This past month, Ray and I were given the opportunity to do a “home-stay” with 2 college students from South Korea. We learned that we would open up our home to them for 2 nights and 3 days, then they would return to UNC for the remaining 3 weeks in the U.S of A. We would show them what our daily life is like (scary thought), and take them to places that we thought they might like to see while in Colorado. Elijah suggested Chuck E. Cheese.
When I was offered the opportunity, I immediately jumped on it. What an experience for us, as a family! What better way to let my children learn about the world around them!
So, we said yes.
Then, all of the doubts set in. I remembered that (contrary to popular belief) I’m not a talkative person if I don’t know you. Many times, this is mistaken for me being a “you know what”…but in all reality, I am extremely shy. That is, until I get to know you and then you won’t be able to get me to be quiet. I”m not outgoing. Ray is, and he would be at work the day that we pick them up…all day. That means, I would have to be a conversation starter. Oh boy…
Actually, I have a short side story, so bare with me.
When I was a little girl, I talked non-stop. I mean All. The. Time. I was good in school, just liked to talk. So, at the dinner table (the place where we are supposed to tell about our day, right?) I talked, instead of eating. I was ALWAYS the very last person sitting at our table, all alone, while my mom washed the dishes. If I remember right, we weren’t allowed to be done until we finished our glass of milk. Well, after all of my rambling, my glass of milk was ALWAYS warm. I’m pretty sure this is why I am not a huge fan of milk to this day….unless Oreo’s are being dipped in it. Anyway, one night my parents asked me to quit talking. I tried, but it didn’t work. So, they moved my plate and chair into the pantry (which is like a closet with a counter-top), closed the door, and I ate in there. Did I quit talking? Absolutely not, but I did finish my dinner and my warm milk. Came out of the pantry, and continued the conversation that I was probably carrying on with the can of green beans. It only happened that one time, and we still laugh about it to this day.
Anyhow, as I’ve gotten older, my talkativeness only happens when I become familiar with a person. When I am comfortable around them. I guess I’m afraid they might put me in the pantry! (Totally kidding, Mom!)
So, hosting 2 foreign students made me a little nervous. When I told this to Ray he said, “Honey, didn’t you just blog about stepping out of your comfort zone?” Ah, Ray…always comes in with the zinger. Yes, yes I did just write about that. So, it’s time to eat my words.
Well, this past weekend was THE weekend!
Saturday morning, I loaded up the kids in the car to go pick up our new friends. The kids were PUMPED! I was trying to pretend like I was too but in all reality I felt like I might need my chest pumped!
We walked into the dorms to pick them up, and as soon as we turned the corner, we hear about 15 South Korean students say, “Awwwwwwwwww!” Yeah, my kids were in heaven-being oogled and googled at.
The lady in charge named off the students who would be staying with us, and two sweet, beautiful ladies stepped forward. It was pretty amazing how fast my worries started to go away, and I immediately felt comfortable. Here we go!
We got into the car, the kids and I started asking them questions and Elijah began counting in Spanish. Yes, Spanish. I actually think that he may have been a little confused about the language that South Koreans speak…but nonetheless, they loved it! And it gave me a good giggle, releasing more nerves.
I’m not going to give you details on our entire weekend, but we took them to get Bronco shirts (how much more American can you get?), went to Hammond’s Candy, ate grilled cheese and BLT’s, played UNO (alot), laughed, watched the Bronco game together, gave them a ride on a Harley Davidson, traveled to Red Rocks, ate at Gunther Toody’s, folded paper flowers, and Emaleigh learned how to write her entire name in Korean. Pretty sure that she now writes her Korean name on her papers at school.
They got to see the personalities of all 3 of my kids shining bright, not holding back anything. Especially Eydan…he screamed. Alot. Especially in the car. He held nothing back. Nothing. They thought it was hilarious.
But, more important than all of these things, we made amazing friends. It was so neat to watch my family form life long bonds in just 3 short days. We opened up our home and our hearts, and what we gained in return is an everlasting friendship with two women that we never would have even had the opportunity to meet, had we not stepped out and been a little uncomfortable at first. I couldn’t have asked for more sweet, helpful, genuine girls than the ones that stayed with us. We were really blessed.
Before we took the girls back, they gave each one of us handwritten cards. The most beautiful letters that I have ever read. So thoughtful, full of gratitude, love, and sincerity. I was so happy to learn that they got as much out of the weekend as the Mondragon family did.
This past weekend was one of the most memorable weekends of my life, and one of the most meaningful things that my family has ever done. And, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Here’s to new experiences, new friendships, and a new year to do it all in!
Oh yeah, and here’s to counting in Spanish!