As we all seek some semblance of normalcy during this challenging time, we want to share some highlights of our gracious hosts for the 85 Fulbright Students for whom we arranged dinners on the evening of Friday, March 6. As we began gathering these stories, we heard the same comment over and over again: “These visitors were GREAT!”
From Richard and Martha Lanken, hosts since 1975, who hosted students from Egypt and Turkey:
This group was delightful! We talked about so many things; it’s difficult to choose just one story. We are keeping in touch with all three of our visitors. They tell us they are doing well, working from home now, of course, and, as far as we know, all of their projects are continuing on.
When we first began hosting international visitors for GlobalPittsburgh, and before our first visitors arrived for our very first dinner, we had bought one small book of all blank pages. Our plan was to ask our visitors to sign the book with their name and country so that we could see the different types of handwriting used in the various languages of our guests. Our most recent guests, the Fulbright Students, added their names and messages to…BOOK #5! Other hosts we know had their visitors sign a wall in their home that now stretches with signatures down a stairway into a family room. Another has a special tablecloth with signatures from all over the world!
Here are the messages from our Fulbright Students:
- “…amazing life story! I will be careful about choosing a potential wife!…”
- “…will send you a wedding invitation when the time comes…”
- “…really happy I tried the cheesecake…”
We appreciate our hosts greatly. From just a few words such as these from one book out of five, or from a wall, or a tablecloth, the storylines run immediately, sometimes within the short course of an evening spent together, to the personal, important aspects of life and lives commonly shared across cultures…across the world…proving we ARE all in this together.
Remember the cheesecake??
Mr. Ibrahim Mert Koc, one of the Lankens’ guests studying for his master’s in Robotics at Ohio State University… WAS so happy he tried the cheesecake! He called Martha for the recipe, made it for his friends and sent her the proof of his efforts: