Years ago Dave and I decided (inspired by an idea from Dave’s brother), that we wanted to create an opportunity for our kids to do some sort of experience/internship away from home the summer after their junior year.
In our opinion, the more different people we can gather to teach our kids, the better. And the more opportunities we can give them to learn and grow, the more they will be prepared for whatever life brings to them.
Broaden & Contribute. (one of our family mottos)
So I am overwhelmed with so much gratitude when I think of Claire roaming the beautiful land of the Netherlands being taught by some of the most wonderful people.
And they are people I’ve never even met.
This wonderful blog reader, Christine, emailed me after she read my post when we were searching for the right opportunity for Claire. She re-introduced herself (we have emailed back and forth in the past, and she actually served a mission in Romania after I did), and she also helped my parents with a parenting conference in Europe years ago. Such a small world!
She offered to have Claire come live with her family for the summer and work with her on their family business.
She explained it best, so here’s an overview from her as to what Claire is doing:
We have a small, family-owned publishing business (Fly-By-Night Press / Travel Europe Through Books) through which we market fiction (novels and short stories) written by my husband Val. I take care of Graphic Design and Marketing, and would be able to use Claire for extra help with photography, some possible blog-writing, and some graphic design / social media work. .. she can use the rest of the time hanging out with my daughters (18 and 15) and son (12), getting to know the area, and maybe learning a bit of Dutch.
We live just outside of Maastricht, Netherlands. Belgium is 15 minutes one way, and Germany is 30 minutes the other way. We are in the heart of Europe!
Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Founded by the Romans in 50 AD, it has many layers of history. It’s also the place where the EU countries signed the Euro Treaty, which created the Euro currency. I have a video you and Claire can watch about Maastricht HERE. Almost everyone here speaks excellent English, so Claire doesn’t have to worry too much about not speaking Dutch.
Wow. People are so awesome. Can you even believe how nice that is?? We had our feelers out for a few different things, but this just fit so perfectly.
I want to introduce their website which is HERE, but let me share some screenshots too:
I think it is such a cool concept to help “transport” people to other countries right from their own homes through reading these great books that “take you” into different cultures.
Their blog is also HERE, so interesting to read about this American family who have been living in Europe for 20+ years.
From that first email we got to know each other through email and FaceTime…this is when we all got to “meet” up for the first time:
There were all kinds of worries about Covid, of course, but Christine kept in touch with how things were going over in Europe and we kept scanning the news and everything looked hopeful that this could really be a possibility.
At first when we looked for flights, we got this notice with the red triangle below:
Covid-19 test as well as a 10-day quarantine, but by the time Claire left there were no restrictions any more, and we preceded to plan and go forward.
Summer has been crazy, especially for Claire who was trying to earn some money, work her tail off playing volleyball, and had her big Nationals tournament.
But I loved that morning before she took off, just me and her on a little walk in California talking through the world and all the adventure that awaited her. Oh, she was nervous as could be. And I have to say, my mama heart had to do some good work to get ready to let her go.
But she was also so full of positive anticipation. And every time I got worried about this whole deal, I was blanketed with so much peace. It just felt so right and good.
We packed that girl up and headed to the airport all together, and tearily sent her off.
…into the wild blue yonder.
And then suddenly there she was.
Almost a week into this adventure and these are a few of the pictures of her explorations so far:
Follow Fly By Night on Instagram (HERE) to keep up with her adventures!
I miss this girl already, more than I can say. But man alive, she is learning and growing in so many ways and it is pretty beautiful to see!
We are forever grateful for this family for providing this amazing experience! I sure hope she’s earning her keep! Thank you, thank you! xoxo
More ideas for summer internships:
(or “summer experience”…whatever suits you better!)
(Well, Grace actually went to China the summer after her sophomore year AND after her senior year, and did HEFY in the Dominican Republic after her junior year, so she got extra lucky:)…that post is from the second China trip.)