Monday, August 17, 2015

Writing From Life Experiences

Picture taken with a long selfie stick

We've had a great few days getting to know two new exchange students from the Czech Republic. Phuong and Veronika will be spending one semester at Kansas State University. Ken and I act as Host Family to new Czech students each semester. When they arrive, bleary-eyed from the long trip, we take them to our home for four to five days, orient them to the community, help them with buying essentials and then assist in moving them into their campus apartment. It's a bonding time, too.

This is our 16th year to act as a Host Family. We got involved because the man who started the exchange program with K-State and two universities in Prague was a close friend of ours. Little did I think that we'd be still doing this so many years later. It's been a joy to meet these bright and talented young people from another country. Many have kept in touch with us over the years. What a terrific experience we've had.

I think that it is also great experience for the students. Veronika is an outgoing young woman with a good sense of humor. Phuong's parents came to the Czech Republic as students and never left, so even though she is Vietnamese, Phuong has lived in the Czech world all her life. That, too, is an interesting experience. We're going to have a fine time this semester with these two young women as they study Economics at K-State.

All the experiences we have in life make us the people we are today. They also give writers a wonderful barrel of happenings to draw from when they create stories. I've written several stories about the man who began the exchange program here, about the young men and women we've hosted and more.

Our former students could all write stories about the days, weeks and months they have spent as an exchange student in a foreign country. When we helped Veronika and Phuong move into their apartment yesterday, we met some of their roommates. Two were Americans, one was from Thailand, and of the 3 who had not yet arrived, two were International students and one more American. Think of the experiences these 8 women will have as they learn about one another and, hopefully, establish friendships.

Look back over your lifetime experiences. How much do you draw from them for the stories, essays and poetry you write? I think many times we do so subconsciously. If you're an older writer, rejoice! Why? Because you have far more experiences in life to pull from.

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