Wednesday marks the two month “anniversary” of Penny’s arrival to our golden shores. That means 1/5 of her stay is over. I can hardly wrap my mind around that! It does not seem like 2 months at all. Seriously.
It’s been another busy week. Mike’s parents left on Wednesday morning after a nice stay and visit with us. I decided to take the girls to the mall on Friday to have their pictures taken together, so on Thursday I introduced Penny to Burlington Coat Factory and she enjoyed shopping there but didn’t get anything to wear for her pictures. I wound up finding a sweet little dress for Leah, and so we matched up what Penny had in her closet as best we could. I had to talk her out of a graphic t-shirt. :-)
Friday we went to the photo shoot and as long as Leah was clinging to Penny, she did just fine. The minute Penny stepped away, Leah wanted nothing more to do with the whole venture and screamed and cried. So we got a few good pictures and some hilarious ones of Leah crying (I was also trying to get her 18 month photos).
While we were waiting for the photos to print out, Penny ran into some friends who encouraged her to go to the Homecoming Dance. She said she didn’t know and I took the bull by the horns and explained that Penny was nervous to go on her own without a date. The girls quickly exclaimed that they were not going with dates and she should just go anyway! This set the wheels in Penny’s head spinning. She asked me what I thought.
I told Penny that she will be more likely to return to Thailand thinking, “Oh, I should have gone to Homecoming!” than she would be to think, “Oh, I should never have gone to Homecoming.” I told her we always regret the things we don’t do more than we regret the things we did do. She said, “you want me to go?” and I said, “I want you to experience as much of being an American teenager as you possibly can and want to.” This has been my philosophy all along. I am not going to force her to do anything, but I am going to encourage her to do everything.
We took about 3 more steps and she said, “Ok, I am going to go.” I was excited and said I would take her dress shopping over the weekend.
On Saturday, Mike’s sister arrived for a 2 day visit, driving her hot little sports car, which Penny totally fell in love with. Every time we went out, Michael and Paula were in one car and Penny, Leah, and I were in our station wagon. Penny would spend the entire time watching in the rearview mirror as Paula followed us. Sunday, we all went to Paula’s hotel to go swimming and afterwards, I hung back with Paula and asked her if she would mind driving Penny around a bit in her car. She said no problem, so I asked Penny if she’d like to ride in it? The grin that stretched across her face didn’t abate the entire evening. We took a picture of her sitting in the car and I watched as much as I could as she happily smiled and sat in that car for the ride of her life, her first time in a sports car. Paula even put the top down for her. Penny was in heaven.
Today we had a real AFS kind of day. Leigh and Lucas of A Viking in South Carolina were in the area visiting family and seeing the sites of DC and Leigh and I chatted about getting together for a bit to meet after lots of fun on Facebook and blogs. Even though both Penny and Lucas were like, “We’re doing what with whom!?” we went ahead as host moms do and made plans to meet up. Ultimately, Leigh decided to stop over at the house on their way back to SC, and they made it over around 12:30 this afternoon. It was so neat to exchange hugs and hellos and sit and chat for a while about AFS and school and America and Sweden and Thailand and all of that good stuff. Leah woke up from her nap about mid-visit and Lucas convinced her he wasn’t so bad, so she offered him the $5 bill from her “Pat the Cat” book, which they swapped back and forth for a while. They didn’t have long to stay as they had a long journey ahead of them, but it turned out Leigh knew some girls from Thailand who Penny had met at AFS camp, so that was cool. And we have been told to let them know if we are in SC any time. Although she was quiet, as she always is with new people, when Leigh and Lucas left, Penny asked if we had any plans to go to SC. I think they made quite an impression on her!
After they left, we went dress shopping. I explained semi-formal wear to Penny, who just wanted to go back to Burlington to find something. I told her we’d need to go to the mall to get a dress, and we tried some at JC Penney’s first, but Penny was so embarrassed by how much skin they showed that she refused to let me even see them! We went to Deb and tried on a bunch of dresses, but she insisted on keeping on her t-shirt over her top half, so all I could see were the skirts. I texted Mike, “Unless the Amish are suddenly in the semi-formal dress business, we are in serious trouble here.” Penny really wanted something modest that didn’t expose a lot of skin, but the style these days is strapless! Finally, we found a lace bolero jacket and decided she would wear that over top of whatever dress she chose. She found a lovely little black dress and that settled it! I hope she’ll let me take a few pictures on Saturday evening. The dress she chose really made her smile and I think she will be happy wearing it.
So that closes out Penny’s second American holiday, Columbus Day. I had plans to drive Penny up into the mountains to see the fall leaves and then to go to Luray Caverns, but with the decision about homecoming and after looking at our schedule for this week, it just wasn’t in the cards for a trip up there. Hopefully sometime soon!
Tomorrow we will go to the school for a Vera Bradley bingo night. Penny’s friends down the street invited her to attend and I had already learned about it and asked my friend Wendy to go, so we will all meet up at the school and win some bags! Hopefully we all get lucky :-D Wednesday and Thursday, I’m busy shuttling Michael and Leah to various appointments and then Friday I think we have a down day. Saturday Leah will go off to my friend’s overnight and we will get Penny ready for her big dance. Sunday I am volunteering at NPR in the evening, and then it will only be 5 days till our Florida trip. I’m shocked that it’s all coming about so quickly!!!! There’s only 10 weeks or so till Christmas. Sheesh!