Thursday, September 18, 2008

Home exchange redux: would you Adam and Eve it, mate?

On the heels of our good fortune in finding a Swedish exchange, I sent out 2 or 3 million new inquiries (well, maybe only 1 million) and decided to include countries that speak English. Initially we had limited our search to non-English-speaking countries, but after our disappointments with the Swiss and French exchangers, we wanted to keep all of our options open. Besides, we already had a Swedish exchange planned and would at least have some exposure to a foreign language. I was looking through the listings for the UK, and thought that London might be interesting, or even Ireland, as my father's family was originally from Ireland. I looked at a few listings from Ballymena, the town where his family came from, and while it seemed very beautiful, it seemed a bit too...well...boring. I like places where I can explore around and see new things all the time, not just new green hills. So ixnay on Ballymena, and I decided to look in England. I kept unintentionally clicking on this one listing over and over again, and even though it looked a lot nicer than our house, I decided there might be a reason I kept coming upon it and so I inquired. Amazingly, I received an immediate response with great enthusiasm from a lovely retired couple, and they said that they have never been to the States and would love to exchange with us! Their grandchildren visit them often and they have a Spiderman bedroom that Sam would like, and a guest bedroom that Sara could use. I liked them immediately, and we have made arrangements for a 4 week exchange to end a week before we are due in Sweden. Their house overlooks the deep blue water of northern England and they have a huge lawn that leads down to the cliff side. Their pictures remind me of books that I read in the 8th grade, sort of a "Heathcliff goes to Manderlay" or something written by a famous sister. Interestingly, they will be visiting Florida in November for a short exchange to the Orlando area, so we have invited them to dinner to introduce ourselves and to swap keys. Maybe we'll even include my parents who live nearby, so they can befriend our guests and take them out for a sail. Little did we know that this would be the end of our smooth sailing for a while.

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