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Germany to Carthage; Enjoying the experience
CARTHAGE- He spent his first day in America overtired from a delayed flight and being introduced to a trapping shack; not realizing what exactly he was doing, took a sniff and “almost puked.” Marcel Secio, 16, is a very intelligent, very outgoing, try-anything-once kind of kid. On exchange from the mid-western German town of Meerbusch, Marcel noted, “I was only here a few days and I called my mom and asked her if I was spoiled.”
Sitting in the dining room of his host family, Marcel fits right in. He jokes and laughs with Jesse, the oldest and only son, whose dream of a brother has come true. Dad, Warren, sits across the table and shakes his head with a grin at the relationship the boys have formed. Ashley, the middle child, works on homework, the youngest, Carleen, hasn’t arrived home from cheer practice and mom, Ronnie, is at her monthly school board meeting. It’s another typical Monday night for the Hutchinson family, who has truly adopted Marcel as one of their own.
“Marcel fit right in,” noted Warren. “He and Jesse are as thick as thieves.”
“He is very accepting of new things,” noted Jesse, who has taught Marcel everything he knows about trapping and hunting.
Of all things different here in America, Marcel laughed, “I don’t like to get up early. That was the hardest thing to get used to.”
Being a part of the chore schedule, a member of the Dirigo Cougar wrestling team and being a brother to three country kids, who enjoy the outdoors, Marcel has really had to step out of his comfort zone.
“It is really neat being here. I have learned to wrestle, Jesse has taught me a lot about trapping, especially how to lop off chicken heads and skin the animals; that was a new experience. I have been ice fishing, I got to drive the snowmobile this winter, but I didn’t hunt much in the fall. It is just too early to get out of bed.”
Marcel laughs that he has also learned to cook and loves to make meals of ramen noodles and grilled cheese, along with eggs and toast. He sheepishly admits that he “did not do any of this at my home. I really was spoiled. But I already told my mom that I will do more when I get home. I think I even want to get a job. Kids learn the value of money here and I want to earn my own.”
You may be surprised to learn, as this reporter was, of Marcel’s least favorite chore. “It has got to be a toss between firewood and dishes. But, since the firewood is done in the fall, I will have to say it is the dishes, yes, definitely the dishes. There are many people in this house and there are just so many dishes to do.” Marcel laughed and noted, “We also have to do our own laundry, but once in a while the laundry fairy comes to take care of ‘Carl.’ Jesse and I have named our laundry pile Carl and sometimes we are surprised in the morning that the laundry fairy has made a visit and Carl has been cleaned up.” Jesse and Marcel both laugh hysterically, “I think she may have died though, it’s been a while since we’ve seen her.”
Marcel doesn’t lack of a sense of humor, as he noted, “I was never really organized before coming here. Ronnie is trying to help me be more independent. She’s trying to prepare me for life by learning to be punctual, polite and responsible. It might seem strict at times, but it’s all good. At least that is what Ronnie says.” Marcel joked, “The headline will read, ‘Exchange student found dead due to too much work.’”
Don’t let Marcel fool you, it’s not all work around the Hutchinson home. He noted, “There have been many great adventures around here. We play paintball and they even let me have my 16th birthday party here. It was so cool having all our friends here at the house.”
According to Ronnie, “Marcel fits right in. He makes us laugh and he keeps right up with the rest of the family. In fact, he was helping Jesse skin a couple of rabbits and the morning after I went out on the porch to put on my barn clothes. There was a rabbit skin in my hat. I held up the fur and asked Marcel what the rabbit was doing in my hat.” With a tilt of her head to demonstrate Marcel’s reaction, Ronnie continued, “Marcel smiled, ‘Ta-dah.’ I never laughed so hard in my life. He was just so, on-the-spot with his reaction. He keeps me in stitches.”
With only a few months left before Marcel goes home to Germany in June, the family has mixed emotions about his leaving. But, for Jesse, the departure of his adopted brother brings a new experience for him. “I’m happy I got to have a brother for this long, but I have been invited to visit Marcel and his family for a month this summer.”
Marcel noted, “It is going to be so cool showing Jesse how we live. We will travel and introduce him to my family.” Marcel laughed, “I hope he will survive not killing anything for a whole month.”