It Must Be the Million-and-Oneth Year
Four years ago (so, pre-blog) we hosted an exchange student for a year. The plan had been to host a French-speaking young woman, but the one we had chosen decided to postpone her trip for a year. Because we had already been vetted, and our two girls were excited, and the organization was desperate (although they always seem to be just before the start of a school year), they talked us into hosting a German-speaker.
The year wasn’t horrendous, by any means, but I was certainly happy to see the end arrive, and I did come out of it having learned certain lessons, namely:
- If you have yet to experience the joy which is living with a moody teen, don’t host an exchange student (it’s hard enough not wringing their necks when they are your own flesh and blood).
- Corollary: Don’t host an exchange student if you don’t have a high-schooler. Otherwise you won’t be able to introduce your exchange student to all the cool things that go on as part of the high-school experience, because you won’t know about them.
- If the student comes from a difficult family situation (mother clinically depressed, father having moved out 5 years before to start a new life with his girlfriend and their 11-year-old daughter [yep, do the math]), don’t think you’ll be able to become this kid’s friend or mentor — they won’t trust anyone.
- Lastly, mothers are terribly observant: no matter how subtle you think you’re being with your obvious disdain for one of the family members, the mother will be able to tell, and she will. never. ever. forget.
No sooner had we gotten settled back home last month than the girls started campaigning for another exchange student. Impera argued that she was in high school now, so, according to my lessons, we could host one now (true, but I would prefer it if we waited until both girls were in high school). I countered with the fact that our two girls would have to share a room so that the exchange student could have their own room. No problem, they replied. (??? – this from the girl who, when told that her sister would need to sleep in the spare bed in her room if a guest came calling, said she’d rather decamp to the office futon so as to remain in a separate room from her sister!)
It is early yet, so they haven’t been pushing hard, they just bring it up at random times. On Sunday evening, as we were eating out at a nearby restaurant, the girls brought it up again (and when I say “the girls”, I mean Impera, with Trixie playing the supportive cheerleader role to any point voiced by her older sister). The Consort and I have been handling these by being mostly noncommittal, but noting the points of contention we could see arising from having another exchange student (and when I say “we”, I mean me, with the Consort throwing in a supportive “mmm-hmm” when I make a particularly good counter-argument).
At this point, both sides are pretty much repeating what has been said before. It’s all in good-natured fun, because no decision has really been made (because it’s early yet). We all can expect what point will be brought up next — we have a good groove going. The thing about grooves, is, though, sometimes you find yourself out of it, with no warning at all.
“… We could host a boy!”
“I’ve always wanted a big brother!”
Great oogly moogly — neither the Consort nor I were expecting that. At. All.
Luckily, our food arrived at this point.
We still haven’t discussed it beyond that brief conversation. Because dang it, it’s early yet! But now a whole nother layer of chaos has been added to the equation. A boy? I’m barely keeping my feet beneath me with a teen girl in the house. A boy? I don’t know how to care for one, I never had one; I just know that teen boys have big feet. A boy? That just — it would — I have too vivid an imagination.