August 1, 2011

Just like the Heck Family.....We got the dud LOL

     For those of you unfamiliar with ABC's Heck Family, they are the center of the Wednesday nite comedy, the Middle.  Despite a very hectic family life at the encouragement of a church friend they agree to host an exchange student for a week.  After hearing other families rave about all they are learning and doing with their exchange student Mike, the father, eventually decides that their student is a dud.  However they later learn that he has an incredible hidden talent of "fixing" and in true TV style proceeds to fix all of their broken appliances.  THAT is where our differences with the Heck family begins.

     Let me start of by saying we sincerely love our Jana (pronounced Jenna).  She is 14 and her twin, Jane,  is staying with another host family as their parents wanted them separated for the trip.  When we received her bio Jana told us how much she looked forward to learning American Culture, being outdoors, games, music and was hoping her host family would have a non-dangerous dog.  In the language skills section she checked the box indicating her English was at the conversational level, the other choices being basic and fluent.  Apparently there wasn't a box for monosyllabic answers.

Poor Em even the Chinese Students are taller than her :0)
      When we met the bus Friday evening the 30+ Chinese students reflected every bit the 24+ hours of traveling they had done the day before.  We figured she'd be tired and bless her heart she even fell asleep on the very short ride home.  While Michael picked up the Pizza she wanted for dinner Em and Paige settled Jana in; which included introducing her to the puppies.  Jana really wasn't truly prepared for the dogs.  We brought in Mutiny first being the smallest, we actually had to show her how to pet a dog.  Then we let in Treasure.  There is no calm side to Treasure and no matter how much we tried restraining her she simply wanted to make a new friend.  Jana was timid at best while petting Treasure however when Treasure licked her hand we had a situation.  Jana stood up very quickly and held the offended hand out in front, careful to not touch any other part of her body, and announced quite firmly.... I need to wash my hand!!  We could barely contain ourselves with giggles.
    Pizza was not quite what Jana thought it was going to be.  I could tell she didn't like it and explained she didn't have to eat it.  Jana was very concerned about wasting her food, however she was pleasantly pleased to discover that the dogs would be sure nothing was wasted.  She was very entertained as the two scoffed down her nibbled slice.    Through the entire night the only complete sentence we ever heard was "I need to wash my hand"
     Saturday we brought Patrick and Meg home from camp where they had been counsellors.  Camera ever ready Jana seemed to enjoy the ride.  She and Meg seemed to hit it off quickly~thank heavens for that.  When the group of other counsellors came over to meet her, poor Jana was a bit overwhelmed.  This was my first clue that she truly had no idea what a week at our house was going to be like.  We planned a BBQ with some of the Youth from church that evening. Twelve teens eating Hamburgers and Hot Dogs around a table is not the most solemn affair.  They all did their best reaching out to her, every time someone asked a question they all stopped talking and looked at her waiting for an answer.  Despite the question all they ever got was what we've loving called the" moaning and groaning" followed by yes or so-so.
      OK maybe a having a crew over the first night was a  bit much so the next day we scaled the group down to 6.  After taking her to church, which I am proud to say she did her very best to sing along to the songs, we took her bowling.  Here is where we really started to learn how there needed to be another box to check on the language skills section.  You try explaining to someone who is freaked over a dog's kiss that they need to wear shoes worn by countless other people to play a game.  Just getting the right size took about 10 minutes.   I don't think I have ever had so much fun bowling as watching the 5 teens work at getting Jana to have fun. 

     During the week Jana had English school from 7:45-5:30 every day.  The morning was actual classroom time followed by an afternoon activity.  I have no clue if she actually enjoyed any of the activities as our questions usually got the "moan and groan" monosyllabic answer.  Meg accompanied Jana on three of the activities and came home raving about the fun she had.  Leave it to Meg to come off the bus each time laughing with 5 or 6 different Chinese girls.  Jana and her sister stayed to themselves no matter what the event was.  In fact on the last day Meg had them all speaking spanish as they got off the bus. 
     Meg is the reason we jumped into this adventure when our friend from church called.  She would like to be a foreign exchange student her junior year.  With that in mind I have been viewing these 10 days as a learning opportunity.  The one major lesson I have learned so far is this....... SHE WILL BE GOING TO AN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY.

     Tune in tomorrow for..... You can take a horse student to water but you can't make them drink swim.

The Hecks and their foreign exchange student


  1. I loved your post! :)

    What an cool experience to have for your entire family - being a host family! I look forward to reading more about it!

  2. Oh boy, sounds like some culture shock! I wonder if her parents split her and her sister up because they need to socialize.

  3. returning your follow

  4. Hi returning follow from jollyjillys. Loved your blogabd will come back. You can always hop over to the uk and help me with all my sewing lol
    Nice to meet you

  5. Thank you for the new follows.

    @Stephanie... I wrote part two and now can't find it. ACtually thought I had posted it. Oh another stroke moment.

    @TriGirl... I think it was a smarat thing as the two of them whenever together didn't interact with any of the other students.

    @Jilly UK here I come!! We were there last year. My youngest wants to spend her junior year tere as n exchange student and my oldest is hoping to go to the Royal Academy of Music for her masters... so you may not be so happy that you've found me LOL


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