As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Last Friday, we went to the Harrisburg International Airport to pick up the exchange student that we’d been waiting for! This past week has been a bit of a whirlwind for our family, but I wanted to document it for several reasons:
- Like all other things that a parent thinks they will remember, I know that there’s so much I will forget about this experience if I don’t document it.
- Even though his parents don’t speak English, I want them to be able to see these posts on my blog and know that their son is being well cared for, loved, and enjoying his time in the United States.
- I want those who are reading these posts to see that hosting a foreign exchange student is something anyone could do. Hopefully more families will consider this opportunity!
We spent Saturday at home because we were all working on very little sleep. We hadn’t gotten home from the airport ’til about
Saturday evening, we were invited to fellowship with a local friend who also welcomed an exchange student into her home. She was hosting a welcome event for him. There were lots of kids there from the school that Thi will be attending, so it was a nice opportunity to meet some new friends. He also experience his first hamburger! He said he liked it.
Thi had his first experience with church on Sunday morning. He said he really liked it, especially the music. It was a special Sunday as Gracie joined the church. This coming Sunday, he’ll have more new church experiences as well (but you’ll have to come back next week to learn what they are!)
Sunday afternoon, we had lunch with my parents, who were anxious to meet the new addition to the family. My mom ordered pizza, which Thi said he didn’t like. I told him that he needed to try it. Turns out he DOES like pizza! He ate 3-4 slices!
On Monday, I decided to take the kids to Harrisburg. My goal was to take Thi to the Asian Market because I knew he wanted to shop for some foods to prepare a traditional Vietnamese meal for us. However, the market I knew of was closed (until further notice, and it didn’t look like that would be ever!) So, we went in search of a Vietnamese restaurant to eat lunch at and came across Pho La Vie. We all really loved our food here – it was an amazing lunch! We also really enjoyed talking to the owner of the restaurant who lives in Vietnam half the year. We’ll definitely go back.
After lunch, we went to visit Brian at work, then headed to Hershey for some quick outlet shopping (can you believe we left there without spending a cent?!) and a trip to the Chocolate Factory. A trip to PA isn’t complete without visiting this local favorite, so we are breaking him in well!
After keeping him awake the entire day in the car, he slept much better that night! Getting on PA time with an 11-hour time difference is an interesting challenge. (I’ve done it twice, so I know!)
On Tuesday, Thi cooked supper for us. It took a bit longer than he anticipated, but we finally sat down to experience Pho for the first time. There were mixed reviews! (He even enlisted Ian’s help with the cooking! Maybe he can share his recipe(s) with Ian so we can continue to enjoy Vietnamese cooking after he leaves us to go home.
On Wednesday afternoon, we were able to take Thi to a cool little local restaurant to experience hand-dipped ice cream for the first time. We even invited some friends along, so he was able to meet one of the young men who will be a classmate in school this year. He said our ice cream is much better than the ice cream in Vietnam (which, he said, melts much faster). Honestly, I’m not surprised!
Thursday morning we took Thi to have his yearbook photos taken. He has a beautiful custom-made suit that he wore. I’m excited to get the proofs and see which ones he selects for the yearbook. He has a million dollar smile, so the pictures were all amazing!
Thursday evening, Ian decided it was time that he learn some lessons in mowing the grass!
In addition to the above, the boys have been enjoying going to the park in our town to shoot baskets (one day they even met up with some friends) and to run on the track. Thi is quite into fitness, and Ian is enjoying having someone to do things with. Hopefully they will continue to enjoy being brothers as the time passes.
School in our area doesn’t start until after Labor Day, so we still have two weeks to introduce him to new experiences before he has to start into a routine.