Exhilaration and Exhaustion: Our New Baby, (I Mean) Foreign Exchange Student Arrives.
Last night at 2:22 am a bus rolled into the parking lot at Watt and Fair Oaks carrying our foreign exchange student, Noelie. Coincidentally my neighbor and friend was bringing home her second child, a new baby boy at the same time. I cannot tell you who had a better grip on the situation, but I have a feeling my neighbor was more prepared.
Noelie is here because my daughter was the only person in her entire school to volunteer her parents to host a French student. Charlie doesn't even take French anymore, but that is besides the point. We, meaning Bryan and I, function best under a cloud of ignorance and game day decisions. So at 4:00 yesterday afternoon I started panicking and bought Noelie some new bedding, pellegrino and a quiche for her arrival.
When I saw her in the parking lot at 2:22 am last night (this morning) my heart felt incredibly excited, scared and unprepared. I flashed back to 13 years ago when I was a brand new mom and I wasn't sure about anything when I brought Charlie home. Just like then, I was a sleep deprived mom who only cared that her room was the right temperature, or the house was quiet enough in the morning for her to sleep. The difference is; Noelie is sixteen. My adrenaline was flowing as soon as the sun rose. I wanted Noelie to sleep. And sleep she did.
My fears subsided as the day progressed. I re-read her bio in which she was clear about her interests: art, music, art, cinema. She awoke and the quiche was ready. We toured the hood, we went shopping at Whole Foods for her crepe recipe, we went art hopping and lunching in midtown, and ended up at the Crocker for the coolest "high-fructose" exhibit. We have multiple trips planned for her, but today was her first day. I felt something I hadn't in a long time. I wanted to show her the best of Sacramento, and I wanted to see it too. It was exciting and exhilarating.
Noelie is not even a day old to me and I could see she was exhausted. I made lasagna at home and Charlie insisted they watch the movie Stepbrothers. I saw Noelie smile in a new way at the sophomoric humor, and my heart lifted. Could she be happy here? She said no to parasailing over the lake, but maybe she will watch Anchorman with me. We will see.