We have had many students over the last few years. Japanese, Korean, Brazilian, Chilean, Chinese, etc. The Turkish student is our first European student and one of the few beginners in English. It will be interesting to watch her blossom in her new language and gain the ability to express herself more and more. She has never tried sushi. She doesn't know anything about Christianity (she is Muslim), and she has little interest to learn much about other countries. However, living with an American family like ours, proud of our Mexican heritage, she'll be introduced to Spanish and Mexican food, too. Our Japanese student is still here, too. I have learned to cook Udon, tempura, and enjoy the occasional Tofu dish. So she will be exposed to Japanese cuisine and language as well. We joke that our house is never boring and if she was hoping for a quiet home-stay, she got the wrong family. We come and go and after 3pm, our house is a constant bustle of activity.
Being Host Mother to my students is fulfilling. My dreams of world travel still lie before me, but hosting students has opened my eyes to interests that i never thought about before. I have had special insight into the Chinese "one child" rule. I have tasted authentic Japanese curry made in my own home. I have trinkets from around the world, including a handmade clay flute from Columbia, an authentic silver medallion from the Beijing Olympics, more Green Tea and Chopsticks than i know what to do with. I know how to say, "Beijing welcomes you" in Mandarin. Or "Hello" in Korean, Japanese and Mandarin. I know the three types of Japanese characters, (kanji, hiragana, and katagana), and much, much more. I love the challenge of cooking a new cuisine (I tried Turkish style stuffed tomatoes the other day), and i love introducing them to Ghiradelli Double Chocolate brownies. I love knowing my kids watch students come and go and broaden their horizons through their academic study, but at the same time can realize that people are people. Some are spoiled, some are generous, some are mature and some are a bit needy, but we are all part of the human condition, sharing the same planet.... And ultimately, that we are all in need of a Saviour.