It is somewhat mortifying to review the last couple of posts that I wrote while Covid-y and find all of the grammatical errors and typos. But since the main point of my most recent post was that I was so Covid-addled that I was having difficulty completing even basic tasks, I will console myself that I was inadvertently proving my point.

So. Y’all. Things have been busy, and I’ve barely even described all of our various activities getting G acclimated to life in the US. So I’m going to try to catch you up on this.

First: school activities. This was a bit of a scramble because G arrived just as most teams had completed their try-outs, and while she didn’t have much sporty experience, she wanted to join something. She eventually settled onto the cheer team, and the coach has been super gracious and kind and welcoming. Apparently being a cheerleader is such a classic American thing to do that it’s in high demand among many incoming exchange students, and so we’re fortunate that the coach is willing to include them while also understanding that they’ve got all sorts of other travel plans as well.

On J’s advice, we tried hard to ensure that G’s first days were fun. On the day of her arrival, after some time to eat, rest, and unpack, I brought her to Jumpin’ Jacks, where we met Cute W for dinner and a Water Ski Show. Then Cute W biked home and I dropped G at Lansing’s, where J had met her friend after work to pick flowers, which has become a late-summer tradition for them.

W spent the rest of that first week exploring Life In Niskayuna. We took G on her first trip to Target, she biked around the neighborhood, and J decided that we needed to acquire some early Halloween candy so that G could taste-test American candies.

Since it is literally my job to know what fun things are happening around the area, we gave G a lot of choices for her first weekend in the USA, and she wanted to check out the Washington County Fair. We had never been to this particular fair (since Altamont is closer), but it was fun, and it felt like it was a bit more relaxed and less crowded than Altamont. Although that could also be because Cute W and I spent much of the time lounging at a picnic table with a jumbo refillable lemonade while G and another exchange student in town enjoyed going on the rides and exploring on their own. We were particularly charmed by the pig races, we loved that the demolition derby included a Barbie car (demolition derby is so not my thing, but G was really into it), and of course, we made sure that the exchange students tried some fried dough.

On Sunday, we drove over to the Troy Farmers’ Market, stopping at Cohoes Falls along the way. This is always such a great market, and the weather was perfect. We enjoyed some live music, ran into our friend Jennifer who was displaying her beautiful handmade Brosgé Clothing, and, of course, sampled maple treats and picked up a fabulous chocolate tart from Dutch Desserts (if you have never had one of their tarts, remedy this situation).

The next week got a bit hectic with more logistics. G was busy with cheer practice and getting oriented and acquainted with her fellow high school exchange students while J was preparing for the big college drop-off. When we brought her to Smith on Friday, September 1st, it was also G’s first visit to an American college campus. The campus is beautiful and we had a gorgeous day to explore it. Favorite spots include the Lyman Conservatory (where J picked out her free-to-new-students plant) and Neilson Library (this is a view into the library’s cafe and its fourth-floor terrace). Just to quickly catch you up, J has been loving Smith: she’s loving the people, the classes, the activities, and the campus.

Meanwhile, back at home, school started! J made it one week at college before testing positive for Covid, which wrought havoc on our schedule. Between the Covid exposure and school/cheer obligations, G didn’t make it to any of the fests during Schenectady’s big festival weekend (Greek & Italian, plus the Stockade Art Show), and I tried not to feel too guilty about it. And then through that week and the following weekend, we were just barely getting our bearings, with me either still sick or isolating, Cute W at a work conference, and G getting acclimated to classes.

And the next weekend, we headed out on our first big tourist trip! But I’ll get to that one later.


  1. Mary Ellen Whiteley

    What a great match you are with G! It sounds like a wonderful experience for everyone!

  2. Nana in Savannah

    I am tired just listening to the family schedule, but I, too want to be your exchange student!

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