Exchange Student Peace, llvl

I still remember the day I left and the day I came home. August 5. June 13. On either end, I spent two weeks with the other exchange students; the first two studying Swedish, the last two touring Europe. But in between, a life-changing year.

My world was changed beyond recognition. At seventeen, you assume the whole world is what you know. This was such a gentle way to understand how much bigger the world really is. My understanding of culture, politics, religion and love exploded and never fit back into the same box.

I was lucky, no doubt about that. The family was great. My Mama was a great second mama. And she was seasoned. She’d already sent one child off and had one child in. She’d send off 3 more. But we were a great fit. 40 years later I was privileged to do her memorial. Two of her girls, my Swedish sisters, would come to my wedding. And later to my sister’s memorial. Family was created and then it was nurtured.

And so the first part of my stay with them was at this summer house that I’m staying in now. Two of the sisters I met that first day were together yesterday. We went to lunch with my friend Lorraine. And we laughed. And ate. And looked at glorious scenery. And visited the garden where Mama’s and Papa’s ashes were interred.

These women have taught me to look for sisters and for friends in unlikely places. The boundaries between us were not large. But when you’re taking first steps, that’s a good thing… Peace is made up of small steps. Love and laughter and food ease the way. Beautiful views can help. So? off we go… more Peace. More Laughter. More Food. More glorious Nature!

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