Wry Exchange


The Neighbor Lady
06-30-08, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Exchange Students | Tags: ,

  The Neighbor Lady (TNL) has moved away.  Hurray!  I live in a small town, with one small high school.  TNL  lived across the street, and worked for a different exchange student program.  Isn’t that bizarre?  Well, I think it’s odd to have two people spending so much time on high school foreign exchange programs in one city.  I don’t have to fake smile and be polite anymore.  I couldn’t stand her!  I didn’t respect her work!  And while I’m snarking, the secretaries the the high school always rolled their eyes when they saw her coming or had to deal with her.   I feel better now.  Bitching always makes me happy.

TNL worked for one of the ‘nonprofit’ exchange programs.  She received ‘points’ towards travel and prizes.  She was ‘reimbursed’ for her time and expenses.  (I’m reimbursed for expenses.)  Exchange was her job.  She was an area coordinator and parked kids all around the area.  She’s  a bully pushy, and was able to place many students.  More kids, more ‘points.’   She’d place the kids, and only have contact if a school called her.  She didn’t have too many repeat families volunteer to host for her.

She broke many rules of exchange.  Many years, she would host two students in her home at the same time.  (OK only with special State Department permission.)  That left the kids without a counselor in case of problems.  She’d have a friend of hers be their counselor; someone who lived about 3 hours away.   Her students were never permitted to spend time with my program’s kids.  She didn’t approve of my program, and would gossip about it often.  This is a small town, most kids are friends with each other.  She lived across the street, and our kids (15-19) weren’t permitted to be together.   She didn’t like other exchange students.

It was a sad neighborhood joke about her hosting students.  The only time anyone ever saw the kids was when they were doing yardwork outside.  The neighbors jokingly thought she hosted to get free workers.  The kids weren’t allowed to leave the house often, their next-door neighbors called the kids ‘prisoners’ and ‘slaves.’  I never turned her in because it would’ve come across as jealousy.   We’d let the kids know if they needed someplace to go they were always welcome here.

Hopefully, she’s given up ruining kids’ lives.  Her program’s students couldn’t believe what we did for our kids-the monthly meetings, trips, stipends, counselors, etc.  Poor things.

There is actually a website called Rotten Neighbor.  🙂

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