Sunday, June 26, 2016

Best Year Ever, Right?

I was worried about this year about my exchange students.  There were only 6 of them, 2 at my house, and this means I had to change almost everything I did.  What if I held a potluck dinner and one family couldn't come?  There goes 1/5 of my students.  Or even 1/3.  Pizza/Hockey:  There is no point in reserving a room at a pizza place, and you don't get a discount hockey tickets until you have 10 people.

And, the most important point, what if they don't like each other?

Well, not to worry.  They like each other.

And my minivan has room for 6 more people.  The skinniest people were in the back seat.  That meant Ella, Marta, and Lorenzo.  Poor Lorenzo.

On November 11, a day off from school, I suggested to my two boys that we go climb Badger Mountain.  Before you know it, everyone else is coming (well, except Julia who broke her leg), and I am driving.  And then we all had to stop for coffee  (well, it was cold).  And then on to my house where Lorenzo and Marta were in charge of dinner.

One day I was informed that all 6 of them were making brunch for Jack and me.


Meals at my house happened frequently.  All I did was answer questions, stay out of the way, and hope they did not burn the place down.

I gained weight.  Fortunately for them, they did too.

And they frequently told me that this was my best year ever, right?

Well, I will miss this group a lot.

Julia, who just quietly made friends, talked to people, and who wanted, to get along with everybody.  And inspired an argument about who was tallest.  This argument was only settled by me, when I looked up heights on their applications.  

Ella, maker of the best cinnamon rolls ever, and who made frosting pictures on my gingerbread house, and who took 3 suitcases home.  She trimmed the guys' eyebrows.  I should have let her trim mine...I can't see to do it myself anymore!

Sami, who at first I thought was going to be trouble.  He asked some pointed questions at the first meeting, until I finally asked him what rules he intended to break.  But he has a heart of gold...Instead of running down Badger Mountain to get out of the cold with everybody else, he walked down with me and kept me company, and we froze together.  And he misses our sunsets.  (I am still waiting for the list of rules he broke.)

Marta, who is an expert not only at making pasta, but at making sure that everybody has enough.  She was shocked that we put meat and pasta on our plates simultaneously.  She thinks I am the best coordinator ever.  Someday I will believe that.

Lorenzo and Alex lived in my house, and I can not just say a few sentences about them.  Lorenzo never wanted his picture taken, and made sure to ruin them.  (He succeeded about 90 percent of the time.) He loves good food.  He appreciates everything you do for him.  He got so involved at school that we didn't see him, especially about 2 weeks before opening night of a  play.  He was shocked at all the things we do with pineapple:  pizza, ham, hamburgers, salsa...  He is reliable.  He is organized.

Alex liked to win at games, and he did it noisily.  He was equally noisy when he lost.  I introduced him to French onion soup.  He was always willing to help.  He was always willing to go to coffee.
He can do a 3X3 Rubik's cube in about a minute.  He was really good at sleeping.  And eating.  And talking.

I miss them already.  My van, however, is looking forward to a rest.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Preplanning. Theory only.

Today started yesterday.  My six exchange students (2 actually live in my house) decided that they have to get together  AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE before they all exit the country and live further away from each other.  This creates a problem, because rule number 13 is that exchange students don't make decisions well.

The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who didn't make a decision.

This saying does not inspire them.

They finally decided that go-karts are too expensive (potentially being against the rules didn't faze them) and they would go mini-golfing instead.  Now they are given another decision:  lunch first, or mini-golfing first?  Guess who decided.


I also decided on time and who is driving whom.  This made them happy, especially the part about not starting until noon which enabled them all to sleep in.

Then I find out that one host mom (who lives 30 minutes away) not only has not been informed, but has a bad headache.  Plans changed; I picked those two up instead.  (Plus I had to get gas, which was not in the plans either.}

Mini-golf was a success in that 4 made holes in one!

Then it started to rain.  (There is a saying that you are not so sweet you will melt in the rain.  I would like to correct this statement:  rain does not melt things, it dissolves things.  The wicked witch of the east (or was it the west?) just wasn't educated in chemisty.) So we sped things up.

Now there is another decision:  where do we eat?

After some discussion, mostly around cost, we went with Lorenzo's (Lorenzo is into good food.  He is also The Guardian of the Nutella.) original suggestion:  Fujiyama's, which was moderately expensive but they all decided they could handle it.  And, of course, Lorenzo has to test the grill to see if it was hot.

Ironically, it was Marta who got all the ice packs.

I am going to drag Jack into that restaurant.

Then Ella had a great idea:  She would make cinnamon rolls at my house.  This was met with universal approval (YES!  A DECISION) and so we left, via a coffee shop drive through in which we managed not to confuse the barista too much.

And this is the result:

Ella makes the best cinnamon rolls ever and it is a good thing that she did not live with me. I already gained a lot of weight with Alex and Lorenzo's cooking!  I should also mention that nutella is good on these things.

Then Ella also decided that everybody's eyebrows needed tweezing; I escaped.  so did Jack.  so did Alex.

Now they are watching a movie.  It took 20 minutes to decide that.

I am going to miss these guys.  Even this one: