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Adventures in Hosting an Exchange Student

September 14, 2010

So late last week, we got an email from our kids’ school, asking if anyone was interested in being a host family. One French exchange student was coming in January, but a Chinese student needed housing immediately. We talked about it, got enthusiastic buy-in from our Kiddo (she’s 11, you remember), and started filling out paperwork. Three days later – yesterday – our student arrived!

(The exchange student isn’t my kid, so I don’t feel okay giving her real name in a public blog. We’ll call her Chunli, after Chun-li from Street Fighter 2. Yeah, I’m a dork.)

We showed Chunli and her aunt and uncle around the house, and we all sat and got a feel for each other.  We were in full three-ring circus mode, with the boys jumping and climbing all over Uncle Jim and Daddy. Nevertheless, they seemed comfortable leaving her to the chaos 🙂 We got her set up in Kiddo’s room – yay for big rooms! – and had a nice evening/dinner/movie together.  She and Benny got along great – he was climbing on her in no time…turns out she has a 2 year old brother back at home.

Eric instantly fell completely in love, and showed off and ran and painted her a picture and generally talked and talked and showed off and talked some more.  I’ve never seen him so completely smitten with anyone or anything…he’s adorable, and all heart.

Kiddo has taken to her, too, I think. She’s terribly pleased to have a sister, at long last. I made a big mistake this morning, though…after dropping Chunli off at the high school, I was on the phone with my Mom and mentioned taking the “little kids” to school.  Oh, FRIGGLE, why did I say that?  She caught it, too….

Tonight, another nice evening. She eats like a bird, and is very quiet.  I suspect by the end of the year she’ll have cranked the volume considerably…you kind of have to around here.

Current thoughts:

  • We’re all REALLY excited to have her here.
  • Suddenly, there’s 6 of us. Such a big number! I’m glad we have the big table now.
  • Again, I’ve never seen Eric so smitten. I hope this wil have mellowed a bit, at least, by the end of the school year. Else his heart will break. 😦
  • Thinking about vacations, and going, oh yeah! We’ll have her along! Interesting…cool. We get to Show Her Stuff.
  • She’s having big trouble with English…she understands pretty well, and talks about as well as I do in French (probably better now), but she has homework assignments at the high school reading level. This is going to be very, very tough for her, but she seems determined.


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