10:23 p.m. on 12/6/13

in a bed

in a hotel room

snowing and a single digit outside

it’s so cold in here

even with the thermostat past ninety-five

and i can’t snuggle


not even my dog


won’t let my face touch the pillow

just my hair

won’t let my skin touch the blanket or the comforter

just the sheets

i assume they’ve been washed

stomach rumbles

was expecting some dinner this evening

that didn’t happen

lack of communication

too cold to go out and get some

wifi isn’t working

lamp is too low, too dim to read by

so i just lie here



While I’m here in this motel room, my daughter is in the hotel meeting room. She’s mingling with inbounders and rebounders and other outbound candidates like herself. It’s District Rotary Youth Exchange weekend. She and 39 other candidates from across the state are vying for 28 available spots in 20 different countries.RYE

Inbounders are exchange students from other countries who have landed in the state of Colorado. They’re here, at this weekend event, as ambassadors to their community and country. Tomorrow they will “sell” their country, trying to get the candidates to list it as one of the top five places to which they’d like to be assigned.

Rebounders are students from our state who were abroad last school year and are now back at their local high school. They attend to talk about their experience and answer any questions the candidates and/or their parents may have.

Outbounders are what the 40 candidates hope to be – leaving their family, house, school, friends, and community for the life-changing opportunity to be a foreign exchange student.

Also here this weekend are more than 50 Rotarians from around the state. They will observe the candidates all weekend as they participate in structured activities and less structured social time. And they will conduct 120 interviews, two with each candidate and one with each candidate’s parent(s).

After a three-hour parent meeting this evening, I have much to consider as I lie here–cold, hungry, alone, uncomfortable–but all I can think about is what my daughter, if granted this opportunity, might feel like those first few nights that she lies in a strange bed, in someone else’s house, on the other side of the world, a new family to get to know, with cultural and language barriers, an ocean away from her people, her home, her life, the bed that has held her all these years.

How will her poem read?


A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

To read what others were doing at this moment in time, click on the link below. And, think about participating in the next moment in time.  🙂


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. theclocktowersunset
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 23:54:11

    Ooh, *shivers* I want my teddybear now, and a cozy electric blanket or something. And lots and lots of pillows.


  2. Anonymous
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 10:23:55

    Beautiful, Randee. And, my thoughts have been similar.


  3. kellyingrandjunction
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 20:54:42

    Great details of mixed thoughts and feelings and special experiences
    for you and Addy!


  4. Matthew Winnett
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 05:08:18

    Hi Randee, I stumbled upon your blog when this post landed in my WordPress Reader due to the ‘Rotary Youth Exchange’ tag. It’s pleasing to find a blogger discussing the Rotary Youth Exchange journey from the parent’s perspective, particularly as I too am undertaking the same journey as a parent who’s daughter has been selected as a Rotary Exchange Student here in Australia and is departing for a year in Germany in January 2014.
    Rotary Youth Exchanges are now regarded as three year journey, the ‘pre-exchange’ journey as an ‘outbounder’, the exchange itself as an ‘inbounder’ and ‘post exchange’ as a ‘rebounder’ and parents are are in a way a shadow of that same journey. I’m very excited about the journey that lies ahead.


    • randee
      Dec 15, 2013 @ 09:41:04

      Oh, so that’s how you found my blog. Interesting that your daughter is leaving in January. Will that be the middle of the school year in Germany? Our area Rotary does not exchange with Australia, but New Zealand is an option and my daughter did list that as one of her choices. We should find out in a few days if she was selected…

      Will you be blogging at all about your daughter’s exchange? I know that here we are encouraged to NOT be in too much contact with our child once they leave. We shouldn’t “bother” them too much. I understand what they’re saying.


      • Matthew Winnett
        Dec 15, 2013 @ 14:28:50

        Yes, tags, I’ve recently realised, are very effective when wanting to locate blogs with a similar subject matter. I noted that you hadn’t used the same tag in your previous post, and that you had used ‘Foreign Exchange Student’ instead, which appears to be an expression used only in North America.

        Most Rotary Youth Exchange Districts in the Southern Hemisphere including those in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil send their students on exchange in January each year, after completing their previous school year in December, and therefore arrive in their host country half way through the host country’s school year. It’s surprising to read that your District is not offering Australia as a choice of host country, given how popular Australia appears to be as a destination of choice. Perhaps that has something to do with our small population density.

        Yes, during the pre-exchange briefings which we have attended, parents have been encouraged to limit their contact with their son and daughters and most importantly, not to ‘micro-manage’ from a afar as it has occasionally been a problem in the past.

        I am considering blogging about my daughter’s Youth Exchange journey, although I encouraged my daughter to create a WordPress blog site and since being selected as Rotary Youth Exchange student she is now blogging about her (pre) exchange journey here: http://madeleine.winnett.id.au/category/rotary-youth-exchange/

        I’m also considering writing about my recollections of my own Rotary Youth Exchange journey which commenced 25 years ago and continues to resonate through my mind like ripples in the water to this day.

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