The week of the general election, we took Louisa (Germany) to Washington, D.C. Beyond the excitement surrounding the campaigns, we also visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and all of the war memorials. She also toured the National Archives and the Capitol, guided by a staff member of U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-FL). My husband Stuart and I previously hosted another German exchange student.
His name was Reimut, and he was with us from 1989-1990, when we lived in Phenix City, AL. Reimut was on the basketball and tennis teams and became a dedicated University of Alabama football fan. He was living with us when the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989.
Three months into his exchange year, Reimut became very sick and had to be hospitalized. He was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes, and his mother flew over from Germany to be with him and decide a course of action. Because of his maturity, independence, and discipline, Reimut not only finished out his year, but he thrived. He accomplished so much and completely assimilated into our family and circle of friends. We told him that because of our experience with him, we were going to consider hosting another exchange student. He said, “No, I’ll be the only one.”
And he was—until his eldest daughter, Louisa, joined us 26 years later!
While we didn’t host any exchange students between Reimut and Louisa, we have been greatly rewarded through the years with visits. Reimut, along with his wife, Cecylia, as well as his sister, parents, and friends have visited us in most of the states where we’ve lived. In addition, we spent two weeks in Germany in 2014. In the summer of 2015, Reimut, Cecylia, Louisa, and her two sisters spent part of their vacation with us in Florida. We knew then that Louisa would fit in nicely as a new family member.
Louisa was on the high school swim team this fall and is going to try out for the tennis team this spring. Just a few weeks ago, she experienced her first collegiate football game in Tuscaloosa, watching the Crimson Tide. She now understands the passion of Southeastern Conference football, and the Tide has another German fan!
—Lisa Mitchell (FL), host mom of Louisa (Germany)