As we have now passed our first 24 hours of being exchange parents, we are pretty sure we have 2 of the best kids in the exchange program as our guest. Their English is better than expected, and their smiles are almost as cute as those of our own girls.
What we have witnessed at the conclusion of the first full day:
- They keep bringing gifts out of their suitcases for us. After the first wave of gifts last night (very thoughtful gifts for the young girls as well as the parental units–we think there parents may have given them some wise guidance!)
- Our Korean student is nearly afraid of the sun. She prefers the clouds and rain of her homeland. At numerous stops today, she ran from the car to the store and back to the shade of the car when we came back out. She squinted her eyes and looked down. The heat was stifling to her. At one of our stops, she got a magazine to protect her eyes. Sunglasses and a hat are on the Sunday shopping list.
- Our Chinese student has a cold/allergy. While in China last year, I realized how great it is to have a hot water pot as an appliance. When our student asked for hot water, I thought, “She must want to make tea.” This was not what she wanted! She only wanted to drink the hot water. When we went shopping today, she put hot water in a thermos so she could drink it while we were gone. Very strange, but if she gets healthy, it is good!
- Our Korean student is not wasteful at all. While helping to make guacamole tonight, she clean out the avocado cleaner than I believe I have ever seen it. There was virtually no flesh left inside the “shell”. She did a remarkable job! And, while eating cantaloupe and eating it off of the rind, I do not believe I have EVER seen anyone bite it off so close to the rind. The got nearly all of the orangey flesh w/ no complaints of eating a bitter rind.
- Our Korean student was also very intent on getting organize shampoo. We went to Target, but no options were worthwhile. It took going to Sprouts to get her a viable option. Organic shampoo is NOT cheap!
- Our Chinese student could work at Chick-Fil-A! She tries very hard to be helpful. When I thank her for her help, she says, “My pleasure.” I will enjoying it while it last. Once school, life and the lack of sleep mount up, her enthusiasm for being helpful may be gone as well…
- Our Korean student is a shopper! As we went to Hobby Lobby to look at watercolors, she kept getting distracted. She would wonder from item to item and once it was explained (and sometimes not), she would say, “Great!” (I guess this is a good non-committal word used to show interest, but not excessive enthusiasm.)
- While visiting their new school today (my bio-daughter has a robotics camp open house we were attending), the girls both met two people who spoke their native tongue. They took on a special glow as they conversed in Chinese or Korean. Someday, they might be able to be the adult who greets the exchange student in their native tongue unexpectedly. It was a special gift they received twice over today!
- It was a REALLY good move having two exchange students of the same gender in our house at the same time. Since one is a Christian and the other is not, this offers a benefit. Also, they can be the buddies to each other that our bio-kids have been able to be to each other. (All of our 4 kids had a same gender sibling who was w/i 16 months of their own age.) They share a bunk bed in a good size room. They treat each other nearly like sisters, and although I have not heard “twinsey” speak or anything resembling it, the fact they both speak an Asian language gives them more in common than I can likely fully appreciate.
Very early in my “sentence” that will run the full school year I feel very fortunate! Even though 4 teenage girls is more than most men could take, I am not “most men”. I signed up for this, and I grateful to invest in the lives of as many kids (whether my own, exchange students or any other variation) as I can. I am not sure what I will be when I grow up….until I find out, just call me “dad”….