Wry Exchange

Advanced Money Skills
02-26-09, 4:35 am
Filed under: Culture, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: , ,

 I’m collecting money from the students.  Some of the money is for outgoing students fees, and the rest is for a trip.   The outgoing students send their payment in a sealed envelope with return address.  They fold a piece of notebook paper around the check with a note to me.

The trip payments are evenly divided between inbounds and outbounds.  I can tell if the payment is from an American  or foreign student by the back of the envelope.  Inbounds will use odd size envelopes, taped the flap closed, staple the envelope closed, or just not seal it at all.    The return address is either missing or on the back.   My name and address is typically spelled wrong, placed oddly, or missing words.

Most of the inbound students don’t have checking accounts.  I recommend they either buy a money order at the post office or 7-11.    They can give their hostparents money, and have them write a check.  Sounds  reasonable?  More like rare. They refuse to buy money orders.  They just don’t understand them.   I get cash stuffed in an unsealed envelope with no note.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get a return address on the envelope.  No name.   Today I received $100.00 stuffed in a flimsy envelope with no name.   I think 700 or 800 was the most cash one of them ever mailed to me.    

 I can’t believe the money arrives here safely.  One good think about living in the boonies.    The postal carriers all know us,   Wry nolastname,  no street address, Town, and  State get to us.

One of the inbounds was paying online for the big bus trip.  3 emails back and forth about ‘What is my expiration date of my card?’  ‘Where is it?’  ‘What and where is the 3 digit verification code on the back?’  I felt like a human Google.

ETA:  It’s not just them.  Once kids gave checks and cash at an event.  I stuffed them all in my back pocket.  Threw the jeans in the wash without emptying the pockets.  They were packed so tightly that they didn’t shred or fade.


My Little Window Lickers
02-24-09, 12:59 am
Filed under: Exchange Students, Inbounds Inbounds, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: ,

  Exchange students typically have an opportunity to go on a 2-3 week sightseeing trip during their Summer vacation.    If they’re lucky, they’ll go on a few trips. 

The students in Santiago,  Chile have great trips.  They get to go to the South; down to Punta Arenas.  They go North to Arica, and they can go on a third trip to Easter Island.    Students in Europe do something like 10 countries in 15 days.    Students in the USA go to the East or West coasts.

The students know about the trips even before they arrive in country.  Former exchange students tell them about the wild times great scenery.    Volunteers tell them about the trips upon arrival at orientation meetings.

The bus trips may not make money, but you can’t run them at a deficit.  The buses must be filled.  Students have to make reservations, and then pay deposits.  My kids were supposed to pay their deposits by December 31.  

I’ve been talking about the trip and showing photos since August.   I set up a Facebook group with all the info.    I’ve answered questions, and reminded them repeatedly about the deadline.

There were 10 seats open as of February 1.   I asked for a few to be held for my children.  (children is about the nicest word I could use.)   Since yesterday, FOUR of them asked me “How do I sign up for the trip?”   The directions on the website are written in exchange studentese-small words, short sentences. 

They all wanted to know when they had to make the deposit.  I told ’em December 31st.  No one would blame me if I left them somewhere in the Mojave desert.   Yepper, I am chaperoning again.

Rashomon FES-Style
02-20-09, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students | Tags: , , ,

 Common sense isn’t a known exchange student  strength.  I don’t think too many are chess wizards; thinking a few moves ahead just doesn’t happen.

One of the little buggers messed up.  He doesn’t realize any adults back home know.  All of his friends both home and abroad know, and it’s all over Facebook and MySpace.   He hasn’t asked for help from any adults, hasn’tand police are involved. 

I enjoyed reading five different FES accounts of the same event.  Each statement is slightly different to position the writer’s innocence.  I haven’t seen the police report or other witness statements, so I don’t know the final version.   Students from 4 countries are involved.

Several exchange students were at a party with other students. Late at night, a school night, bad part of town, none of their families knew where they were.    A fight broke out. “We” were just standing there, “they” jumped us. “They” started it, but several FESs “didn’t see” who started it. They were inside, not outside. or outside, not inside.    Allegations of theft  vs ‘Oh, no I just looked at it and set it right back down in the same place immediately.’    Maybe some flirting, or was it sexual harassment?    There was alcohol at the party, but I wasn’t drinking, but I think maybe a others had a little. 

I don’t know what’s going to happen.  Right now, the 4 adults from our program are waiting to see what the other program will be able to do with the local  police involvement.  Two of the volunteers in the other country haven’t been informed by our student, either.  Not going to get the benefit of the doubt from anyone.

 Husband and I preach to this kids.  Rule #1  Don’t lie to Wry and Husband.  #2.  If you are in trouble, tell us as soon as possible so we can help. #3 If you lie, and then ask for help, you’re screwed.   If we trust a student not to lie or withhold information from us, we will do everything possible to help.

Google Flu Trends
02-19-09, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Home

 Have you seen this? Google Flu Trends. Google is so imaginative.  You can see how bad the flu is in your state.  They’re about a week ahead of the CDC.

Today Was a Success
02-19-09, 2:53 am
Filed under: Exchange Students, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: , ,

 I rock!  I never say that, I usually bitch and moan.  But today was a great day.   I placed a student in his first choice country.  Sounds like something I do several times a year, no big deal.  

It was special for several reasons.  “Fesland” is super popular, and they typically set their exchanges by January 1.   Fesland isn’t one of my countries;  I don’t know anything about the culture, and have no interest in ever visiting.   Fesland is someone else’s responsibility.   I respected the other volunteer, and trusted her for many years.   She never told me she couldn’t get the kid in, but just assumed the student wouldn’t mind going to Feslandia instead of Fesland.   It’s like if I couldn’t get someone into Mexico, but Canada is still North America, you don’t mind, do you? 

This student is exceptionally well suited for Fesland.   The exchange could’ve been set up in November.  Something seemed ‘off’ to me.  I stepped in to try to place FES.  There are 35 separate programs in Fesland, and I contacted every.single.one.  Today one agreed to host my FES.   I let someone else tell the student. 

Hardly anyone will ever know what I did, or how much work it was.  Husband joked FES better not complain about anything next year.  Hah.  He’s a kid, there will be problems.  But not today.

Exchange Year is Half Over

 Post Suggestion: exchange students time is 1/2 over. or just begining?Comment by tina

Exchange Student Songs
02-14-09, 2:59 am
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students

 Exchange students sing songs.  Adults expect it.   A good song will be meaningful to the students long after they sing it for an adult audience.

These are some suggestions.

  • John Lennon Imagine
  • Green Day Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
  • Sarah MacLachlan  I Will Remember You
  • Vitamin C Graduation (Friends Forever)
  • Louis Armstrong What a Wonderful Life
  • Nickelback Photograph
  • Rent Seasons of Love
  • Michael Jackson We Are The World
  • Disney It’s a Small World
  • Jackson and Miller Let There be Peace on Earth

I’m always looking for a new song for the kids.  Leave a comment if you think of any.  Nothing religious, too long, or too difficult for a group to sing.

This is one of the tamer exchange student songs that’s been around for years.

exchanges exchanges a long way from home
We’re highly obnoxious so leave us alone
we drink when we’re thirsty we drink when we’re dry
we drink to get drunk and then we get high ay ay ay…(chorus)
(chorus)sing sing
exchanges exchanges
we live it up
we live it up
we live it up
we do, so pass some more (tequila/rum/vodka/whiskey–depending on the host country)
host brothers and sisters we like you a lot
we hug you and kiss you until we get hot
host mothers and fathers we like you a bit
but when it comes to our curfews we don’t give a shi…ay ay ay ay(chorus)
my school’s really great as far as I know
the longest I’ve been there’s three days in a row
I flunked all my quizes I failed my exams
and frankly my dear I just don’t give a d– ay ay ay ay(chorus)
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck
I’d swim to the bottom and drink my way up
But the ocean’s not whiskey and I’m not a duck
So let’s go to (Bremen, Hamburg, Munich, insert any other city in host country here) and have a good fu– ay ay ay ay (Chorus)
exchanges, exchanges, a long way from home,
we are hardly disorganized, so leave us alone.
no drinking, no driving, no dating, no grass,
the rotary rules are a pain in the …

ai, ai, ai, ai, sing, sing exchanges.
we live it up, we live it up, we live it up, we do,
so pass the old budweiser!

some day we’ll be doctors, some day engineers,
but until that day we’ll live unto out beers.
we drink to be sober, we drink to survive,
and if you don’t like it, you can just pass us …

by, ai, ai, ai, sing, sing exchanges.
we live it up, we live it up, we live it up, we do,
so pass the old budweiser!

if the ocean was whiskey and i was a duck,
i’d swim to the bottom and drink my way up.
but the ocean’s not whiskey, and i’m not a duck,
so let’s go to jamestown, and have a good …

fy, ai, ai, ai, sing, sing exchanges.
we live it up, we live it up, we live it up, we do,
so pass the old budweiser!