Wry Exchange

Psycho Hostmoms
04-06-09, 12:49 am
Filed under: Culture, hosting, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

 Lent must be tough this year, or the worldwide recession, or maybe because they can’t find the right color of peeps.   We had a cluster of Psycho Hostmoms™ this week.

One down in Bolivia.  FES has spent all year with HM, and she flipped on him to PHM in the car.   They were driving back from Argentina, and had some problems crossing the border on the Argentine side.  HM mentioned how racist the Argentines are, and it’s just terrible.   FES said well, that Cambas hate Collas, and isn’t that the same?   (Remember, Cambas are the people from Santa Cruz, generally lighter skinned, and with money and education.  Collas are the Indians from La Paz, thought to be poor and not too bright.)   She went into full Psycho, screeching that it was NOT the same,  Bolivians are NOT racist, what is wrong with him? and then she quit talking to him for a few days.  She wants him out of her house.  The kid is actually afraid of her, of what she might do to him.   He is level-headed, with common sense, so I want him moved like yesterday.

Same day, another PHM.   This one made her own problems.   She’s never hosted before, but knew everything.   She started breaking rules immediately.  We had 2 mandatory training sessions for the kids, she didn’t bring, something else was more important-school dance.    She spoiled the kid rotten, making the other FESs jealous.  No, not all host families take the kids to Disney for Christmas, paying for everything, buying all her clothing and shoes, never saying no, giving her everything, while her child had to follow the rules.     Well, the girl had a problem, and PHM screamed to get the kid out of her house.  She was really pissed at me when I said she could NOT put the girl on a plane.  That she is not the legal guardian and doesn’t have the right to ship her home.  The girl did something stupid, but not termination worthy.  She bought a hookah, charcoal, and tobacco while visiting relatives.   Mom called the police to come inspect it because she thought it was drugs.  Didn’t ask the kid, didn’t ask her husband, just the police.   Didn’t just take it away from her,  didn’t pitch the tobacco, called the police because it looked suspicious.  I found another family, and the girl should be able to live out her time here in peace, if not luxury anymore.


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.

Stupid Foreigner Commercials
12-11-08, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags:

 Did you see the Folger’s coffee commercial?  The nice American aid worker receives a holiday care package in Romania. Inside the rather small box is a huge plastic container of Folger’s coffee. He MacGyvers a coffee pot, and shows the poor backward foreigners the absolute joy of watery coffee. Who knew Romanians never heard of coffee?

The first stupid foreigner one I saw was Whopper Virgins from Burger King.  Poor villagers from Thailand, Greenland, and Romania are shown taste testing Whoppers and McDonald’s burgers.   Apparently, these simple folk don’t even have a word for burger, and have never eaten a burger. 

Why pick on the Romanians?   The Transylvanians should capitalize on their new notoriety with Vlad kebabs and Dracul sunglasses.  At least they’d keep the money in their own country.

I’m Alive. Happy Thanksgiving
11-28-08, 12:18 am
Filed under: Culture, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: ,

  Hi.  Miss me?  I was appointed as our outgoing students’ coordinator last month.  We held their interviews this weekend. We interviewed 30, and I think all but 3 will be accepted.   In that month, I set a date, time, and location for interviews.  I rounded up 35 people to interview the potentials, and a few other people to assist with registration.  I had to set up an email list for the volunteers from scratch, and try to help our current students abroad.  All without losing my sanity.

I’m out of the habit of writing now.  I must start again.  I’ve been answering emails from students around the world.  This is a hard time of year for FESs.   In the Southern Hemisphere, students are graduating, and they’re on Summer break.   Up North, the days are short.  Most students are homesick and a bit lost this time of year.  If you know a FES, give her a hug.

I sent quick notes to my kids.  One was watching the Macy’s parade on her laptop.  Her family turned their webcam to the TV.  Several shopped for traditional Thanksgiving ingredients to cook for their host families.  In many places, that’s not an easy task.  Some of the lucky ones went to group Thanksgiving dinners for FESs and expats.  Last year, I had to buy a pyrex pie plate to make pumpkin pie.  I brought the canned pumpkin with me to Bolivia.  In the past, I’ve made chocolate chip cookies without a cookie sheet-we used some type of drip pan for the broiler.  We’ve made brownies in iron skillets.   They may not be pretty, but when you’re far from home, chocolate tastes GOOD.

11-14-08, 2:30 am
Filed under: Home | Tags:

 If you left a comment in the last 3-4 days, I may have deleted it.   I had 577 Spam comments, and just deleted all of them.  It’s never happened before with WordPress, and I hope it’s a one time only problem.

Sarah Palin’s Clothing
10-21-08, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: ,

 The Republican National Committee spent over $150,000 on clothing, makeup, and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family.  They must not have used a personal shopper.  I can’t see a professional stylist choosing that trashy red leather jacket or the black patent hooker boots.  

I want to see outrage from people who donated to the RNC and from the people who yapped about Democrats’ haircuts and clothing.

Granpa Munster
10-16-08, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: ,

 Reuters photo by Jim Bourg.

I will never vote for someone who puts “women’s health” in air quotes.  Bite me, old man.