Tag Archive | Norway

My company blew up my world!


There are many things about my job and the company I work for that I really love. And over the course of my career, this company has changed many things about what I know and how I’ve developed. This is as it should be. But the greatest effect I have seen personally is actually cultural.

When I started working here at the age of 18, I was a fresh high school grad. I had lived in this city my entire life – actually within a 10 mile radius from where I was born. I was in a Catholic orphanage. I was adopted and raised by a loving Catholic family. I attended Catholic grade school and high school. I graduated from a Catholic college. I did (and do) consider all those things to be a blessing in their own right. And it was by chance that this is also the founding city and headquarters for this huge corporation in which I have built my career.  I had family, friends and neighbors who worked here. I felt very much at home.

As I worked my way through my career I found myself in a role as recruiter in our International division. It was my entry into HR and  by far my favorite role of my career.  Within one month my world went from being Cincinnati-centric to being global. Wow – my company “blew up” my world! What a change. I found myself talking to people all over the world. They came to visit and shared stories of their countries and their cultures. I was traveling to colleges across the US and interacting with students who were my age but from worlds I did not know and some countries I had never heard of before. With that single role I became an adventurer at heart. I created a list of places I want to see before my days are done. I was inspired to actually pursue bringing a foreign exchange student into my home and was delighted when Heidi from Norway became my daughter for a year.

This single aspect of my career has helped me grow in so many ways. I am privileged to have learned from so many people. I immersed myself in understanding other cultures to the point that I was able to create and deliver cross-cultural training sessions to my colleagues. I appreciate, live and breathe diversity and inclusion every day of my life. Today I find myself privileged to be in a very diverse and rich organization. My boss is from Mexico. I work on teams and sit by colleagues from China, Japan, Canada, Venezuela, Columbia, Germany, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, England, Egypt and so many more places. I know and appreciate not only Catholics but Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and more. I don’t know all the countries nor all the religions of those who I work and laugh with. Without leaving my company or even leaving my desk I now can say that I am not just a citizen of Cincinnati but a citizen of the world.

Even as I write this blog I am fascinated to look at my visitor counter and see that people from 15 different countries have read my words. I hope you have all felt welcome and/or inspired. I appreciate each and every one of you! Thanks for joining my world – be blessed!

Kreativ Blogger Award!!


I opened my blog today to find a delightful surprise!

 

Ann from Channel Comfort has nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award! I’m thrilled and honored that my writing has inspired a fellow blogger to recognize me. And I am humbled! THANK YOU Ann. I love your blog as well and hope my readers will come take a look!

Rules of Acceptance:

1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the award.

2. Post a photo of the award.

3. Share ten things about yourself readers don’t know.

4. Choose six people to present this award to.

5. Let the six bloggers know they have been awarded.

So here we go…

Ten things that readers do not know about me:

1. I grew up in an orphanage, was adopted at age 8, and had a brother find me after 25 years of separation. What a blessing!

2.  I took a ride in a hot air balloon on my 40th birthday. It was an exhilarating start to my bucket list! Feels like floating – can’t wait to do it again!

3.  I served on the jury of a capital murder trial when I was 20. SCARY stuff but I learned alot about the law and myself.

4.  I am a certified Myers-Briggs trainer and see personality styles come to life in every conversation I’m in. Love this stuff! Oh, yes, I’m an ENFP.

5.  I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree at the age of 40, having taken classes on nights and weekends over a 20 year span of time. Whew – I swore I’d get out of college before my kids got in – and I did!

6.  I love animal prints, especially leopard as well as blingy things. If you read my blog you’ll know the blingy part from my recent post: Rocks and rings and things that go bling.

7.  I have the cutest little Bichon Frise dog, 3 year old Gracie and she keeps me great company as I transition to empty nest status.

8.  I hosted a foreign exchange student from Norway, named Heidi for a year during my daughter’s Sr. year of high school. It was a great opportunity and I encourage anyone thinking about it to just do it! It’s not all easy or a bed of roses but it’s a fabulous chance to learn about another culture and touch the life of a student abroad.

9.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a plane. It makes me giggle to think about it at my age – I’ll be like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith show. It’s on my bucket list too!

10.  I collect angels – both figuratively and for real. I have a puppy pile of them that escort me around in life and I’m honored they help me in so many ways.

Passing on this nomination to the following bloggers who have recently inspired me:

http://familyhaikus.wordpress.com/

http://frominside2out.wordpress.com/

http://whispersforhomeandsoul.wordpress.com/

http://pegoleg.wordpress.com/

http://rtewrite.wordpress.com/

http://becomingcliche.wordpress.com/

BEING A FOREIGN EXCHANGE “MOM”


I recently sent my foreign exchange student back home after being with me and my daughter for a full school year. The experience was something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school day dreaming about jetting off around the world on adventures. So this past year I decided to take advantage of my daughter’s final year of high school and make this happen.

Our student was a lovely girl from Norway. From the very beginning she seemed to fit our family well – she liked similar shows and activities as my daughter. She wanted to dabble in American sports and she signed up for several sports throughout the year. She worked hard in the beginning to get a handle on the US school system, and a Catholic private school at that (nope, she wasn’t Catholic, and she wasn’t religious in any form). Things got off to a great start.

We hit some snags but that’s to be expected along the way. I’m not sure if it was cultural or just the personality of our student but she didn’t bond with us in the tight way I had heard other students do with their families. At times I felt like she was simply on a 10 month vacation and sometimes I felt we were in her way because of our conservative beliefs and behaviors. We’re not monks of course but we certainly couldn’t compete with the California lifestyle I later found out she wished to have on her exchange.

At the end of the day I have no regrets. I’m glad to have done it. I’m glad to have provided this experience for my daughter and for our exchange student. But I’m also left wondering. I ponder whether the lack of bonding meant little to no influence in the life of this girl. She was polite and genial (well, for the most part). But I can’t put a finger on whether or not my dream to have her here had much impact on her at all. I wonder if our faith and what she learned about our culture has changed her heart or her behaviors in any way. I wonder whether she went home wiping her brow, glad to have gotten through it. I wonder if I will ever see her again. 10 months is a long time to give emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I feel a connection to her as a mom in a way that I’m pretty sure she doesn’t reciprocate. So I wonder and ponder and muse at the level of influence we had on her. I wish for her all the dreams of her young life. I hope that she remembers us and her time here fondly. I hope that a glimpse into our life plants a seed of faith for another day. I wish her love and happiness. And I miss her.