Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I would rather be doing......

I would much rather be posting about my weekend in Ohio with Shay. I would much rather be posting about what we did. I would much rather be posting about her Graduation and how proud I am of her. I would much rather be posting about our drive home, which I would rather have been posting was an enjoyable drive. But I can't and it wasn't and this week since (has it been a week?) has been the week from hell.

As is the norm with most teenagers, Anna(my exchange student) and I have had some communication issues. You say that is typical? That is what I thought. That was my experience with my own teenage daughter. She did not understand why I needed her to call everyday when she got home from school but I thought we had that worked out. It came out last week that Anna does not know how to clean a bathroom. And since she is responsible for cleaning her own bathroom she needs to know how to clean a toilet, sink and tub. It came out last week that Anna's family has a housekeeper who does these things. Well, I guess when she returns she will know how to clean those things. Well, that was the plan.

You see, I have a neighbor who I thought was helping me out. She would let Anna come over and hang out with them. When she called me on Sunday to ask if Anna could go shopping with her on Monday I told her that I did not have a problem with that but that I needed Anna to ask me. I needed Anna to communicate with me. I explained that we were having this communication issue and I needed her help and asked her not to get in the middle of things. At the same time I asked her not to tell Anna she would do things with her until they had been cleared with me. You see, my thought was that if she mentioned it to Anna first and for whatever reason I said no then I was the bad guy. Are you following me?

Without going into all the gory detail I can tell you that last night I delivered Anna and all of her stuff to the area coordinators home. They are scheduled to conduct a home check on the neighbors this morning (same neighbor as above) who contacted the coordinator while I was on the road and said they would like to take Anna. WTF. This all came out on Tuesday when we drove out to the coordinators house for a meeting that I hoped would help Anna and I understand each other. Anna pretty much had her mind made up that she wanted to leave my house and go to the neighbors. So we arrived home late (again) on Tuesday knowing that one day soon Anna would be leaving and more than likely it would be the neighbors. Have you followed me so far?

Wed came and Anna left for school at the normal time. When she got home she called me to tell me that she was "here". Usually she says I am home. She then went to a neighbor boys house (not the same neighbor) to do homework. She arrived home sometime while I was out mowing the lawn so I did not see her. I came in and Shay started dinner for me while I took a shower. Then I grilled some pork chops and asked Shay to tell Anna that dinner was ready. Anna was not hungry so would not be joining us.

Thursday morning came and again Anna left for school. This time when she got home Shay was here. I had forgotten my cell phone anyway. I told Shay to ask Anna if she needed anything for her costume for Friday (lat night) as we had tickets to the Disney Not So Scary Halloween Party. Anna said that she didn't think I wanted her there and that she did not want to ruin my time. So they talked a bit and I got home around 6pm. Shay told me that Anna said she was tired and was going to bed. Again, are you following me?

I felt like Shay and I were walking on egg shells. Not know what to say and having this person living in the house who obviously did not want to be there. I called the coordinator and after speaking for a while it was decided that I would take Anna out there. So yesterday after Anna got "home" from school we packed up and drove out there. Shay and continued on to Disney as we decided to go toe the Halloween event. Pictures to come. We got home after 1am. I went into Anna's room and found a note on the bed that she had written me. Basically the "it's not you, it's not me, it just is".

Don't get me wrong, I am not angry or mad at Anna. She is a kid. Of course she wants to be at the fun house. I was going to teach her how to clean toilets, sinks and tubs. I was teaching her to consequence of not planning ahead for homework and having to tell the teacher why you don't have your homework done. She told me at 6:30 on Sunday that she needed to go to Walmart to print some pictures for an assignment that was due on Monday. It should have been done before she went with the exchange program to Disney all weekend.

So now I have to live across from Anna and these neighbors for the next 9 months. I then have to live across the street from these people (who I thought were friends) for the rest of the time that I live in Florida. They had their house on the market for almost a year and just took it off within the last month.

So hubby told me yesterday that one of the Marine Officers that he is in school with told him the story about his friend who had an exchange student. The same thing happened to them. The student became friends with the neighbors and asked to be moved. And get this, the student was from Sweden. I think the program makes it too easy for them just to say I want to be moved when the going gets a little tough. I have been having conversations with Anna's father and he was helping me figure out ways to communicate with Anna.

How did I go from being The Best State and the Best Family to this?


Tonjia said...

Michelle, you dont need this hassle. Like I told Shay, you opened your home to this girl and it clearly sounds like she isnt appreciative.

I am sorry you and your family had to go through this.

Does the neighbor have a maid? If not, Anna will probably want to leave there soon. It sounds to me like she is pretty spoiled. Maybe she should just go back to Sweden where high school students get waited on and dont have to clean their own bathrooms......

just my opinion. Do I have the wrong impression of this student exchange program? Arent these kids here as GUESTS and they are supposed to appreciate and take part in the family??? Or are our host families supposed to just be a place to stay and be waited on, like a hotel?

Debbie said...

Tonjia took the words right out of my mouth and said it exactly as I would have. Geez!

You're right in feeling how you do Michelle. This is way out of line. All of it.

Hopefully after some time goes by, it will get a little easier. This just sucks big time.

Lisa J said...

I am very sorry you are going through this. It is taken personally I know. Sometimes the personalities just do not click and it is best that she move on to finish her experience here in the States. So instead of being angry with the neighbors, be thankful they took her and you are now free to do what you want.

You know I am not keeping the baby any was just too much. I took it very personal. They tell me the baby does not cry for the other sitter, now how is that? I loved on that baby, did everything her momma told me, I was very good to her. But we did not click. Now I am glad I do not have her, I am a whole lot stressed and even though I was doing them a favor, it just did not work out. Oh well. We tried. Now I have more room in my house and I have more time for my computer and photography classes!!!

McMom said...

What a drama!!I hope now you can enjoy some time with Shay!! When I lived in FL my friend had similar problems with her Au Paire's (Nannys) She had a great one from Germany but after she went home (when her year was up), she went through 3 more in just a few months. It was like they only wanted to come to the US to play! Finally she gave up and went without one. (like a "regular" Mom, LOL!)

Lea said...

Whew! What drama is right!

I take it Anna will depart any second now (she doesn't seem vested in your household even now, so why mot?) and you and Shay can have your time together unencumbered, to just relax and enjoy every precious moment.

You certainly didn't need this weighing heavy on your mind as you travel all the way to WA!

If the program will move her then great, not that it's the right thing to do, but "now" is none too soon if she's unhappy.

I feel badly for you, who couldn't possibly have been more gracious to Anna and her family, dealing with these meddlesome neighbors! Grr!

Sage said...

Oh, Michelle. I just knew something was wrong because you hadn't posted yet about Shay's graduation, and I know you were so proud of her and so excited for her.

I feel so bad that you guys had to go through this. It seems that so often these exchange kids are so spoiled. Well, it's out of your hands now, and good luck to your neighbors!

Okay, now we want pictures of Shay's graduation!

AirmanMom said...

Michelle...I am so sorry to hear of this situation...Such a shame you are losing valuable moments with Shay! I guess this is a perfect example of "it takes all kinds to make the world go round". You and your family are the positives in this sometimes negative world.
You know better than the rest of us how well you will get through just stinks for now.
I do feel bad for Anna, she has lost out on an outstanding opportunity for be it.
I will pray for you to have strength through these next uncomfortable days and weeks.
You have made the right decision...stay strong and pray hard!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

kim-d said...

Awww, man, Michelle--just what you DON'T need. It sounds to me like there may have been a little jealousy of Shay involved, too. You take a spoiled girl, interferance from the neighbors, and add in a little of the green-eyed monster and you get a bad situation.

You did the best you could do, but it was like two against one when you add in the neighbor. How old is this neighbor anyway; is she trying to relive her high school years or something, because she's acted like an immature teenager!

I think you should take the high road on this one; be the bigger person. You can make this not be an uncomfortable situation by still being nice and cordial to Anna and the neighbors, no matter how hard it is. But then I would also know that the neighbor has shown you who she really is, and I would never forget it. Anna is a spoiled teenager and they don't always do reasonable things, but this neighbor is supposed to be an adult. Know what I mean? I just wouldn't play into any of their drama, and I wouldn't give them anything to talk about. Because you gotta KNOW the Anna-living-with-the-neighbors situation is probably gonna fall apart at some point, too. Hopefully not. Hopefully everyone will live happily ever after now, but I'm not counting on it.

Enjoy your time with your girl, and move on to IMPORTANT things, like showing us pix :)!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You attempted something that most families never would (me included) You tried your best to give Anna a supportive and caring environment while at the same time teaching her a few things about how most Americans live.

You have nothing to feel bad about. Hold your head up high and be proud that you accomplished what you did.

I suspect that the "fun" family may not turn out to be as fabulous as Anna thinks, especially after 9 months. But that was her choice.

You rock Michelle.

Hallie :)

One Scrappy Chicklet said...

I hate that you are going thru all of this. I doubt it will take long for Anna to decide the grass was not so green after all.

Hang in there,