Wry Exchange

Survival Foreign Language
04-30-08, 1:06 am
Filed under: Exchange Students, Inbounds Inbounds, Outbounds Outbounds

 Exchange students will be moving to their new homes in less than four months.  I hope they are all studying the language of their new home.  When they move to FESlandia, there are no guarantees anyone in the host family speaks English.  Remember, it’s up to the student to adapt, not the family.

I suggest all students bring a small pocket dictionary, and keep it with them AT ALL TIMES.  I’ve seen dictionaries smaller than 3″x3″.   I also strongly suggest students write the most important words and phrases on a 3×5 index card. (All of the following will fit on a 3×5 card.) No matter how confident FES is that she knows the language, she’ll be flustered and forget at the airport.  It’s completely normal to blank out.  That’s why you need a cheat sheet.

Absolute Minimum
hello/good-bye,  yes/no, please/thank you,
I like/don’t like.
I am fine, allergic, tired, hungry, thirsty, sick, hot, cold, homesick
I don’t understand.
Pardon me
Where is the toilet? 
My name is
I don’t speak FESish.
I have nothing to declare.
Survival FESish
I want, excuse me, do you mind? I’m sorry, you’re welcome, I need, I don’t know, May I?
do you speak english?  what is your name? How are you?  Pleased to meet you.  Do you like?
more/less, left/right, up/down, in/out, perhaps/maybe, don’t worry, ATM, ASAP
slower, where, why, when, what, how, who, which/what, at what time? please repeat, again, what did you say? how much $?,  Look! Stop!
Verbs-Learn at minimum the present tense of I, you, we
be, know, understand, want, learn, go, can/be able, have/possess, say/tell, help/assist
I recommend a small grid like this.
        I          You          WE               
Entiendo  Entiendes  Entendemos   Entender     Understand
This is strictly survival FESish, after learning the above, the next step is to add in ‘ed’ and ‘ing’ to the verbs.
I don’t recommend electronic translaters.  I view them as a crutch. 

Cold Flashes
04-29-08, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , ,

 I am a cold woman. 🙂 This post is about physical cold.  Husband jokes that I’m cold from October through April.  He, of course, runs hot.  I think it’s a rule that opposites must marry.  My hands and feet are always cold, and usually my nose and ears. I get goosebumps a few times each week.  It is wonderful to have a soft BadLab to keep my toes warm in bed, and under the desk.  (GoodDobie is a weenie, and must be covered with a blanket.)

I’ve been having periods of bone-chilling coldness for over nine months now.  It feels like I’m cold from the core out, starting inside my chest and ribcage.  Nothing makes it go away unless I take a HOT shower or just go to bed-it goes away overnight.  It’s a bit strange, but I just assumed I was really cold, and my internal thermostat was a bit off.  The chills are becoming more frequent. 

I’ve had nightweats occasionally over the last few years, but I’ve always attributed them to bad dreams.  I have some horrific dreams.  (hostages, mass murder, automatic weapons, torture, etc.)

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been getting…hot flashes.  The first few times, I thought ‘This is nice, I’m finally warm.’  Then I started getting suspicious.  (I go from fine to sweat running into my eyes in less than a minute. ewww)  I looked up menopause and perimenopause.  OH.HELL.NO.  I’m too young for that crap.  Oh shit, I guess I’m not.  Peri-menopause lasts from 2-8 years, and can begin as early as mid-30’s.   More swearing, much more swearing.  

Now my chilly episodes have a name-cold flashes.  They are the opposite of hot flashes, and apparently not as well known.   It’s dawning on me that I am ~horrors~ middle-aged.  

SEVIS Fee Proposed Increase-Just say no!
04-28-08, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags:

  The US Department of Homeland Security wants to raise SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fees.  If you have time and inclination, please send them an email commenting against the proposed fee.  The fee currently is $100 USD.  On Oct 1, 2008 it will be increased to $180 USD.  This fee has to be paid before a student can obtain an interview for a visa.  That’s a very large increase, and difficult for many students to pay.  The fee increase is explained in PDF files on the homepage if you scroll down a bit.  The proposed rule is 94 pages long so I didn’t copy and paste it.

There are three parts to the non-immigrant student visa fee: the application fee, the issuance fee and the Sevis fee.  Visa issuance fees vary by country because of reciprocity.  This rule concerns the SEVIS fee.

Comments must be submitted on or before June 20, 2008.
You may submit comments, which must be identified by DHS docket number ICEB-2008-0004, using one of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov  Follow the instructions for submitting comments.  You  may submit comments online through this website.
 Mail: Office of Policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 425 I St., NW., Room 7257, Washington,DC 20536.
 Hand Delivery/Courier: The address for sending comments by hand delivery or courier is the same as that for submitting comments by mail.
Contact telephone number is (202) 514-8693.
Facsimile: Comments may be submitted by facsimile at (866) 466-5370.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Louis Farrell, Director, Student and Exchange Visitor Program; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,  Department of Homeland Security; Chester Arthur Building, 425 I St., NW., Suite 6034, Washington, DC 20536; telephone number (202) 305-2346. This is not a toll-free number. Program information can be found at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/.

Blogroll Addition-Host Family
04-27-08, 2:01 pm
Filed under: hosting, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

 I have a new blogroll addition to share with you.  HostFamily08 will take us through their year as they begin their adventure.  Jessica, 19, is the blog author and a college student.  She lives with her parents, and this is their first hosting experience.  They will be hosting a 15 year old Russian girl through Pacific Intercultural Exchange.  I’m excited to see their perspective on exchanges.

“Possibly Related Posts”
04-25-08, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags:

Yuck, an improvement.  I’ll try it for a week or so.  I can’t decide if it’s creepy, big brother-y, nosy, or just weird.  Note ‘helpful’ and ‘interesting’ weren’t chosen words.
From WordPress-In a feature we’re calling possibly related posts we’ll now try to show posts related to yours a little section at the end. If we find any posts on your blog that are related, we’ll put those at the very top and in bold. Next we’ll show other posts from around WordPress.com, and finally we’ll check if there’s anything in the mainstream media.

The result is a handful of links that should provide you and your visitors something interesting to check out. On blogs that cover the same topics frequently related posts could cause a 5-10% increase in traffic overnight. You could also start to see traffic from lots of other blogs. It’s a bit of an experiment, and we’ll be tweaking it a lot based on your feedback and the data that we collect once everything is live.

Right now this is just for English blogs, but we’re working on the technology to roll this out for every language we support. We’ll also be adding some ways for you to tweak the results to your liking.

Superb, Insightful Story About Names
04-25-08, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Culture | Tags: ,

 I read a WONDERFUL blog post today from Daisy’s Dead Air.  Daisy wrote about her name.  Sounds simple?  She is a white woman with a stereotypical ‘black’ name.
I’ve written about names before, but nothing as good as this post.  I urge you to go read it now.

Why I Hate People, Part 49
04-25-08, 12:42 am
Filed under: Exchange Students, hosting, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

 One of my nearby students moved this week.  This is the first time one of the kids moved without me facilitating.  The families worked it out between themselves.  Which means I didn’t know FES moved.  Family #1 must have really wanted the kid out of their house!  I don’t have the paperwork filed from the new family yet.  Dad’s a minister, I know him, but still.   I’m pissed.

The kid was online tonight, and I told him I have a box from home for him.  Many times parents send gifts to our house instead of the host family’s home.  Anyway, FES lets me know he’s home alone.  The family is in another state.  That’s so against the rules.  I just went and brought the kid back here to our house.  It’s 12:15am.  The hostfather asked Husband if it was OK to leave FES alone for the day.  That’s how we found out the move was made.  Husband said ‘Yes, for the day is fine.’  That doesn’t mean overnight.   It’s only 2 blocks away, but still.  I gave them the rules.  New Hostdad has been around the kid since he arrived in August.  I thought he understood how exchange studenting works. I’m really pissed. 

And the house is a huge, honkin’ mess.  I’m moving things around to make office space for Husband in a small room off the living room.   The space was filled with my office stuff, so I am moving it all over-attic, basement, recycle bin, spare bedroom, etc.  I have a sink full of dishes because I cut my thumb while moving crap.   We’re out of milk and bread, too.  I was going to the store tomorrow.  We don’t eat breakfast.   Can ya tell I’m discombobulated?