We are hosting an exchange student from Japan. A 13 year old, sweet, Tokyo girl named Masako. The 4-H program contacted us to see if we were interested and sent paperwork for us to get to know candidates. We agreed with the coordinator Masako would be a good fit for us. She has a younger brother Lilly's age and is interested in learning about animal care of cows, sheep, dogs, chickens, and cats. Good thing we have most of those and access to others at others properties around us.
I think these students and their families must be very brave to cross the world, stay with people they don't know and try food and adventures previously unknown to them. We contacted each other by email and 4-H sent introductions hoping to help break the ice.
We met at the airport at the gate (thanks, Southwest Airlines) with a couple other students. I expected the girls to start off a little shy. I believe Masako understood us more than she wanted to respond in English. We had been practicing greetings in Japanese, we used cards for typical questions and greeting: you may use this cabinet, do you need the restroom, etc. The google language translator has been very helpful. As I write halfway through this adventure, we are communicating much more in English (which is the aim of her visit). We still find many times a day we can't get a word and use the translator.
We have talked about each others' families, cultures and faith, or lack of faith in Japan. With google she was able to show me her home and school, with facebook I saw her parents and brother.
Masako brought so many gifts, she would bring out something new each day, starting with interesting and tasty candies.
Tshirts for all of us, including Molly and Sebastian.
Masako brought lots of silly gifts to share laughs and giggles.
The kids play lots of games, started off with games with little need for common language.
Lots of time swimming since its so hot.
Meeting my kids' friends at their houses and ours.
And a trip to our favorite place for summer Shakespeare, Winedale, and we met up with two of my sisters and some of their kids. They shared origami creations and a picnic before the play.
Out local 4-h had a craft day and the girls had fun creating all kinds of various crafts.
Two more weeks...