By: Joy & Amber
Ten Chinese students visiting Lyndon State College have stayed with host families for nearly three weeks, which builds deep relationships among them. Everyone has different experiences in their host families.
Ella, Daisy and Amber: Linda is like our grandma.
As the end of our journey in America is approaching, Linda asked Meaghan if the girls at her home can stay longer. Ella, Daisy, Amber and Linda are family now though they have been together for only two weeks.
Life is peaceful at their home. They often talk about international affairs, educational problems and differences between China and U.S.; they read and watch movies at night; they have hotpot and spicy chicken wings together.
Daisy said that Linda often asked about their favorite food. The next day, favorite foods would be at the table.
“I’m very glad that you three could stay at my home because, you know, sometimes it’s so quiet to be alone,” said Linda, while she was driving the three girls to school.
“I almost cry when I hear those words,” Amber still remembers that moment clearly.
Ella said she didn’t want to leave Linda alone, only accompanied by a dog. Luckily, they have taught Linda to use WeChat to video call, so it will be easier for them to see each other as these three weeks come to an end.
Joy, Kiki and Enzo: Fast pace, cool experiences.
“This is your first going time to America. I hope this will be the most exciting trip you’ve ever had in your life,” Ben said to Joy, Kiki and Enzo, when they first met.
“He made it,” said Joy after living with Ben for nearly three weeks.
Outdoor activities and cooking fill their spare time. “Ben’s pace of life is so fast that I can hardly follow him in the beginning, but I am used to it now. I think it’s good for me to cultivate habits of saving time,” said Kiki.
Joy, Kiki and Enzo experience many activities for the first time, such as go sliding, skating, rock climbing and bowling. When they went sliding, Ben said he would slide down with Kiki, but he didn’t, so Kiki screamed all the way. Joy sliding down with Ben screamed even louder for Ben only chose the steepest way to slide down, which “was exciting actually”. Later Joy sent a WeChat message that read. “Trusting Ben is terrible, but sliding down with Ben is a disaster” with photos of wet hair and clothes but smiling face.
Getting up at six, Joy and Kiki take turns to make breakfast with the help of Ben. Ben always says “learn by doing”, so he instructs the two girls step by step and lets them make meals in person. The food is diverse every day, like omelettes, hash browns, oat milk, French toast, Mexican casserole, etc. “Every meal seems more delicious because I cook it,” said Joy.
“Ben knows Chinese and Chinese traditional manners, which is different from other host families, so talking and teaching became easier for them,” said Enzo, leader of Chinese students group.
Kiki added, “When I heard Ben saying ‘I will miss you’, I was so moved that I didn’t know what to reply. I really don’t want to leave.”
Winnie and Jane: Sweet couple, sweet family.
Winnie and Jane lived in Brett and Victoria’s house. Brett seems to have unlimited energy. He is good at creating an active atmosphere by singing and dancing, and Victoria always accompanies him around.
“Every day I leave a message on a small whiteboard in their study, and what moves me is that there were some messages they left for me, like ‘Welcome back’, ‘I love you’, ‘I miss you’ these kinds of words,” said Winnie.
Also, Brett says goodnight in Chinese to Winnie and Jane, which make those two girls feel at home.
“We like playing motion sensing game after having supper,” Winnie said that Brett and Victoria were patient to teach them although they were really bad at playing this game.
Maybe because they are a similar age, Jane and Winnie get along with Victoria like friends. They share love stories, experience of makeup and watch The Big Bang Theory together.
“I love living with Winnie and Jane,” Brett said, “not only is it a wonderful experience building relationships with new people, but it has also been an awesome cultural experience.”
The two like explaining the concept of the “American Freestyle” culture to Winnie and Jane, and on the same token, are extremely interested in learning more about Chinese culture.
“We all learn from each other every day, and this experience has certainly opened up our eyes to new and exciting things,” said Ben.
Miranda and Linda: Life is funny and nice with Loren.
“Loren is very cute. She may begin sing and dancing when talking to you,” said Linda.
She also taught Miranda and Linda to say “rabbit, rabbit” before taking on the morning of February first, which may bring good luck to them.
“At first, we didn’t talk too much for we were unfamiliar to each other, but after I twisted my ankle, things changed,” Miranda said. That day Loren took her to hospital and helped her solve the problem of insurance, which meant a lot to the girl. “I still remember that she kneels down on the ground and puts ice on my ankle. What a nice person!”
“Last Wednesday evening she took us to skate even she was tired; she asked as to see beautiful starry sky; she sent me a CD when she found out that I love it,” Miranda said she thanked Loren for her kindness.
Alice: I have a family in America.
Living in Nolan’s home for weeks, Alice has been a part of the family. She calls Nolan dad, and Bridget mom. Their youngest daughter Gabby, 9-year-old girl, treats Alice as an elder sister who often shares Facebook with her.
Alice said the most touched moment was she got the message “I miss you” from Gabby while she was stuck in New York.
Before arriving at Nolan’s home Alice worried a lot, for she is the only Chinese student living here. Soon she finds that they treat her like a family member, not a guest. “My mom share lots of family stories with me and play imitation show with Gabby to make me laugh, and I also do what I can to help. We are like family.”
Bridget said she was blessed to have such a wonderful Chinese daughter.