Wry Exchange


Dragon Cave-Click My Eggs, Please
08-29-08, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags:

     It’s a holiday weekend, and my silly dragon eggs need views (you’re viewing them now.) and clicks.  Please choose one of my eggs and click on it to help the egg crack, then develop a hole, then turn into a hatchling, and finally an adult.   The eggs are a Vine Dragon, Chicken, Dinosaur, and Shy Dragon.

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More Coincidences
08-28-08, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , ,

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!  Both Husband’s and my laptops are dead.   Mine “only” has a dead AC adapter/charger.  Husband’s is much more serious.  His AC adapter/charger is also dead, and so is his battery.  The odd thing is his charger and battery died with no warning.   It acquired a virus somehow, and really messed up the entire computer.  He had the Blue Screen of Death®.  Husband is not a happy man. 

Chef knows nothing about how any of this happened.  He feels really bad, and took my baby laptop to a friend’s to charge.  He’s bringing the charger home to try to fix Husband’s. 

Good thing we bought the external hard drive earlier this month.  Husband is on his way to work, and asked me to back up his entire contents.  He said if I let Chef do the backing up,  don’t let him know. 😉



Orientation Speech
08-28-08, 1:16 am
Filed under: Exchange Program, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

 I was asked to give ‘The Speech’ to the newbies at Orientation this past weekend.  I had about 15 minutes to prepare.  That tells you a lot about the way our program doesn’t works for the last few years.  My mind went blank except for hygiene.  Hygiene issues were brought up by host parents earlier.  (Husband and I asked what problems, if any, they were experiencing with their students.)

I left my laptop and totebag at home.  Husband didn’t have any materials, neither did Friend.  We weren’t involved in planning the weekend, and we didn’t have a committee meeting scheduled.  We didn’t think we needed anything.  Never assume.

Between the three of us, we scrawled out a list.  I showed it to the person who asked me to speak, and asked him to scratch out anything he didn’t want me to cover.  He wanted to cover the sexual harassment and big no-no’s.  No driving, drinking, dating, or drugs.  The “4-D’s”

Crap.  I just remembered now I forgot to cover piercings and tattoos.  Just as well, because I don’t care.  I always pretend that I don’t see any new body modifications, but they’re against the rules.  I remembered because ‘decoration’ or ‘desecration’ is another ‘D.’

In an hour, I covered: Travel, travel policy, visits from parents, no visits from bf/gf, emergency funds, J-1 Visa means you attend school, pay attention, do homework, and try to obtain decent grades. Speak English.  If arrested, you go home, don’t drink alcohol at parties, don’t stay with people who are drinking, be nice to your host family, work out small problems before they grow, don’t put stupid photos on MySpace or Facebook, say ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘you’re welcome.’  Mom is the boss in the US, you may have problems with sibling jealousy, going to church, don’t kick the cat-they WILL know, let the dog back in, close the doors when you leave the house, you will have a curfew-quit whining about it.  Kids here don’t really dance, we don’t have pubs for you.  If someone asks you to do something or go somewhere, try it at least once.  Even if you think it’s stupid or juvenile because they may not ask again.  Learn to have fun in a new way. Become ‘one of us.’ Don’t wear the same clothes back-to-back at school, people will notice.  Wash clothing often.  Homesickness.  You represent your country.  Hygiene.  Americans are shallow, and may say ‘Hi’ one day and ignore you the next.  Don’t mistake ‘friendly’ for ‘friendship.’  When we say ‘American’ we mean citizens of the US, and don’t intend to insult other Americans.  We don’t know what else to call ourselves.  Americans don’t know geography.  Try not to be insulted when asked “Do you have birds in Italy?” and “Do you have a pet monkey?”

I tried to keep them interested, and be humorous. I thought it was a good discussion.  Chef participated, as well as several of my former students.  I know I talked for an hour because when I sat down, a student asked me how long we had been in the meeting.    He said he was very bored.   I thought I did well until I was instantly humbled. 🙂



Orientation for Parents, Counselors, and New Kids

Our Orientation was over the weekend.  I love seeing the bright, innocent, hopeful faces on the new host parents and students.  Many of our host parents are older professionals this year, and we have many first-timers.  They were hungry for information.  Husband spent a lot of time talking with the parents after their meeting.  I skipped the meeting and stayed with the kids for 2 hours-like last year, the people in charge didn’t think to chaperone 25 kids who don’t know each other or much English for 2 hours.  Duh.

We have 75% of our kids in country, and hopefully the rest will be here by next week.  So far, we haven’t had any Visa denials like last year’s mess.

EDIT:  Because I hit ‘post’ not ‘save.’

Ooh, were the parents, counselors, and kids PISSED about the CSIET debacle.  Most of them only found out at the weekend meeting.  All of the students wanted to play sports at some point during the year.  I feel bad for everyone except the people who made the decision to drop out of CSIET.

Other than that, Orientation went well.  Most of the kids seem very nice.  (I think I say that annually.)  We have a few potential sluts.  I had to tell one girl to cover up her thong, but I didn’t have to ask any of them to stop touching.  That was encouraging.  Some of the newbies are fluent enough in English to tease already.  This group will have to speak English early, as we have many languages this year.  We have a lot of singles from several countries.  We also have 9 Spanish speakers.  We’ll have to sit on them, but so many people understand Spanish, it’ll be fine. 

We had several extra students this year.  We had former and potential students, as well as host siblings.  Several gay people attended.  By the time the third or fourth one walked by,  Chef asked if we (or me?) attracted gay students.  I hope so.  I told him we welcome everyone, and he finished the thought by saying exchange is a safe, welcoming place for everyone.   Hurray for Chef!



All Coincidences
08-27-08, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, Home | Tags: ,

  Chef, our eldest Chilean son is here visiting for a few weeks.  He’s 27, but some things never change.  (A dear friend always says “Only the names change.”)  In the last week or so, the bathroom door towel bar fell off, Husband’s laptop acquired a virus and also no longer recognizes the charger,  the charger cord is failing, and more.  None of this is anything other than coincidence.
BadLab’s leash fell out of Chef’s hand, too.  Three times!

ETA: I’m sleeping with my Ipod and laptop under my pillow!  Husband’s computer isn’t looking too healthy.  We don’t care about the desktop.



Airport Exchange Student Arrivals
08-19-08, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, Home, Inbounds Inbounds, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: , ,

 I’ve been to the airport four times in five days.  I am NOT going tomorrow. 

One of my inbound students sent an email this afternoon with her flight itinerary.  She’s leaving today, and will arrive tomorrow.  I notified her counselor and the counselor’s secretary.  They notified the host family.  Someone will meet her at the airport, and then I’ll strangle her at our orientation meeting.

I have to take one of my student’s DS-2019 to an outbound student.  It’s the quickest way for the paperwork to get to him since my outbound kids are leaving this weekend.   FES’ US counselor lied (grrrr) about mailing the paper to me, and ducked phone calls for a week and a half.  The poor child won’t be here in time for our orientation.  Let’s hope the Visa is approved, the 2019 was faxed to the consulate.  He has an interview Monday, and should arrive next week. 

Along with the 2019, the students are taking gifts for P for me.  He loves Earl Grey tea, Men’s Health magazine, and Airborne.  It’s the little things everyone misses.  I love fresh raspberry juice, Chef and P bring it up to me.



Exchange Programs & Local High Schools
08-19-08, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags:

  I wrote about The Neighbor Lady in June.  I heard something tonight.  Our local high school has a new policy-they’ll only accept students from my program.  She must have really pissed them off.   We take care of problems, and don’t fight with the teachers and staff.
Lesson-Always make friends with the secretaries because they run everything.