Subject: Re: Life Changing Trips
On my last trip to England with my mother which I believe was in September of 1995, we were sitting in deck chairs on the beach in Weymouth with my aunt and uncle when a handsome, strapping young deck chair attendant came along and struck up a conversation. He mentioned that he was done school and wanted to become a policeman and had always wanted to come to Canada. He reminded me so much of my own boys (I have four and about same age) that I wrote my phone number on a matchbook cover and told him if he ever decided to come to Canada, he was welcome to stay with us. In early November of that same year, my phone rang and it was Alan announcing that he was coming to Canada and did the offer still stand. I told him he was welcome. He flew into Detroit and we picked him up and brought him home in mid-December. He stayed until the end of the first week of January. Alan got along famously with my boys and spent Christmas with us. Then we put him on a train to Vancouver the day after Christmas and he spent a few days there with one of my sons and then flew back to Toronto and took his return flight home. We stayed in touch by phone and mail and became his Canadian parents. Alan did become a police officer in Poole and is soon to write his sergeant's exam. He met his future wife, Jackie, and we were invited to their wedding in June of 1997. Of course, we attended and were the guests of honour and even invited to the family rehearsal party. The following year, Alan and Jackie came to visit us again and spent a week with us at a cottage in Rondeau Park and another week at our home. Alan and Jackie had a baby girl, Aleyshia Grace in December of 1999 and we are her surrogate grandparents. I went on my own for a visit in February of 2001 and plan to go again soon. We have become friends with Alan's parents and his sister Ann and her husband and stay in touch via e-mail so get pictures of the little darling. This was certainly a life changing trip and I am so happy I took the opportunity to invite this young stranger into our home - I've had some people ask me if I'm crazy but one gets a gut feeling about these things.

Pat