(The title of this post was supposed to be Japanese kanji saying fun, but it came up at Question marks, so that didn’t really work out)
We’re having a fun experience with our Japanese exchange student, Yuuichirou. We picked him up on Thursday night at BYU, but of course the bus was an hour late, so we didn’t actually meet him until about 7:30. By then, the kids were STARVING, but still very well behaved. We got him and his luggage in the car, and had been planning on going out to eat. I asked him if he was hungry, but he said No, he had eaten on the plane. Hmmmm. Then what to do with my hungry family? We ended up picking up Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy’s, and got him one, too, just in case he wanted to eat. We just had time to eat at home before I had to take the kids to the doctor’s office for flu shots. Really. I had a 9:00 appointment. The great thing about a 9 pm appointment is that you just walk right in. We were home by 9:15.
The next morning we didn’t talk to Yuuichirou (I’ll just call him “Y” from now on, if that’s ok with you) that much, but we did get him some toast. I made pancakes, but he didn’t want to try them, and that’s fine. We had to get him to the carpool spot by 7:30, so Ryan took him over. He was gone all day with his group. They went to some farm and rode horses, played games, did some kind of a craft, and he brought home a little pumpkin. I was the one who picked up the carpool on Friday, so I went to BYU in the afternoon. I was hoping that the 6 boys would at least talk to each other in Japanese, and I could listen to the sound of the Japanese chatter. No such luck. I think they keep those guys so tired after the long flight and all the activities, so they didn’t have much to say to each other. I asked if they had fun on the farm, and they nodded and said yes, and that was all I heard from them the whole ride home. At least one of the boys had fallen asleep.
I met at our carpool spot and returned the other boys to their host families and brought our boy home. I had thought about taking him to the Corn maze at Thanksgiving point that night, but then after they had been on the farm all day, I wondered if that was such a good idea. We had dinner, which was chicken and rice and vegetables. Then I asked if he would like to play Wii, and his face lit up. So we ended up staying home Friday night, and the kids all had a blast playing Wii sports on the big tv in the family room (usually they have to play their video games on the crappy tv in the basement). It gave him a little time to relax and get to know us without having to go out and “do something” every minute.
Saturday was a busy day. I had a morning rehearsal at Temple Square, so I left before everyone else. Natalie had a volleyball game, John had a birthday party to go to, etc. Ryan planned to bring Y and Cole and Jenna and pick up Natalie from her game, then bring the crew up to SLC to watch the tail end of our rehearsal, then we could wander through temple square a little bit. Well, of course these things never run as smoothly as you plan them out. I forgot it was picture day for Natalie, so she wasn’t ready when Ryan went to pick her up, that made Ryan and the kids later that I thought they would be for rehearsal. But everything worked out well. We found a Japanese missionary at Temple square, and she was able to give Y a little tour of the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, and the South visitor’s center. We then went to the Nauvoo cafe for lunch.
We came home to pick up Megan and John, and had planned to go back out and go to Boondocks for some fun. Just as we were getting ready to leave, however, we encountered torrential rain and hail. Hmmm. Boondocks wouldn’t be much fun if we couldn’t do the go carts and the golf and the outside stuff, so we decided to just go bowling instead. And what a fun time we had Bowling. Y is a GOOD bowler. He says he bowls 2-3 times a year, which is more than we bowl. Which is sad. Bowling is a blast, and we should do it more often. He won both games, but I must say that the second game I really stepped it up and bowled a 148. He still beat me with a 160. But I was second place, at least.
After bowling, we went to the library, and then home for dinner. We had tacos. I found out later that in Japan, Tako means Octopus, and they serve it on a stick.
Sunday we took him with us to church. I felt bad for him. Three hours of church is long even under the best of circumstances, but when you don’t speak the language, it’s VERY long. It reminded me of my first couple of Sundays at church in Germany, where I was so excited to be there, but it was SO hard to concentrate, and my brain just got tired and shut down after a while. After church, I said to him, “That was long, huh?”, and he smiled and nodded. “Did you fall asleep?” I asked him, and he laughed and nodded again.
After church we packed a picnic lunch and headed up American Fork Canyon.
I had grand plans of seeing the beautiful leaves. We missed the leaves by a few weeks, but it was still beautiful. We stopped at Cascade springs and hiked a little.
Even though it was kind of cold, it was a nice day, and we had fun.
We ate lunch and then drove up and over to Heber, then through Park City and to Salt Lake.
Our last stop of the day was my sister Chrissy’s house. Chrissy’s husband, Tom, served his mission in Japan, and he wanted to talk to Y. We were pretty sure that if our family seemed big and overwhelming to him, Chrissy’s family (10 kids) would TOTALLY overwhelm him. But he did fine. The kids were just playing and having fun, and he seemed to be having a good time, too. When Tom got there, they talked about some of the fun games that Tom had learned in Japan, and they taught the rest of us how to play them, too. Although I don’t think we are getting the words right.
Before we left, we HAD to get a picture of all of my kids and all of Chrissy’s kids with Yuuichirou. When he shows his family, they will just be amazed at all those kids!
What a great experience!