Monday, January 23, 2012

You Had Me At Hello...

So last Saturday, we unleashed the Rowe chaos onto a new level; international. We welcomed our foreign exchange student, William, from China. I bet you're thinking that William doesn't sound very Chinese. It is his English name. His Chinese name is very difficult to pronounce and he was ok with us using William.

Excitement buzzed in the air as we prepared to go to the high school to meet him. The students all arrived via bus from the airport. Bella held the sign with his name in the air and it didn't take him long to find us. On the way back home, we drove by Lake Minnetonka and told him how there are a lot of lakes in Minnesota. We saw an ice boat sailing around the lake on its blades and William was very impressed. I am amazed by his command of the English language. He speaks it much better than I can ever dream of speaking another language. He even speaks it better than some Americans I know; namely those crazy kids from the Jersey Shore...

Upon arriving at our house, our pets gave their own special greeting to William. Ika barked like a mad dog, jumping up on our guest with his full 85lbs. Enzo, decided his shoes would look better with some chew marks. (We have since given William a plastic tupperware container to put his shoes in when he comes home.) The cats have showcased their bad manners by jumping up on the counter when he is making his breakfast or onto the table in the middle of meals. As I had mentioned in a previous post, most people in China don't have animals as pets and if they do, they certainly don't have 4. I would imagine William feels a bit like he lives on that old show "Green Acres", but I don't think they have that show in China, so the reference is lost on him.

Our daily routine is beginning to settle in with our new family member. His presence has actually helped in some cases. There have been times when I have seen a fit or an outburst brewing in one of my kids and just as they are about to blow, they stop suddenly, when they remember there will be an outside witness to their crazy. William is only here for 4 weeks, but I am thinking of getting a paper life size cut-out of him, with the hope that I can achieve similar results when he is gone.

Last Friday, our whole family went to the Chinese New Year Celebration at Minnetonka High School. Lots of elementary kids from the Chinese immersion program performed. Some of the Chinese exchange students also sang, but William had chosen not to participate.

One area I was worried about was food. It is a non-issue because William has an adventurous culinary appetite. The first night we took him to our favorite all you can eat Chinese buffet. I think he thought it was  funny that there was so much food and you could just keep eating and eating. His favorite food is pizza and he has had it a lot for school lunch and out on field trips with his exchange group. Before he leaves we will probably take him out to a hamburger place like "Five Guys" to give him some more American cuisine.

This weekend is Bella's 10th birthday party. William is excited to see an American birthday, but from how he describes the ones in China (they have cake, candles, and sing "Happy Birthday", I don't think there will be a big difference...

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