Posted by Jim Garrett
Lisa Scott introduced some very-special guests, the pairs of students participating locally in Rotary’s short-term, summer exchange program.
Codie’s granddaughter Sarah Ross is paired for the program with Louise Mequignon-Lariviere, from St. Martin les Tatinghem, France (north of Paris).  Jack Foster, a junior at the High School, is paired with Mario Rizzo, from Catania, Italy (on the east coast of Sicily).
Sarah started the exchange program with a month visiting Louise’s family beginning June 11.  Both girls then returned to Pagosa for Louise’s month visiting the Ross family.
Mario began by visiting the Foster family, starting here in late June.  The two boys will fly back to Italy this week, for Jack’s visit with Mario’s family.
Louise told us she participated in gymnastics.  During her short stay here up to the time of the meeting, she noted having enjoyed Mexican food.  In France, she cited crepes as a common food.
Sarah said her visit to France was very busy, and she enjoyed staying with Louise’s family, all of whom spoke English, except for the youngest of her two sisters.  She loved the crepes, the bread, the pastry, and (perhaps a little) the wine with meals.  She noted also the difference in eating habits, with essentially five small meals daily.  In addition, she commented that the ability of teenagers in the US to drive earlier than in France, gave them more independence.
Jack described Mario’s visit as “a blast.”  They had done a lot of hiking and water sports, and had a lot of fun, he said.  But perhaps the best part was enjoying the opportunity to see Pagosa through the eyes of someone new.
Mario explained that in Italy he lives close to the sea, but also to mountains (Mt. Etna, an active but currently quiet volcano rises on the outskirts of Catania.). He reported he loves to ski in the winter, on slopes with a view of the Mediterranean.  Lasagna is a favorite Sicilian dish, but, he added, pizza too.  Asked about differences he had observed, with a grin he said the drivers in Italy, “are a bit crazy.”
At the conclusion of their comments, Lisa gave our two charming young visitors Pagosa Rotary banners to take home with them, to the accompaniment of loud applause from the meeting.  Then Lisa, herself, received a round of applause, in heartfelt recognition from Rotarians for her outstanding efforts to make the local student exchange program a resounding success.