Hosting an exchange student for a week is a whirlwind experience. On the one hand, you only have a week to show him or her all that you can of your home town. On the other hand, it’s only a week.
This is our second time hosting a Japanese student, and it’s been a good experience both times. Although last year our student ended up getting sick with the swine flu right after he left us. The poor kid was sick for their Disneyland trip, and our family had a few people down from sickness as well. Out of 240 boys, I think 70 of them got sick. This year we didn’t have those annoying swine flu issues, which was nice.
Kazuki came on a Tuesday, which was also the night of our ward Halloween party, so Ryan ended up picking him up alone. By the time everyone got home, it was bedtime, so we basically said hello, here’s your room, welcome to our home. The next day we sent him off to BYU. Even though it had snowed that night, they took the kids to a farm for some farm type activities. He said he rode a horse, but that’ about all I know about that day. I had to take John to a basketball game and then go to rehearsal myself, so the rest of the family had dinner with him, and then played that great ice breaker, the Wii. He started to warm up to the kids and had a good time.
Thursday he was done with school earlier, since he didn’t have to go all the way to BYU. That day our students went to a local junior high and went to classes there. They had buddies who spent the day with them, and he said it was fun. We decided to go to Gardner Village for dinner that night. The place was all decked out for Halloween, and we thought it would be fun.
The whole concept of Halloween is strange to him, since they have no such holiday in Japan, but Kazuki was a good sport, and I think he enjoyed dinner, at least. He ordered pasta and finished it all.
Friday morning I drove the carpool of 7 boys to BYU, and it was fun to listen to them chatter in Japanese. I felt like a taxi driver. By the time he got home, we were just getting home from our Halloween activities for the day, so we had a dinner of pizza, and then got down to the business of carving our pumpkins. Again, a new thing for him, and he must wonder what in the world we are doing, but we want to show all the aspects of American life at Halloween time, so we dived right in.
Saturday we had a fun day. We all went to John’s basketball game in the morning, and then had McDonald’s for lunch. Kazuki had written in his letter to us that he wanted to eat a really big hamburger at McDonald’s, so we wanted to grant his request. Then we went off to have some serious fun. The weather, while not raining, was overcast and cloudy, but still warm enough for outdoor activities. We went to Trafalga in Lehi and spent a few hour in the pursuit of having fun.
We played mini golf, rode go carts, rode the merry go round and even the bumper boats. Well, I didn’t ride the bumper boats, because someone had to take pictures, right? And I couldn’t get my family to promise not to squirt each other. They did not promise, and they ended up doing quite a lot of squirting.
So you can see why I didn’t want to be involved in all THAT, right?
We timed it just right so that we were leaving in the afternoon just as it started to rain.
After dinner, we dressed Kazuki in a “costume”, or actually, he just put on a cape, and we geared up to go trick-or-treating. Unfortunately, it was POURING rain about then.
Trick-or-treating was less than fun. I’m afraid he didn’t get the whole FUN idea of it. We made it around 1/2 of our neighborhood, then stopped in for donuts at our neighbors, and came back home. Just as we got home, the raining subsided. Ugh. The girls, after changing shoes, wanted to go back out, but Kazuki and John were done. They decided to stay home and hand out candy and watch tv instead.
On Sunday, we got up nice and early to attend the live broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word.
We did a little Temple Square sightseeing while we were there. We couldn’t stay long, though, because we had to make sure we were back in time for primary. So, it was a long day for all of us. The afternoon was spent in naps, playing games, and doing puzzles. We had a nice steak dinner and the kids even played outside.
Monday the boys went to BYU for more activities/lessons, and then we met them there at 5:30 for a closing social. The banquet was yummy, the program was too long. When we came back home, we gave Kazuki some American gifts.
Tuesday we had an early morning, waking everyone up by 5:45 to say goodbye. Thankfully Ryan drove him to Provo, so I could get the kids ready for school.
It was a good experience! The kids are already sad that he’s gone, but hopefully they will have a pen-pal in Japan, and some fond memories.