This morning, my friend Alex Santa Maria who happens to be our Morning DJ and Music Director on MEGA stopped by my office to say hi. He was so excited to tell me about his daughter Sheila and her new adventure. Sheila is 17 and a high school student in Phoenix. She just left home to study, immerse herself in the language, customs and culture of Japan for six months as a foreign exchange student. The more Alex told me, the more excited I got hearing about it! I was wondering how at 48, I could take a sabbatical and be a foreign exchange student.
Alex also shared with me that he is going through a little separation anxiety as well. Although, before she left, taking advantage of technology, Sheila set Alex and Veronica up on Skype so they can video conference each other. It's just as simple as logging on to the internet and a couple of mouse clicks later.... wal la...they are communicating a world apart! This should help ease Alex's anxiety once he figures out the time zone issues.
Alex is definitely the proud father! He was glowing as he was telling me about Sheila. I love seeing Alex like this and hearing the stories!
As Alex and I were speaking, I was reminded of a story that Fran shared with me when she was studying for her International MBA at the Thuderbird School of Global Management. She had a professor who said that since we live in a Global Society, "the greatest gift you can give your children, is to expose them to a different country every year". Fran and I subscribe to that philosophy and have taken it to heart and have tried to do this with the girls. Although, being a foreign exchange student is the ultimate gift. I hope that our girls will have the opportunity to study abroad some day too.
Back to Sheila...... Sheila is an exceptional artist and a talented writer as well. Through the years, Alex has shown me Sheila's artwork and it is incredible. I have always been amazed by here drawings and sketches. To give you an idea of how talented Sheila is, the picture below is a sketch she did on the flight to Japan. It is a drawing of all of her new friends that she met on the way over.
Someday, I hope to have a Sheila Santa Maria original on our wall!
Sheila's has started a Blog where she is keeping a diary of her experience. Click Here:
I'll be anxious to check in on it over the next six months to hear about her adventure and see more of her artwork.
Here are a few more links to Sheila's art work.