Monday, August 26, 2013

Parties, shopping and a visit to the Harley Davidson dealership

This weekend was a lot of fun and so, so busy! Friday night, Max, Leony and I went to a cookout hosted by the host family of the other German exchange student in Alexandria. We met so many good people and the Tomato Tart was a hit. And Max had his first "Dad Moment" giving Leony some money to get ice cream when all the teenagers decided to walk over to The Dairy Godmother after dinner.

Saturday there was a huge block party at our house with music, a bouncy house, a (planned) visit from the local fire truck, tons of food and beverages, and, after dark, a movie projected on a sheet. So much fun! We were out there from 1pm until 11pm (though I did take a nap from 5-7). One of my coworkers came for a few hours and brought her teenage daughter and two of her friends to meet Leony. They go to a different school but I think Leony had fun talking with them and they exchanged info so that's a good sign. :)

Yesterday we went to the West End Farmers Market to get some fresh, local produce. Max and Leony also had a sausage biscuit for breakfast. Plus we bought some cookies from Great Harvest.

When we got home, Leony and I put together our new couch from IKEA. Didn't need Max's help at all! :D Then we went to Pentagon City Mall. Leony definitely had fun shopping at Macy's. Check out my new dress:

Then we went to the Harley Davidson dealership. Max and I have a friend who works there who gave us a
tour of the whole place. Leony picked out some cool HD stuff and had her picture taken sitting on our friend's bike. She was so happy! :)

A very good weekend.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One week with our exchange student

As of last night, one week has passed already! It has been going well so far and I think we are all enjoying it. Leony is helpful and easy going. She does chores and volunteers to help out even more. She's not a picky eater and she has a small appetite so feeding her has not been difficult. She seems fine spending time on her own while I am at work and equally happy to be around lots of people. She is great with our cats. Momo and Erin are LOVING all the extra attention. :)

On Sunday we baked cookies and made a peach pie for my neighbor recovering from surgery.


Last night we made the pastry shell for the Heirloom Tomato Tart we are making for the cookout on Friday with the other exchange student family. I'm having fun explaining things to her and teaching her stuff. She's excited to be involved and learn. 

Her English is very good. Yesterday she took a test as part of the registration for school and she scored a 4.6 out of 6. I was so impressed!

There are quite a few students in her program who do not yet have host families. If you are interested, please check the International Experience website.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to take a TB test in Alexandria, Virginia

Bring with you:
- photo ID
- immunization records
- $22.39

1) Arrive early and be there when the office opens. Leony and I were there 15 minutes before it was open.

2) Get a letter. This is your place in line. We were "B."

3) Fill out a form. Give the form to the clinic staff, keep the letter.

4) Wait for them to call your letter. This could take awhile. They do not necessarily call you in alphabetical order. I guess it depends on what your form says.

5) Once you are called by one of the staff, you will follow them back to their office. They will copy the information from the form you filled out to another form that they must fill out. Then they will ask you many questions. How you answer depends on how long this step takes. When all the questions have been answered and all the forms have been filled out, the person getting the test will sign twice.

6) Then you go back to the waiting room and wait.

7) Eventually they will call your last name. They will give you something to take outside the clinic to the main desk and pay $22.39. If there is someone available to take your money then this step is quick. Otherwise, not so much.

8) Once you've paid, you bring it back to the clinic and they will either have you take the test or, like Leony, give you a form saying you are a low risk and do not need to take a test. Then you're done!

Expect to be there for at least an hour. Longer is more likely.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My first "Mom Moment"

Tonight there was a pizza/pool party for one of the other exchange students going to Leony's school and his host family invited her to come and meet him and some other kids that will be going to the same school. I knew that the host Mom was out of town but I thought I would meet the host Dad there. Instead when we showed up there was a bunch of teenagers chowing down on pizza but no adults. When I asked where the host Dad was, the other exchange student said he was gone. This took me a minute to compute. I thought he would be there with the two other children and that I would hang out with him while the kids got to know each other. Nope. Okay. Not knowing what else to do (because it would be super weird if I had stayed), I told Leony I would pick her up at the end of the party.


Had to call Max immediately and tell him. He laughed and called me Mom. Ha ha, guess I am!

Monday, August 19, 2013

First impressions of our exchange student

So far Max and I are really enjoying having Leony stay with us. She has been polite and helpful, cheerful and excited. Her English is pretty good and aside from a few words here and there, we have not had any trouble communicating with her. Max and I have enjoyed showing her around and introducing her to the different aspects of American culture.

Friday we went to Whole Foods and she was really glad to see all the fresh produce. One of the American stereotypes she had was that it was very difficult to get fresh fruits and vegetables. For lunch we went to Red Rocks in Alexandria. Delicious pizza! We also went to visit the two Little Free Libraries in Del Ray, which she thought was really cute.


She also got her pass to our community's pool and fitness center for the year. Every step she seems so excited. That night we watched Remember the Titans.

Saturday we went to Potomac Mills for some shopping, had lunch at Silver Diner, a little shopping at IKEA (which she said it very similar to the one in Germany) and then to Costco. That was fun! :)

She's handling the jetlag well and I think she'll be fine by the end of the week. Tomorrow she'll be meeting another German exchange student going to her high school as well as some of the other students that go there. We also have plans for Friday for more of the same. And Saturday there's a big block party where she will finally meet all of our neighbors.

It's a really good start!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Host parent for a year

Wednesday night, I became a host Mom for a 15 year old German girl. Yesterday was Leony's first full day in the US. We went to the Smithsonian Zoo for my company's picnic. She met a bunch of people from my office. For dinner we had tomato salad, roasted potatoes and grilled sausage for Max and Leony. Today I had the day off so we went to Whole Foods for their avocado sale ($1 each!) then to Red Rocks for lunch. Delish! Awesome pizza. Afterwards we went to Home Deport to get a house key for her. Then I took her to visit the two Little Free Libraries in Del Ray. Before dinner I helped her setup a blog. You can read it here: USA Exchange Year.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Riviera in Riga, Latvia

Max and I went to Latvia to visit some friends we haven't seen in two years and we LOVED it. The people are wonderful, everything is so reasonably priced and affordable, and the food is great! Our friends took us to Riviera in Riga, which was amazing.

served with Prosciutto Parma, Arugula, grilled peppers, olives, pine nuts and olive oil-lemon sauce

Puff pastry  La Buche goat cheese tart 
with fig, peach jam and lettuce salad

Chanterelles Risotto
with parmigiano reggiano, gorgonzola, roasted parma ham and dill

Chanterelles Cream Soup
with chanterelles fried in truffle oil and garlic - herb crostini

Barbary duck breast
served with sugar pea mash, caramelized fruit and blackcurrant liqueur sauce

Hot chocolate fondant 
with home made tonka bohne ice cream and berry sauce

Seasonal berries
with whipped Mascarpone cheese and Valrhon chocolate





Saturday, August 03, 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013


The first time Max and I went to Paris was in highschool before we met. The second time was for our honey moon.

Here are some more pictures from our most recent trip.