Yep, I'm just diving into another adventure. At least I look at it that way. I told a friend about this adventure and her response: "Oh my gosh! You're doing that again?"
So what exactly is it? We've taken in another exchange student! A 17 year old boy from China. We've had 3 other exchange students before. 2 were just here for short summer programs where we had them for less than a month. The other was a German student we had for 5 months. All came with unique experiences of their own. Chuck will be with us for the whole school year, possibly longer.
I've learned that it's not always easy opening up your home to strangers and in the past we've had some challenges so I was a little hesitant about this time, but so far it's working out great!
Why do I do it?
I love sharing our great American culture.
I love showing people the incredible landscape of Utah.
Even though we don't push religion, I love sharing our religion and what we believe.
I love listening to their comments and seeing things from a foreigner's perspective.
And I like that it pushes me. It pushes me to keep the house cleaner, to make daily meals, to keep up with the kid's chore charts.
So far we have taken Chuck camping--his first time to sleep outdoors. He loves to see the stars. We have gone hiking, picnicking, and ATVing. We have also taken him to a small Mountain Man shoot (shhhhhh. Don't tell anyone, but Chuck likes muzzleloaders.)
What fascinates me are the stories he shares with us about his culture. He lives in a small one room apartment with 7 other boys. No drinking water from the taps and no hot water to shower in. They pack their hot water from another building. They go to school from 6:40am till 11:00pm 7 days a week with one day a month off so they can go see their family. In school, they stay in one class room while the different teachers come in to teach them. They do not get to choose what subjects they want to take. It's all the same: Math, science, etc..
The first day he went to school here, he came home and said, "Did you know that I have a cooking class?"
I love it! He is also taking a drama and choir class.
Lately we've been tasting a bit of his culture. Chuck tells us that Chinese eat anything--Dog, cat, monkey, scorpions. One night he cooked for us and made two big pans of seasoned liquid and set plates of raw meat and vegetables around them. We had raw pork, chicken, and beef setting on the table when the kids were called in to come eat. My son walked in and took one look at the raw meat and said, "We're going to eat this? Mom! You've got to be kidding!"
It was the best meal. We spent over an hour just setting there and visiting and cooking the meat and vegetables in the hot pots and eating as things got cooked. It was a fun experience.
The next experience on our agenda ... a Halloween party. Chuck's cooking fish heads for it.
He says that they are delicious, but I think I'll pass and just take his word for it.