Host family has lots planned to keep Mexican student busy over Christmas

Diane Crocker
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Thirteen-year-old Juan Ramirez, left, is embracing all that winter has to offer while living with Ian Glashan and Trina Burden this year.

CORNER BROOK — Christmas will be a little different for Juan Ramirez this year.

For one, the 13-year-old boy from Mexico City won’t be with his family, and two, he’ll be surrounded by snow.

Ramirez is a foreign student who is staying with Trina Burden and Ian Glashan and their two children, Lila and Jeremy, for the school year.

He’s enrolled at Immaculate Heart of Mary School and said he came to Newfoundland “to study, to perfect my English.”

So far the school year is going well for him and he’s finding the time passing by really fast. He also said the people here are really nice, like those back home in Mexico.

In addition to adjusting to a new family and school, Ramirez has had to get used to a totally different climate.

“I’m adjusting good, but sometimes here is very cold,” he said.

He recalls his first experience with snow as being “a really cold day. But it was a nice day.”

Still he’s embracing all that living in Newfoundland in the winter has to offer.

“I like to go sliding,” he said noting his favourite spot so far is in Margaret Bowater Park.

An athletic teen who played soccer and was involved in track and field at home, Ramirez has joined the local speedskating club, is in parkour and plays soccer and floor hockey.

He even took part in the recent Corner Brook Santa Claus Parade with the speedskating club.

As it gets closer to Christmas Day, Ramirez admits he is missing his family at home, including his sister and four brothers.

If he was home, Ramirez said New Year’s Eve dinner would be a big event with turkey and carolling.

But he gets to talk with his family via Skype a least every second day and is sure there’ll be some extra conversations over Christmas.

To help make Christmas special for him, Burden said they’ve gotten him a stocking which hangs from the stair railing with the rest of the family’s.

“We bought a skate one to celebrate his speedskating adventures,” she said.

And she has lots planned to fill the holidays.

“I spent one Christmas away from home when we were living in Toronto, and I know how lonely it can be,” she said. “So the biggest plan is to keep him busy.”

On Christmas Eve he’ll join the Burden family for a big fish and brewis meal.

On Christmas morning it’ll be opening gifts with his host family before heading to Burden’s parents for a gift exchange and breakfast.

Then he’ll tag along with Burden as she heads over to co-ordinate the free Christmas dinner at the Pentecostal Westside Tabernacle.

“Juan is going to be my partner in crime, helping out wherever I need him,” Burden said.

Once that’s over it will be back to Burden’s parents for Christmas supper.

And there’ll be no time for rest on Boxing Day either as Burden said the plan is to hit Marble Mountain and teach him how to ski.

Then early in the new year the whole family will be heading to St. John’s for a little trip.



Organizations: Mary School, Pentecostal Westside Tabernacle

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Mexico City, Mexico.In Toronto Marble Mountain

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