Monday, December 20, 2010

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

I'll explain this photo at the end of today's post. But I just had to pique your curiosity. 
 The first of the holiday's guests have come and gone. St. Donald and I are dad and mom to 7 international exchange students. Because they are so far away we are lucky that the youngest of the crew, Ghufran age 20, lives in Toronto now. He is in his 3rd year at Ryerson University and is originally from Afghanistan. 
There is a long version and a longer version of his saga. In short, he came here when he was 16 for a year of high school and then returned to Afghanistan to his family and to start college. Unfortunately, he and his family received threats and G (Ghufran) wanted very much to return to the States to be safe. A resourceful young man and entrepreneur, G managed to get an invitation to be a counselor at an international youth conference that was held in Washington DC. He had done this once prior to leaving the states and found the experience wonderful and enriching, thus he wanted to do it again.
 We made arrangements for him to come "home" to Buffalo to spend a week with us in August before he planned to return to Afghanistan. Just before our visit was up, he skipped the Canadian border to seek political refugee status. Can you imagine any 17 year old that you know who might be willing to give up everything and start over in another culture and country?  So this is where he went to high school and has lived on his own for the last 4 years. For those doing the math, he'll be 21 in April. So that's the short version.  
 He came from Toronto to Ft. Erie, Ontatio, Canada by bus on Friday afternoon. The it is always better for either the St. Don or me to go pick him up and go through U.S. Customs with G than for him to go alone. It's always best to have a sponsor in his situation. 
 So at Customs we do the usual routine, pull up to the booth, turn off the car, hand over our documents and car keys and wait for 2 armed Homeland Security folks to come escort G into the building. A hour and a half and many questions and statements later, we are free to go and on our merry way to Christmas in Orchard Park. Yippee! I'm still in the short version.
  He spent 2 night here in his own bed: friends to see, lunches and dinners with former teachers, bowling, movies and laughter. G left today on the next leg of his journey - off to NYC and then San Diego, California for Christmas, then the reverse again on January 2nd back to Toronto. I promise this is the short form!
 Then straight away off he will go to Prague for a 10 day international youth conference. Remember I said he was an entrepreneur? He found scholarships, donations and matching funds to cover the $3,000 cost of the trip. This and manage a straight A average in his courses.
 Not only am I proud of his accomplishments, I am in awe of his ability to set and reach his goals. More proud momma details in another post.
 This in short is why I haven't done any crafting of late. Now to the explanation of the above photo. Tonight I did manage to do some origami folding of cash-ola, moolah, bucks, dollar bills as gifts for the nieces and nephew. a necktie, a heart and butterflies. I'll tape these to the back of the tags I made a couple weeks back and voilĂ , gifts will be finished. We don't go in for all the rushing, buying, wrapping and spending. There is already enough to do for the holiday food and guests.
 Tomorrow I'll explain my families silly and simple method of gift's inexpensive and fun. Until then, make something fun, If you can't craft, then make a smile!