Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Three Years Later

Today marks three years since Alex stepped foot on American soil making her an official US citizen.  How can three years seem so recent, yet so long ago at the same time?  It is amazing the amount of progress she has made in such a short period of time. also feels like she's been here forever.  Weird.

I couldn't possibly begin to list everything she has overcome/accomplished since March 5, 2011, but here are a few highlights:

  • Speaks English amazing well.  She still sometimes mixes words up here and there, or doesn't know the definition of a word that seems so common, but overall I am stunned at how quickly she picked it up.
  • "Tested out" of ESOL in school after two years.  This is both good and bad.  Good that she did well, bad that she isn't afforded the protection of being an ESOL student.  It means she is just a regular student who doesn't qualify for special help if needed, for example, extra time on tests.
  • Recommended for Honors classes in French and Chemistry.  This is important for the HOPE scholarship, as students must have a certain amount of Honors/AP classes to qualify for HOPE.
  • Maintains an "A" average in school.
  • Learning how to study, do homework, and write original thoughts in an American school.  This is something that was new to her coming here, and it was painfully difficult for her to adjust.
  • Earned her driver's license.  
  • Continues to grow in skill level on her competition dance team.
  • Maintains her language fluency in Russian and Spanish.  She doesn't use Ukrainian as often, so I believe she is a little rusty with it, but I'm sure it wouldn't take much to jog her memory if she had to hold a conversation in Ukrainian.
  • Small group leader for a four year old class AND a 4th grade girls group at church.  
Alex is a wonderful daughter and sister.  She is definitely a typical teenager.  Sometimes we argue.  Sometimes she rolls her eyes at me.  Sometimes I roll my eyes at her.  There has definitely been pouting over the last three years, and tears, and even a little yelling.  Sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back.  But it all feels so right.  If you would have asked me on March 5, 2010 if I would have a teenage daughter four years from then, I would have absolutely laughed in your face.  How can it be that four years ago today I had never heard of Olga Baturina, but today she is my wonderfully kind, incredibly smart, outrageously beautiful, adorably sassy, and flat out funny daughter, Alexandria Olga?  I've said it before, but it is worth repeating: God's plan is always way better than what I could plan for myself.  

So here's a thought:  When someone asks you where you see yourself in five years...don't dream small. Dream big.  

Really, really BIG.  

Amazing things can happen.  


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