Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Foreign Exchange Students

We're in the middle of a pretty wicked heat wave, an 84 degrees at 2 a.m. kind of heat wave. I'll admit that I kind of love it, although we have been largely holed up in the air conditioning. We are enjoying our summer, when I'm not yelling at my kids to stop yelling (call it a parenting fail if you must, I call it being heard). Dang it but they're loud!

Bethany and Connor started a three week day camp on Monday as part of a Chinese cultural foreign exchange program. They have a very busy and fun-filled itinerary, and Friday night we'll be bringing two Chinese students home with us to stay for two weeks. This means all kinds of things.

For starters, my house is still not ready for overnight guests. So I'll be doing some mad crazy cleaning and prep work Thursday and Friday. I mean, we got home from vacation on Saturday and I still have managed to not go grocery shopping. I won't mention the lingering suitcases. Clearly I have a lot of work to do!

Then I have to make sure I'm sufficiently entertaining Lucy and Mathilda because they know that Bethany and Connor are doing all kinds of fun things all day, and it just wouldn't be FAIR* if they didn't get to do all kinds of fun things too. My bare minimum strategy is to at least plan fun outings on the days that the campers go on field trips. When we're at home, they pretty much just have to be happy trying to out scream each other and fighting over whose turn it is to choose a show on Netflix. I'll try to do better next week.
Notice the lack of SMILE.
Tuesday the campers spent the day at Partridge Creek (local outdoor mall) to see a movie and do some shopping, so after I went to the gym and got us three girls ready, we went to Partridge Creek too. The campers saw Monsters University, and while Mattie was gung ho to see it, there was no convincing Lucy that it's not strictly a boys' movie. We even had a Monsters, Inc. family movie night Monday to try to sway her, but that didn't work, so we saw Despicable Me 2 instead. After the movie, we bumped into some friends, and went over to the fountains so the girls could splash around and cool off, but that lasted all of 5 minutes. Seriously. They said the other kids were hogging the water. Whatever. Sometimes your fun plans just don't work out. Instead of joyously running around in the water as I had envisioned, they sat with me on a bench, eating left over movie theater popcorn and getting all up in my business while I attempted to have an adult conversation with my friend. I turned to Starbucks for support (it's been awhile) and appeased Lucy and Mattie with cake pops. The day was a semi-success.

Wednesday Mattie had a dentist appointment, and then a birthday party for a preschool friend. Lucy and I got to hang out at the party too, which was unexpected and fun. After that, I knew the campers would be at our city pool, so we went and did that for awhile too. Being blazing hot, it was a good day to be in the pool. Friday the campers are going to the zoo, and the girls and I are definitely not doing that in the 90+ degree heat, so I need to think of something else.
Making pizzas at the birthday party

So then. Starting Friday we will have two strange kids who are thousands of miles from home and barely speak English staying with us. And I'm a tiny bit concerned about how that is going to go. I think it will be fun, but we've never done anything like this before so I'm kind of nervous. I'm so thankful that Monday through Friday they'll be in camp all day, and all their activities are planned. (My friend has an exchange student from Spain for a whole month, with no planned group activities of any kind. She is struggling to keep him entertained.) But that still leaves two whole weekends and lots of week nights. The school gave us a list of suggested evening activities, and I think we'll do a few of those, hopefully meeting up with a lot of other families in the program. It is pretty exciting to have the opportunity to host these kids and immerse them in American culture. Haha. Hopefully they're not too freaked out by the mayhem that prevails in our house.  Because, no, really, I'm not kidding when I say my kids are loud.

Friday night all of the host families are having a pizza dinner together at the school, and then we're on our own for the weekend. I made plans for Saturday which should last all day. I'm hoping the kids click well enough that it's not just all awkward silences. When I was a kid I went to a bi-lingual school, plus lived in an apartment complex that seemed to be the meeting ground for transients from all over the world. I had plenty of friends with whom I didn't share a language, and yet we always had a great time together. I'm hoping that's a universal kid thing, and that they'll all get on fine.

I'll update, but I'm not making any promises because we all know what a slacking blogger I've been.

Oh yeah, incidentally..."Host a foreign exchange student" is on my Life List, so I get to tick that one off! Yippee!

I hope your summer is going well, and I'd love to know what you've been up to!

*Lucy is my Fair Fighter. Everything has to be fair and square or else look out.

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