History repeats for German student
History is known to repeat itself and sometimes it’s for a good reason.
Such is the story of an exchange student who was in Southeast Texas in 1986 and 27 years later, her son has returned to live with the same family she did so long ago.
In 1986, Steve and Dale Carlton, of Little Cypress, decided to be a host family for the student exchange program. At the time, they had Eryn, 8, and four-year-old and Brint. After interviews and a home inspection, they were set to receive their first student to live with them for a year. The supervisor of the program gave them several pictures and applications of students so that they could choose one to fit best with their family. Eryn saw the picture of a 16-year- old German student named Antje Ohligschlaeger, who was from Cologne, Germany and immediately decided she was the one. It wasn’t long before Eryn would be anxiously awaiting the arrival of her new “big sister.”
During the summer of 1986, Anjte flew to Texas to join the Carlton family. She was enrolled in Little Cypress-Mauriceville ISD for her senior year.
At the end of the year, with a large teddy bear she tearfully boarded the plane and left her American family behind. She left with her memories of the place she “truly loved” and a newly acquired word — “y’all.” Anjte vowed to keep in touch with her “family” and friends here in the U.S.
Anjte returned to Germany, and eventually became a flight attendant for Lufthansa Airlines which enabled her to continue to return to Texas for visits.
The Carltons enjoyed their experience so much they had two other German exchange students, Christian Stollenwerk and Nadine Eschrich, who came stay with them over the years. They have made many trips to Germany to visit them too. It has been a great experience for the Carlton family to see how other people live and what other countries are like compared to here.
“Being a host family for all of the students has been a wonderful experience, and we consider all of them a very big part of our family,” Dale Carlton said. “Going over to visit with all of them has been so much fun because they plan everything for us and know all the best places to go.”
Time passed and Anjte had a family of her own and they all would often say one day her children would follow in her footsteps and come to Orange, Texas. They too would become “Texans.”
Over the past few months, they made plans for Anjte’s 14-year-old son, Enzo, to come stay with the Carlton family.
Enzo began learning English in the fourth grade and his school principal agreed to let him come to Texas to further his education on the English language. His parents also wanted him to have a grasp of the English language.
Arrangements were made with the Little Cypress-Mauriceville School District to allow him to visit the LCM Junior High during his stay. But, Enzo will stay with the Cartlons for about two weeks instead of a year. However, he may decide to come back and stay longer.
Once again, history has a way of repeating itself. When Antje was in high school, she became friends with Angie Hebert. Angie later married Kevin Williams and they have a son, Kayne who attends LCM Junior High. Kayne has been assisting Enzo during his time at junior high. Enzo goes with him to classes.
“I think it is pretty amazing that 27 years ago, Antje and Angie were high school friends and now their two boys are having the same experience,” Dale Carlton said.
Enzo quietly observes the students. Some things such as giggling, friendly, girls, and the noisy hallways can be a bit overwhelming. Enzo can understand what is said for the most part, as long as it is said slowly. He also has an app on his phone for translations if necessary.
School is different for him. In Germany he starts school at 7:40 and he is released at different times during the week such as 1 p.m. up to 4 p.m. The classes he attends vary on a daily basis. The lunch break is an hour long. Students in Germany can go to the school cafeteria, go home or like teens here, go to McDonalds. But, the local McDonalds is not like here. They serve beer to those over 16 years old. Also, the drinks come up one ice cube and are most likely served warm. But, a favorite is Dr. Pepper although it is difficult to get in Germany.
One other notable difference between German restaurants and Southeast Texas is the number of choices and portion size. The U.S. portions are larger. In addition, buffets are unheard of in Germany.
Fortunately, Enzo did not have to endure the blistering Southeast Texas heat. When he left home, it was snowing. The warmer Texas temperatures currently are close to what a German summer would be like.
Enzo said his German friends are jealous of the warmer temperatures he is getting to enjoy. But, a benefit of the snow would be able to participate in a fun pastime of snowboarding in Austria which he did right before his travels.
During his stay, he has seen many sights such as the South Texas State Fair. But, what may seem ordinary such as four-wheeler riding is one thing he would love to do. Enzo and his siblings ride dirt bikes on the trails near their house.
Houses in Germany resemble those here, but refrigerators and motor homes are “huge.” There are other differences such as grocery shopping at one store for all the items needed instead of going to various markets for bread, meat and vegetables.
Enzo will have many pictures and memories of his visit when he soon returns to Germany.
“Enzo has really enjoyed his stay in Orange and his school experience at LCM Junior High. The faculty and staff of the school has been very supportive,” Dale Carlton said. “I think this is an experience that he will remember forever.”
Kayne Williams, 14, of Little Cypress, and the son of German student named Antje Ohligschlaeger, 14-year-old Enzo is following in her footsteps by attending school and staying with Steve and Dale Carlton during his visit to the U.S.