Our good intentions of posting weekly fell through the cracks of a Summer filled with moving, visiting friends, helping other people move, hosting friends, French Exchange, swim lessons, school prep, BFA summer work weeks, and unpacking from the move (which has taken three weeks so far). The word “move” itself could have its own list of ways it kept us busy.
But I digress.
In July, our son Matt lived with a French family for nine days in order to learn more French. He took French in school last year and when this free opportunity came along, we couldn’t pass it up.
We just finished with our part of the exchange. Hosting sweet P-E (the initials of his first name) for the last nine days.
And boy, was this an adventure! I’m not sure whether we learned more about French culture, his family culture, or his own personality, as they all make a blurry blend of this delightful boy.
Sometimes the differences between he and us were quite stark. Things we find so normal that they take no thought were brand new life lessons (in American living) for him. For example, he felt quite comfortable taking food off of your plate if he wanted it. HA! Likewise, in his family, you eat the main/hot meal at lunch, and a lighter supper around 4pm. His tummy had to adjust to our lighter lunch and later dinner (and snacks in-between to help tide him over).
We also introduced him to S’mores, French toast (funny that it’s called “French” toast), pancakes, eating the hot/main meal at the evening meal instead of the afternoon meal, speedos (he doesn’t have to wear them in France!), and having two younger siblings. In his home, he’s the youngest of older brothers. We taught him how to play Rummikub, Yahtzee, and Guess Who? (since we are a family of board-gamers and not video-gamers).
P-E also made for a great mirror. Having an extra someone in your house can cause you to see your life through their eyes… and that can be wonderful and terrifying.
P-E was great in using the little English he had to communicate. And if he didn’t have English words then he acted it out or used made-up sign language. He was a riot! His giggle is contagious. His improv is on par with Jeremy’s. The two were a nightly dinner improv comedy show. One day I expect to put on some movie or television comedy show and find our little French son humoring the crowd to pieces.
Jeremy and I chuckled to ourselves and said, “We thought God was through using us as “foster” parents but apparently it’s just looking a little differently these days.” And it’s true. It seems our communal hearts open our home to whoever wants to share it with us, if it brings us into closer fellowship and communion with other people. (During the school year we host one to two middle school girls each week). We are so blessed and fortunate to have begun something sweet and beautiful with P-E’s family, a friendship we pray will continue on through the years.