Sara Jordan has returned to Stephenville to spend her Christmas with Brian and Gertie O’Quinn.
“I love my host parents, said the German teen.
From the city of Duerstadt, Jordan is currently in Grade 12 and taking a break from school to be with the O’Quinns. She was a Grade 9 exchange student when she first came to Stephenville in January 2015.
She turned 15 the day after she first arrived and spent five months up to the end of June that year. The adventurous youth enjoyed her stay, taking part in all kinds of activities during winter carnival events, skiing Marble Mountain, snowmobiling, curling, ice hockey, skinning a rabbit, and even swimming in St. George’s Bay in April.
Jordan is only missing one week of school and got permission to come to Stephenville because her school principal promotes intercultural exchange. Not only did she want to visit the O’Quinns, but friends at school she had made during her exchange.
“People in Newfoundland in general are more open and warm-hearted than in other places I’ve been,” she said.
After hearing how her host parents celebrate Christmas, Jordan wanted to experience the holiday season at their home.
It’s a little different in Germany as on Christmas Eve they eat in one room and the tree and gifts are in another room with the door closed.
After the meal, a bell rings and kids go into the room where the gifts are, which were brought by Christmas Man (Santa), are under the tree and are opened at that time. On Old Christmas Day (Dec. 6) kids put out boots at the front door and St. Nicholas puts chocolates and other treats in them.
Jordan is happy Jennifer, the O’Quinns daughter, is home for the holiday season and she’s hoping to possibly get to St. John’s with her host parents to see their other daughter Stephanie before she returns home.
Since she's arrived, she has helped harvest a Christmas tree and experienced caroling, a Christmas concert and has seen mummers.
After she completes her Grade 12, Jordan, who turns 18 in January, is taking a year to volunteer in India.