"Host? You mean they will stay with us?"
And that's how hubby and I got into homestay parenting - a friend explaining to us what it entails and how to go about being one.
And, that's how we met Ernie, yes, our beloved coordinator Ernie! And the rest is history, a cliche that is just apt to use now.
My picture of retirement was reading newspaper over croissant and coffee in the morning. Add to this visiting places we've never been to and sprinkle it with no-holds-barred talks with friends and relatives on FB, Skype, etc. whenever the mood hits, and then garnish everything with small perks like movies, concerts, hobbies, etc.
Alas! Due to unavoidable circumstances, the picture changed! Take food, for example. Hubby's health and medical diet is the exact opposite of mine. I can eat anything he eats but while I love cheese and tomatoes the smallest amount of these will raise his potassium or phosphorus level.. Oh, how I love chocolate and ice cream, but the same are taboo for him! Travelling? It is like tug-of-war. We can travel, why not, but the hassle and the accompanying fear of what ifs hold us back. One thing that is a positive constant to both of us are our grandchildren. We can both spoil them whenever we like, lol!
Homestay parenting gave us some additional spark every summer.
Last year's was more like a trial and error affair. There were times we were nervous or apprehensive about the unknown. Now, our approach is with more surety and excitement. If before we were doubtful if we could do it, now we are very sure we can.
When we received the assignment from Ernie, I could feel the excitement in my hubby. He started asking where or how we could get a twin bed for the other room and I could see the bounce in his step as he went from one room to the other. He even started writing down a week's menu. As if, I thought!! And the best part is, I noticed there are lesser creases on his forehead now! LOL....
He loves our daily drive to and from Kohl's not underscoring the fact that he just underwent surgery a day before we welcomed the newest group!
We took care of eight students last year. We had one who has never failed to greet us on special ocassions (even after a fire) thru e-mail. Then, just the other morning, I was serenaded by four 11-year old boys with a Chinese and an American love songs as I was preparing breakfast.
Now, you tell me, isn't that the best gift one could get out of this program!
To the new "recruits", WELCOME! I am very sure you will have fun!
Below is one of the many e-mails I mentioned:
Hi mom ：How are you there days ?I have finished this tern and later i will have an one-month holidy.I do miss you as well as father . Did father recover from his disease? I hope every thing goes well. Fortunately , I got good grades in my study so our family plan to take trip to Xi'an. Do you know Chinese New Year?About 2 weeks later ,the most important festival in China will come to us . On that day we will get together with our family and enjoy firework .Watching Spring Festival Gala Evening is our major activity as well. We will stay up late in order to "shousui" . Children will receive Lucky money and dress up to visit friends. Although i am too "old" to get lucky money ,i still enjoy happy time with them. Mom . Happy new year! Best wish !