By Jane Kipp Scott (Julesburg, CO / Host mother to Fidar Bedoshvili ’10)

I have never been the type of person to write about anything that has happened to me, but when you offered this invitation I felt compelled to submit a small article and brag about the most wonderful “son” anyone would be blessed to have as their foreign exchange student. Fidar is from Sholokhov, Russia, and he turned 17 in July 2010.

My husband and I looked over many profiles of wonderful students and when we read Fidar’s we knew right away that he would be an excellent fit with our family. After we made our selection, I called the local coordinator and asked her to see if he was still available and if he would consider having us as his family. Within a day or two I was told – It’s a Boy!!! – and I knew we were blessed to have a new member of our family.

A few weeks later, Fidar sent us an e-mail and from that moment on we started to get to know each other. He asked if he could call me “Mom” because it would be easier for him and my heart just melted because I knew we would become close and feel like family. (I was correct.) I asked quite a few questions and so did he. Communicating like this helps break the ice and gave everyone a glimpse into the other one’s life and you start to feel more comfortable with each other so when you do meet, you feel like you have know each other for awhile.

We got his room finished and bought his welcome home gift. We stocked the refrigerator and cupboards with food we knew he would like and with some we hoped he would like. Then we waited until the day he arrived: August 11, 2009. We finally received the flight information and confirmed the fact that we would be there to meet him and bring him home.

Fidar’s plane was due to arrive around 10:30 am, and so I wanted to leave the night before to be there with plenty of time to pace with excitement. My husband didn’t agree with me so I had to wait until the next morning to head to the airport. Denver International Airport is almost a three-hour drive from our house so we did leave around 6:30 am to give us a little extra time to pace.

Even though I have four children, three son-in-laws, six grandchildren, and two previous foreign exchange sons… would have thought this was my very first child! I was so excited. Christmas (which is my favorite holiday) wasn’t this exciting. I made a sign with his name on it and when we arrived at the airport I couldn’t sit still. Even though my husband is a calm, reserved person, he couldn’t sit still either, and we both found ourselves walking around the waiting area, nodding and smiling every time we passed each other.
His plane landed and I actually had butterflies in my stomach. Any minute now and I would get to meet the newest member of our family.

I was talking with people around me and trying to pronounce the name I had on the sign correctly. They asked me if I thought I would know him when I saw him and I thought I would but then I started to wonder if I would.  Just then this handsome, young man came up the escalator and when we saw each other we simply smiled and walked toward each other. Without even hesitating we gave each other a hug. My husband was walking toward us and greeted Fidar with a handshake and a hug. The first thing Fidar wanted to do was get a picture of us. So we took the picture, got his luggage and headed for the car.

He was very tired but he had this smile on his face and he seemed relaxed and we asked him if he was hungry, and he was, so we took him to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and introduced him to his first lunch in America. He seemed to love the food and the company. He did very well speaking English and even though he was tired I knew he was as happy and excited as we were to have him here.

We arrived home and showed him to his room. He showered and changed his clothes. He then gave us our presents he brought for us from Russia and talked for a few minutes and told us he was going to go downstairs and take a nap for a couple of hours. He slept until the next morning. When he woke up and had breakfast (which he never ate until he arrived in the States) he started his new journey with a physical for sports and a trip to the high school to pick out his classes and then the exciting adventure of two days for football began.

He experienced many new things here, such as his first professional baseball game with the Colorado Rockies, joining a couple of clubs, and playing sports. He enjoyed his first prom, went on a few trips, was in our daughter’s wedding, experienced his first amusement park and made many new friends.

If someone tells you that time doesn’t fly, they have never had a foreign exchange student. As I write, we are getting ready for his departure in six days. I hate to see him leave. We have been blessed to have him in our lives. I will cry when he leaves and I will miss him very much but I do plan on seeing him again and he will always be our son for the rest of our lives. We are blessed. Thank you CIEE for giving us this wonderful experience and enriching our lives.