Thank you, North Country

My dearest North Country,

The time has come to say goodbye to you. I am not ready either, but I have to leave. Don’t be sad, it is just time for new adventures for both of us. But I can’t leave without thanking you for the wonderful memories we created. I will never forget.

Thank you for your beautiful nature and your breathtaking views. I am glad that I got to see so much of your beauty. I felt like an ice princess in your winter wonderland, even though you almost froze my ass off. I know this was your mild winter, but it was perfect to me.

Ogdensburg’s Winter Wonderland

Thank you for all my road adventures. Every day I got to carpool with amazing people. They not only gave me a ride but also shared stories with me. They accepted my morning moods and I enjoyed riding on your roads with them. So thank you Myra Pitcher, Heidi Pero, and Mary Cosmo.

Thank you for your wonderful food. I did miss my Belgian food all the time, but the food I have had here in North Country was tasty. The pizzas I had were made in heaven. Also thank you for the wonderful service, wherever I ordered food. I also want to thank you for not letting me become a fat chick. I want to give a special shout-out to the best Zumba teacher I ever made. Thank you June Peoples for inviting me to join your class and your help in staying healthy.

Thank you for introducing me to my wonderful family. I now have an American mom and dad who I will forever love. They gave me the warmest home where I felt welcome and accepted every single day. We had our laughs and when I was in need, they offered me a shoulder to cry on. They never complained about my food issues or when I got sick. No, they always tried to make me feel better. I am now a part of their big family and I am proud to be a Lawrence for the rest of my life. These wonderful human beings introduced me to so many people and took me to so many amazing places. So I want to thank Thomas and Kathy Lawrence for being my mom and my dad and I want them to know that I truly love them.

Kathy, Thomas, and I in Rochester, NY

Also I have been able to enjoy Boys & Girls club thanks to you. Every Friday I played games with a bunch of kids. They were always happy to see me and I enjoyed being around them. I will miss them. Thank you Thomas Luckie for giving me a chance to volunteer at your club.

Thank you for introducing me to the St.Lawrence University. I enjoyed walking around campus on sunny days and meeting wonderful people on campus. I interviewed students, I had lunch breaks at the dining hall and I pretended that I belonged there. Thank you Ryan for your help finding the right contacts, thank you Laura, Jodi, Marsha, and Sara for reaching out to the students I needed. A special thanks to Sylvie, Adilson, Amanda, Nyima, and Morgan for participating in the interviews. And a final thank you to Mary Cosmo for introducing me to St.Lawrence’s food options.

Thank you for giving me the experience of a real-life book club. I enjoyed reading books in English and improving my English. I want to thank Kathy, Myra, Chris, Clare, Brenda, Kathi, Mel, Lauren, Cheryl, and Janet for welcoming me in their club. All of those people were golden. And I want to thank them for all the snacks and tasty food they made.

Food & snacks at book club January

Thank you for giving me the experience of being a radio star at NCPR. I met the most wonderful people to work with every day and I enjoyed being a part of their team. They also introduced me to the traditions of the Super Bowl. Thank you Jon, David, Lauren, Meredith, and Brit for having me that night. Thank you Martha, Todd, Shelly, Barb, Jackie, Bob, Monique, Joel, June, Ellen, Bill, and Sandy for being part of my experience, and a very big thank you to mister Dale Hobson for mentoring me and for all our random conversations. I also want to thank all of my NCPR friends for the support they gave me when my country was in pain.

Wow, my dearest North Country, you just gave me so much. You even gave me a bunch of wonderful friends and an extra addition to my wonderful extended family. Thank you Allonah for being the most wonderful friend I could wish for, for our many moments spent together. I will miss you a lot and I can not wait to see you again. Thank you Lauren McAwesome for being the coolest, craziest, and most random friend. As I said before I will miss our random conversations and our taco-pizza-chocolate nights. Thank your for making your house one of my favorites places to be. Thank you Katie for being a wonderful human being and for all the fun we had. Thank you Anna for being as sweet as you are and showing us that age does not matter in friendship. Thank you Bobby for helping me out wherever you could.

I might not have thousands of friends here, but I have without a doubt the best.

Anna, Allonah, and I in Ottawa, Canada

There is so much to say my dear North Country, but most of all I just want to thank you for the best experience. I will miss you and I hope you’ll remember this crazy Belgian, too.

This is not a farewell, but a see-you-later.

With love,
Melissa Callaert

2 Comments on “Thank you, North Country”

  1. Tom Lawrence says:

    Melissa, I appreciate your warm note of thanks. May you ever remember that all those who enter our home can become one of our family. I hope you can pay this forward as you journey in your life. You have been a blessing to us and we are thankful for all you brought and shared. Love, Dad

  2. Ellen Rocco says:

    You were a great addition to the life of the station, Melissa. I know you will do wonderful things in journalism and media, back home in Belgium and in other yet-to-be-discovered places. Thanks for adding so much to our work and our staff. Great good luck to you.

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