Hosting a Rotary International exchange student is a unique and rewarding experience.  Differences in language, culture and personalities creates a welcome challenge for both the student and the host family.  Day by day, as this challenge is addressed, a bond develops that inevitably leads to a lifelong relationship.
The year 2020 has added a new twist to the exchange:  COVID 19.  Some students were sent home as a result of decisions made by District, some students returned home at the request of their parents while other students returned home concerned with uncertainty of COVID. Our Japanese student, Minori Kubode stayed in Canada for the entire exchange.  
We were the third host family for Minori.  Her entire stay with our family was during the restrictions of the COVID pandemic. This greatly altered our initial plans for her stay with us. School attendance was replaced by at-home learning.  Plans for trips whether to PEI, the zoo or theatre were replaced by family activities such as walking, hiking, games and cooking experiences.  Minori developed into an amazing cyclist and used our pool with great regularity.  My youngest daughter forged a life-long friendship with her new Japanese sister.  Even Frankie the cat regularly curled up with her new friend.
I think back to my time with Minori and remember a talk we had one evening.  COVID-19 changed the plans we initially had but it also provided a new situation in which Minori was completely immersed in the day-to-day life of a Canadian family.   She said she could have always come to Canada as a tourist but she could never come to Canada and become a member of a family.