Monday, December 30, 2019

Quilt #136 :: Zipped

In 2014--a year after I started quilting, and a few months after our high school exchange student returned to the Netherlands--we welcomed our first university student. We loved having Marissa stay with us all year, but she totally ruined us. We couldn't imagine a better fit with our family. We did want to continue opening our home to anyone who needed a soft landing in the States, so we jumped at the opportunity to welcome college students. 

After Marissa left, I turned her room into my craft room. Our short term guests stayed in our guest suite downstairs. It was bigger and had an en suite, so it was a really nice place for jet legged guests.  Three months after we said goodbye Marissa, we said hello to Eugen from Moldova. 

We had so much fun with Eugen! We made Russian food, played Settlers of Catan, and got thrown into modern college life. He only studied at the University of Akron for one semester, but by the end of his time in the US, he was bringing friends over who continued to visit us after Eugen returned to Moldova. 

While Eugen was here, I started to make a University of Akron quilt. But as a brand new quilter, I was slow and never finished it before he left. It was in a project box for the last five years, during which we hosted another 20 students. Finally, when we moved to the Lake House, I made a list of my UFOs (unfinished objects). The top was finished so I just needed to quilt and bind it. 

This fall, we hosted our first college student at the Lake House, Richard from...the Netherlands. I actually got the request to host him when we were in the Netherlands visiting Niels' family this summer. We've had a lot of fun with Richard, too. He was a great sport about our house being renovated. He played countless games of chess with D, who now loves the game so much he's on the school chess team. He and Mom always have a Scrabble game going on, and it bugs mom to know end that someone who isn't an English native speaker wins so often! Niels has enjoyed having someone to talk Dutch news with and I have really enjoyed our conversations about religion, psychology, and sociology. 

When we host college students, our main job is to make them feel welcome to their new home in America, take them around to buy anything they need to school, and help them settle in. Personally, we want to treat our bonus sons and daughters the way we'd hope someone would care for D if he was studying abroad.

Most of our students stay for a year. A few are here for several years. Richard also only stayed for one semester. We always tell our kids that they are welcome "home" whenever they want a home cooked meal or our company.

When Richard asked if he could stay with us again before he headed home, we were happy to welcome him back. He was able to enjoy Christmas prep with us, like making cookies. 

There were many students I could have given the Akron Zips quilt to over the year, but Richard was coming when I finally got the spark to finish it!

It's been so long that I don't remember the name of the pattern. I suspect it was based on a Christmas quilt. When I reverse Google search the image in my file, I get broken links to Keepsake Quilting and a deleted blog called Quilts and a Mug. (Rest assured, I am better about copyrights and giving credit now!)

The week before Richard arrived, I had a crazy goal of delivering four quilts, including his. I was so close, but was downed by a massive headache the night he came over. The next morning, I got up, finished the quilt, and had Richard step outside, so we could do a dramatic re-enactment of how I had planned to surprise him with his quilt!

As expected, he was a great sport. 

And now that Richard is safely back home in the Netherlands, we await the arrival of our next son or daughter. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, check out #zippedquilt on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse. 

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  1. You and your family are so very kind. I can't imagine having a revolving door with students coming and going. Lucky, Richard, being the recipient of such a wonderful memory of his time in America!

  2. What a wonderful way to allow foreign students to experience the United States and become a part of your extended family!! I would love to do something like that, but the closest university is about a hour and a half away and the drive would be horrid in the winter with the snow.


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