By the way, Namaste

A little while ago, my husband and I spent the morning with a group of emotional teenagers.… Sorry, that’s redundant. I meant “more emotional than usual, even given the teen thing.”We were chaperoning a group of kids on year-long exchanges from all corners of the globe. On a regular basis during the year, these kids would leave their various host homes scattered across Idaho to gather in a central location. They bonded, comparing notes on their new lives in mostly rural places they may previously believed were only contrived as a setting for Napoleon Dynamite.I've been blown away by their resilience, buoyed in part by their adoption of the mantra:  “it’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different.”The girl from Turkey didn’t flinch when talking to an acquaintance who didn't realize Turkey is a country as well as the name of a bird.The boy from Argentina just smiled when a classmate was astonished that there were “actually still humans living down there.”Each time the kids converged, they shared stories of such awkward encounters and misunderstandings, and forged the ties that are the hallmarks of adolescence, strengthened by the intensity of their circumstances. At this gathering, like every other, they stayed up way too late talking, taking selfies, and laughing.… and realizing they’d each leave for home in a matter of weeks, possibly never to set foot here again....more