Mary Besore Durward




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About Me



About Me



Who am I? Maybe a more important question here, at least for me, is why do I have a web site and what do I want you to do here? For now, I have reached the following conclusions:

1. One of my favorite places at University of Illinois was the Red Herring Coffeehouse in the Channing Murray Foundation. For years, this place has offered alternative music, poetry nights, interesting people, and atmosphere. I'd like my web site to be a place where people can feel free to stop in, look around, find something that might interest them, and return often.

2. I'd like this to be a resource center for people with similar interests to mine. Let me know if there are links I should add.

3. This is a place for me to experiment with design and technology. I've decided that it's OK to be eclectic here. However, there's no sense of urgency that would facilitate a finished product, either.

4. Finally, if you see anything in these pages that would motivate you to offer me a flexible high-paying job with plenty of free time and occasional trips to Brasil, please contact me at once!

I am currently single, but I might consider a new relationship with someone who speaks Portuguese (or who's willing to learn a little!) and likes curling and community involvement. I have three sons: Matt (30), Mike (28), and Andy (25). Matt and Mike live in Duluth and are working in construction. Andy is in the US Army, and he is currently stationed in North Carolina, where he lives with his wife Stacy and daughter Tori.

My 25 year old Brasilian son, Dante, is studying Industrial Design and teaching English in Sao Paulo. His family (parents Angela and Edmo and brothers Renzo and Breno) is my Brasilian family, and I lived with them in Goiania for six months in 2005.  I'm waiting patiently for them to come to live with me whenever they have the opportunity. Dante's cousin Lenora was my first daughter. She is working as a Physical Therapist at Crer in Goiania with people who have brain injuries. My second daughter Livia, has returned to her family in Belo Horizonte, Brasil. She's studying Tourism and learning about interesting places to travel with me throughout Brasil.

My Venezuelan son Ricky was an AFS student who has returned home to study Engineering in Caracas. I'm hoping that he will live with me again soon and continue his studies in the US. Seollee is the oldest daughter of my friends Seong and Hwa-young from Korea. She was a Rotary exchange student with me in Duluth, and then moved to Merida, Mexico for 8 months to study Spanish with a friend she met in Duluth. Now she's studying International Relations at the Ewha Women's University in Seoul. I hosted her sister Hyesin through Rotary in 2005 - 2006. Hyesin is now studying Eastern medicine in China. 

A few years ago, I hosted an AFS student from Europe for the first time - Federico from Italy. My friend Luciana from Teresopolis, RJ, Brasil stayed with us until December of the same year doing volunteer work in Duluth and working to improve her English fluency. Natalia from Medellin, Colombia stayed with us until June, and Yukie from Japan stayed with me as a Rotary exchange student until July.


I had such great experiences with all these students that I decided to keep hosting after I returned from Brasil.  Daniel was an AFS student from Denmark.  I'm hoping he will be back next summer to be a Danish counselor at the Concordia Language Camp.  I hosted Kaio from Brasil and Kevin from Belgium last year.  We had a great year together!  They hadn't been gone for 24 hours when I decided that I would host again this year.  Matheus from Brasil will be with me for 2007 - 2008.  Through hosting exchange students, I have gained new sons and daughters, and developed close relationships with their families. I have family all over the world!


Through the internet and international exchange, I have gained friends who have become like family.  I met Leo on a travel forum, and he has become one of my best friends.  We have visited one another in our respective countries and have gotten to know each other's family and friends.  I was in the audience at his Master's Presentation on Modelo Não-Linear por Fluxo em Redes Aplicado ao Planejamento da Operação Energética de Sistemas Hidrotérmicos de Potência, and will be honored to tell people that I knew him before he became famous.  

I am the oldest of nine children of Frank and Noreen Besore. My mother still lives in Glen Ellyn. My siblings and their families are scattered throughout the US. I have had so many exchange students that I have now stopped counting, and have had wonderful experiences with all of them. I plan to visit all of them and get to know their families and their cultures. It's been fun to see my sons, mom, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews get to know each of the exchange students and for most of the exchange students to know each other.  Being a host family for exchange students opens amazing worlds of opportunity for all of us!

I retired in 2004 after 30 years of Public Service in Minnesota. I took a year off to travel and to be an adult exchange student. I started in Korea and Japan, and went on to live in Brasil for six months to experience Brasilian culture from the inside. I'm convinced that I should buy a house of my own in Goiania and do this every year. I love Brasil, especially the people! 

I am active in my community, especially the Duluth Harbortown Rotary Club, the Head of Lakes AFS Area Team, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Glen Avon Presbyterian Church. My favorite hobbies are traveling, curling, hiking, golf, and exploring cool stuff on the internet.

I am fascinated by the new sense of family and community that has become available with the growth of the internet and email. I have enjoyed frequent conversations with my family and friends for years, even though they are miles away. I treasure my new international friends. You are thousands of miles away from me and from each other, but I feel like we could all be sitting together in a club or somebody's family room sharing ideas and values, talking about what's going on in our lives, or swapping jokes.

My main professional interests involve the appraisal and assessment of real estate for property tax purposes. I am retired as the County Assessor for St. Louis County in Duluth, Minnesota, but I am working again in flexible data-related jobs to support my travel habit! I have a Bachelor of Urban Planning degree from the University of Illinois and have maintained close ties to the Planning community.

I like anything involving computers and high tech. My first computer was a CPM based machine with 64K of memory and two 64K floppy drives. I thought I was being extravagant when I bought a PC with 256K of memory. My first hard drive had 10MG. I have been online since the days when Gopher was considered to be a great tool for surfing the internet, and I'm thankful to live at a time when we can all participate in the fantastic new opportunities available through international networking.


I started this page with the question, "Who Am I?"  This was the title of a paper assigned to my Psychology class by Virginia Thurston when I was a senior in high school.  She recommended that we keep the paper for the rest of our lives and use it to remember who we are and what we value.  I would like to dedicate this site to her and to the other teachers and counselors who inspired me to follow my dreams.