various events in my life. And that’s just fine with me.
Honestly, it doesn’t make a single bit of difference if you’re the most fashionable person on the planet in your stunning, bedazzled dress and mink coat, or if you’re more comfortable in your Walmart blue jeans.
So wear stripes with plaid, don’t tuck your shirt in, wear white after Labor Day, and wear black on black if you like. No matter what these trends tell you, dress for you and only you.

And on that note, I’ll leave you!

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