PAX exchange student from Maine holding an icicle
Eneko will be surprised by the bigger icicles he finds later in the winter!

"Mom in Maine" Learns from Student

The firsts are what amaze me the most about my exchange son, Eneko, this year. The excitement that fills him when he's about to do something or see something he's never seen before brings me so much joy. There have been many firsts this year. Eneko ate lobster, went camping (and helped set up a tent), went mini golfing, picked apples and went on a hay ride, watched his very first demolition derby, carved a pumpkin, went trick or treating and to a Halloween party. Just today, he held the very first icicle he's ever seen then helped shovel snow in the most meticulous manner. Everything Eneko does he does in that same meticulous manner. He would only pick the reddest apples, and he took his time to draw and then carefully carve the perfect jack-o-lantern.

Today was probably my favorite first so far. Seeing Eneko so excited to hold an icicle in his hand reminded me of all the simple things that I take for granted. Eneko has only seen snow once before in his life. The icicle was hanging off the bumper of my van when Eneko spotted it. He grabbed for it, showed it to me with excitement in his voice, and almost brought tears of joy to my eyes, because he was so happy. He told me to take a picture so he could send it to all his family and friends back home to see.

Eneko learned that this icicle he held in his hand was small compared to the ones I warned him would hang from the house as winter progresses. We joked about how he is going to dislike the snow as much as the rest of us come mid-March when we are still getting three-foot snow storms. I learned a few things myself today. The first is to never take the little things for granted and enjoy the beauty this world brings us, even if in the form of snow and ice. Probably the most important....how to clean a driveway of snow more efficiently and neatly than I have ever seen before!

—Michelle White (ME), host mom of Eneko (Spain)