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Hello HomeLink Members,
Welcome to our Fall 2010 edition of HomeLink Connection.
Karl and I would like to thank all of our members who provided their feedback on our premier newsletter over the summer. We have implemented many of your suggestions, including a more readable format.
Many of our members have also sent in stories of their unique HomeLink experiences. Please refer to our "Member Stories" section. If your story isn’t mentioned in this edition, we assure you it will be included it in a subsequent one.
Please take note of our "Just a Reminder" and our new, "Helpful Hints" sections, as we have included some great ideas to help make your HomeLink experience even more enjoyable.
We have also added a section called, "Media Focus", which includes media stories mentioning HomeLink International as well as our members.
We hope you enjoy reading our Fall edition of HomeLink Connection and look forward to your feedback.
Please do not reply to this email directly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to send separate emails to all of our members regarding items that need more immediate attention than our newsletter is able to provide.
Karl & Katie Costabel
HomeLink USA News
Just a Reminder…
Update your photos!
Members may upload as many as 20 photos directly to their listing. Once you log in, click on "Edit my listing" then "Edit Photo Album." Next click on "Browse" to locate your photo on your computer. Once you have selected the photo to upload, click on "Upload the photo file".
Please note that you can only upload one photo at a time...not a whole file containing your photos to upload.
The accepted photo format is JPEG (.jpg)
If your photos are too large to be accepted on the site (also "Photo too tall" message) and you are unable to reduce them in size, or if you have any other uploading problem, email them to me and I will upload them for you.
Simply attach the image to an email containing your name & means to identify you and email it to the address above.
You may also mail in conventional color photo prints or a CD containing your digital photos and we will upload them for you. Maximum size is 8.5 by 11 inches.
Great photo idea!
Here is a wonderful example of the mutual generosity and respect shared among our members…
One of our members, while staying at their exchange partners’ home, took numerous photos of both the interior and exterior of the home.
When the exchange had concluded, they contacted their exchange partner, asking if they could add the photos they had taken to her listing online as there were only a few, existing photos at that time, which simply didn’t capture the true grandeur of their exchange partner’s home.
She graciously accepted the offer and her home is now wonderfully represented by these newly-uploaded photos.
The holiday season is right around the corner and your HomeLink membership provides a great opportunity to spend time with your family when you might not otherwise be able to afford to visit them.
These past few months have been quite busy for journalists requesting to speak with our members about their home swapping experiences.
Below are links to the most recent articles referencing HomeLink and our members.
We also want to take the time to thank a few of our members from the Houston area who recently participated in a discussion about home swapping on their local CBS affiliate morning show, "Great Day Houston". More details, including the link to view their TV discussion is found below.
Thanks to all of you who participated in this: Bob & Suzanne Craig, Maggie & Cormack O’Reilly and John Hocking.
1. This article was written by a friend of our HomeLink member, Sharon Madigan, after going on an exchange together.
Santa Clara Weekly article by Diane Andrews
2. This article was written by journalist, Laura Powell, after her appearance on The Martha Stewart Sirius radio show about home exchanging.
The Daily Suitcase written by Laura Powell
3. This is the TV segment on the CBS morning show, ‘Great Day Houston’ with five of our HomeLink members (if this link takes you to our homepage, click on the link, "Great Day Houston Interview" found at the left of the page)
Great Day Houston Interview
4. Link to French newspaper article featuring our members, Jim & Doris Wright (this article is written in French).
Le Duaphine Newspaper article written by Carole Raynaud
We often receive emails from members telling us about their wonderful home exchange experiences. We would very much like to hear about yours and include them in HLC.
Please send your stories to email@example.com and let us know if it would be OK to include your name.
Below are a couple of the stories recently shared by our members.
The Spirit of HomeLink reaches beyond our network of members….
Members of HomeLink USA (who wish to remain anonymous) suffered a house fire this past summer. They already had an exchange in place and were unable to offer their home as planned.
They wrote to us explaining they would be unable to renew their HomeLink membership for the time being because of the damage caused by the fire. After reading their renewal reply, we fully expected to read they had to cancel their exchange due to the fire.
However, to our delight, they informed us that cancellation was not necessary due to their very generous neighbors and family!
"…We love the whole idea of Homelink...the couple we should have exchanged with is coming and spending their two weeks at our neighbor's, since our house burned and we are currently homeless…
(fortunately)...my sister and sister/brother in law had both offered their condos, then my sister in law found out they were doing construction in the condo below so better not go there... but then our British neighbors across the street said…’oh please couldn't they stay in our house, we're going to Nova Scotia…’ So they ARE, with a garden and huge back yard and screened porch and central air…and they can look across the street to our dumpster…in the front yard...
…And we really do feel we have friends after emailing our exchange partners for so many months. When you start talking about values and beliefs it's lovely. My husband is a busy pastor at the local church and so when his vacation starts August 9th he really wants us to decamp to Maine...But we will be returning to Vermont to hang out with our exchange partners before they move on to Vancouver…
Below is the follow-up from our members after the exchange:
"Our exchange partners have been and gone to our sorrow. They had come up from JFK to (stay with) our neighbors while we were in Maine. Our neighbors gave them a huge welcome and dinner, and then departed for Nova Scotia. Our exchange partners loved their house.
We came home from Maine a day early; we met (our exchange partners) when I was bearing a basket of blackberries I had picked for them in Maine, and she hallooed from the garden across the way! We (gathered) the next morning for coffee…and we talked for hours...then a picnic…and (later) dinner on OUR deck, unused for months…so much cleaning first….We talked till midnight. Monday a hilarious French restaurant dinner hosted by our returning neighbors, and this morning crepes on the back porch again courtesy of our neighbors. Photos and goodbye goodbye sigh.
We will surely be keeping each other on the active email list! We would so like to see them again and they certainly invited us to STAY with them unless we preferred the house to ourselves.
All the best…."
A member from HomeLink-Italy writes to us:
"…When my Seattle exchange partners cancelled their exchange, I remembered they had a house in Whistler, too, so since we were going there, I asked them if they thought we could stay at their Whistler place one or two nights. They wrote back that they would take care of that, and since their apartment was taken, they found another place and would not even let us know they were paying for it, which I only found out later.
I really hope I can welcome them in Italy some day".
Tips from Annalisa, our HomeLink-Italy colleague:
- While driving, pay attention to traffic signs indicating one way streets &/or historical center
- Also, cars in Italy do not always have an automatic transmission, so perhaps you might inquire about this prior to arranging a car exchange.
- Not many Italians have air conditioners---and when they do, they are extremely expensive to operate, so, please follow any operation instructions left for you as their utility bills can arrive months later.
Last Minute Cancellation Advice:
First and foremost, we are always here to help whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation with your exchange partner, so never hesitate to contact us, whatever the reason.
On the rare occasion a last minute cancellation happens, please contact us immediately either by phone or email. We also recommend that you advise your exchange partner to contact their local HomeLink Organizer, as well, regardless of who had to cancel on whom.
When we are contacted, we rally together to find a suitable, alternate exchange for the party still traveling. This process has proven to be 100% effective for us, so we can’t emphasize enough, how helpful we can be as your HomeLink Organizer
HomeLink International News
Upcoming Events Worldwide…
It is always recommended that you consider seeking an exchange for particular international events well in advance. We, as HomeLink Organizers, continually communicate with each other about exciting events and attractions our countries have to offer.
Summer Olympics 2012
Our HomeLink UK Organizer is setting up a registry of their HomeLink members’ homes near Olympic 2012 venues. Once they have a significant number of members on this list, they will let us know and we will pass this valuable information on to you.
This edition continues to reference the multitude of attractions found throughout Germany. To learn more, please go to…. http://www.germany.travel
Rugby worldcup 2011
For the latest information, please go to… New Zealand World Cup Rugby 2011
We are continually working toward improving your online HomeLink experience. Many of you have written us with very helpful and useful ideas regarding improvements, which we gladly take into consideration during our continued effort.
I will be sending out a survey in the next month, asking you to rank various aspects of our organization, including our online functions and features. Your comments will also be encouraged at the end of the survey.
In the meantime, we plan to bring you a more modern look and functionality to our homepage, which we hope proves to be another successful step toward improving your total HomeLink experience.
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