The Light - An Alumni Publication Winter 2014/2015 - Page 22

FACES OF YFU DENISE GIBSON YFU Program: Netherlands, 1978 Education: Parkway Central Senior High, Chesterfield, MO University of Missouri, Bachelor of General Studies in Education and International Relations, Minor in French Other: AMS Montessori Teacher Certification Occupation: Political Consultant and Substitute Teacher Home: Northfield, IL Aging Parents An only daughter often holds a special place in a family of boys. YFU alum Denise Gibson has enjoyed that cachet in her Dutch family since 1978, when she spent a summer-long exchange with the Meeres in Cuyk, Netherlands. Their bond has endured for 36 years, spanning the 5,000 miles of land and ocean between Chicago, where Denise lives, and the land of canals and tulips.  “Basically, we are like any family separated by distance,” said Gibson. “We skype, we email, and we try to see each other in person at least every two years.” When Gibson visits the Netherlands, she 22 | The Light • YFU divides her time between the home of her parents, Johan and Annie, in the eastern part of the country and the west, where two of her brothers, Henk-Jan and Frank, live.  When Gibson’s third child was born, Annie came to the United States to help mom and baby. For their 25th wedding anniversary, Johan and Annie sent airplane tickets to all of their children — including Gibson — to ensure the family could come together to  celebrate. Gibson said her children have grown up eating Dutch food such as hutspot, nassi goreng, and poffertjes and observing Dutch