Oh noes!

Jul. 7th, 2010 05:17 pm
trystinn: (Obey the Basset)
Today when I picked up Jason, Brandy asked if I could step out of the car and speak with her. I felt like I was getting a ticket, geesh!

Apparently, the kiddos got busted and we've been asked not to let them use the computers anymore. We can allow him to video chat with his parents, but we have to be right there next to him supervising. We've been allowing him to video chat while he was in the living room with us until now and frankly, the biggest concern we've had so far was Jason's tendency to tell each of us that the other did his homework with him! Yes, we fell for this exactly twice. Hey, what can I say, we're new to teen parenting.

Frankly, I don't even want to know what happened. What a wimp, eh? I imagine they've all been video chatting with each other and something was said, someone got upset, etc. So today, Jason is going to get regular farm chores. Whee!

Update: Actually, it was pretty painless. I had him clean out every single water bin, bowl and bottle, the kiddy pool and even grabbed some old, icky food bowls and the like out of the shed coop and had him wash those, too! Woot-woot! We is clean!

Granted, it took twice as long having him do all the gross farm chores around here than it would take me or the Minion. He'll get a few more supervised episodes, then he's gonna do it all by himself. Likely get him all sorted out just in time to send him home!

Meanwhile, I'm plotting to have him paint my shed coop this weekend! Buhawahahahahahaaa!
trystinn: (Bounty is in the eye of the beholder)
I'm foolishly gleeful that Jason finally feels comfortable enough to help himself to food and drink. Just now, he let me know he's out of his juice and the ones we have suck! Well, I'm paraphrasing - what he said was "Oh, noooooooo!"

Last night we went to meet up with friends to watch the firework show downtown on the beach. In 50 degree weather, mind you. At some point, Jason went off with a few friends to check out the merchant stalls and look around. The friends came back without him. Poor Josh was besides himself worrying and couldn't relax. We looked everywhere but couldn't find him, but about an hour and a half after the other kids returned, Jason came back. Oy, teenagers!

Today, we're back to somewhat seasonal weather - which for us is mid-to-high sixties. It's warm enough to have the doors and windows open again. Which I'm very thankful for, my system cannot seem to process the reality that is wearing wool and fleece in July all weekend, then short sleeves on Monday.

A bit of foolishness this morning, as I was offered 36 Silkie eggs for $25. If only my Silkies were old enough to brood eggs! I found a really great commercial incubator for $300 which I cannot afford. I may go in for the $120 home model (yes, with fan and turner). We'll wait and see.
trystinn: (Default)
I've been busting my ass writing a paper for the last two days with a sinus cold, so I've been struggling to keep an even keel. Until tonight that is, when Jason got on video chat with his folks in China. Josh and I had a great time waving hello like loons and grinning like idiots. When I realized he could voice chat via the host site he uses, I fetched him a headset which made him deliriously happy.For the last two hours, he's been curled up in the green leather chair talking with folks via video chat. I suppose I could have told him to take the netbook into his room, but listening to Chinese is fairly soothing.

I couldn't even begin to guess what the time difference is, he doesn't seem to have trouble finding folks to chat with. Meanwhile, Doodle is curled up at his feet, trying to understand what his new best friend is saying as his head tilts from side to side.

All in all, a very relaxing evening if it weren't for the sneezing fits.
trystinn: (Default)
Josh is having the time of his life working with our exchange student. Mornings are a hoot, as Josh gets Jason out the door in time for carpool. You should see all the snacks he brought home from the market for Jason today! I take a quieter role, given Jason is more comfortable with another guy. No worries, Jason and I just work on vocabulary together.

Right now the two of them are sitting next to each other on the sofa, using the Babelfish website to communicate and do homework together.

I'm literally bursting with pride from the other sofa, safely away so my sneezes don't get them sick.
trystinn: (Default)
The exchange program went bowling and since our crossover seats 6, we carpooled several of the kids from the school to the bowling alley. Josh and Jason played 2 sets, by the 2nd Jason is doing really quite good. In fact, it was so good - we got a whole paragraph out of Jason today! He loved bowling, wants to do it again, thank you very much, etc. And we found out that he's a complete chick magnet! He absolutely lights up around girls. Hee hee.

Then after he got home and in the politest way possible, he chewed my ass out for not teaching him more English. :D Silly me, I was letting him get comfortable before we started the pointing game.

So we went around the house, asking if he knew what things were, offering the names (and writing them) when he didn't. The appliances are tough, I'm not sure he has them in China (most don't). Some concepts are tough - the lamp makes light from the bulb. The door has a window made of glass, a glass is also a cup and Mom (me) and Dad (Josh) wear glassES. That one cracked Jason up. It may well have been spectacles in his translator, but I figured we'd stick with simple, common words. Then there's really tough concepts - this is the stove, then there's a wood stove that you put wood IN. Watch, clock, time. That makes no sense. Is it three o'clock, then? or three o'watch?

Paper is a big one - paper in book, newspaper, paper towels, toilet paper.

Then I taught him the really important stuff - BALD. Dad is BALD!

/runs away!
trystinn: (Spiral)
Since I had to work, Josh went to the BBQ with the host family and students. Everyone was talking about using Babelfish to talk with their students, so we decided tonight to put Jason on my netbook so we could have actual conversations. Yes, this is cheating in some regards, but now he has confidence and is actually talking with us. We had a ball holding a taste test of things to pack in his lunch and he was able to make some requests and let us know what he'd like to do while visiting in the U.S.A.

Granted, we're probably breaking some unknown, unwritten rule using the computers, but if it helps him learn English by helping him relax - I'm all for it. He was able to ask me how to get to a site where he can chat via instant message with his uncle, parents and friends back home. Talk about a huge change, his eyes lit up and he's been laughing. Now that he's not feeling so isolated, I think we're going to see a huge change in his enjoyment of the program.

Eureka!

Now, if I could just get Tina's chickens to stop flying into the living room window and startling us half to death! One of them actually made it over the fence, onto the front porch and attacked the front door until Josh went out there. Then she ran back into the yard and has been behaving herself.

Note to self: sell that one ASAP!
trystinn: (Spiral)
Jason is a charming kid, doesn't talk much, so we're following his pattern. Most of that is just the idea that you don't want to overwhelm him with needless chatter. That said, to learn English he needs to hear it. We're learning things like - juice is confusing, fruit water is comprehendable.

Pancakes were a hit, as was maple syrup and butter. He likes coffee with sugar. When he is done eating, he checks his phrase book or digital transmitter and tells us "One is full now, thank you". So we're learning. And glory be, he made his own bed before coming out this morning.

We're grinning like idiots and nodding a lot, Jason likely thinks we're simple. After taking a walk with the dogs this morning, he's more comfortable with them thankfully. He's still surprised that we have so many critters. Jason and Josh have gone to the basketball to play a bit, it's interesting how 2 man games are well known enough they could play easily together without too much explanation.

There's a bit of confusion over laundry. He washed his underwear and socks in the tub, then wanted to line dry them last night. We gave him a hangar with clips since we haven't a clothes line. It just rains too much here for them to be useful. Josh and Kevin will pick up a bathroom clothes line and some clothespins, then get it installed for Jason's use. We're a bit concerned that he may not have brought extra underwear and socks, though. He brought such a small suitcase, about the size of an over-nighter. We'll get it sorted out, though.
trystinn: (Default)
Full moon was lovely last night with Dawn and Heather. It's been so long since we had such a great group of folks to share the evening with. Dawn brought the yummiest wine and cookies, the latter of which Josh forgot to hide so she couldn't take them back home with her.

This morning was spent cleaning the front half of the house, which basically means down on my knees (toe = owe!) scrubbing the baseboards and trim pieces, getting the vacuum hose attachment to all the nook and crannies where the fur likes to hide. Then I scrubbed the kitchen down, while running laundry in between answering homework questions via Blackboard. Josh and Kevin took care of the dump run, vacuumed out my car, power washed the house and sidewalks, then called it a day. Josh was helping me scrub down the windows (what the hell is that scum on the INSIDE?) when the phone rang - so we jumped in the shower to freshen up and headed into town to pick up Jason. From his photographs and his interest sheet, we knew Jason was really into basketball. Why is obvious. The kid is really fricking tall! Somewhere around 5'11. I knew him as soon as I saw him because he towered over everyone else!

It turns out his sister is one of the chaperon/teachers. It was lovely to meet her, thankfully her English is really quite good. She even uses slang. Jason, however, is much better at reading English so we've been writing notes to each other in a notebook all afternoon! He mentioned he wanted beef, so we took him to Applebees (lots of pictures in the menu, very important that). He loves cheeseburgers and fries. Wowsa. Guess I know what we'll be serving him for dinner. We took him to the sports store to buy him a basketball, which he carried around the rest of the day! We took him to one of the bigger Asian market in town where he picked out some familiar snacks. Then to the Commissary to get cereal, sandwich meat, etc. Boy was he ever shocked to see a gallon of milk. When the guys were putting the groceries away (so Jason knew where things were), he held it up and gestured 'why'. Josh pointed to the mini-boxes of cereal Jason picked out at the market and Jason laughed. That's pretty much how we're communicating right now.

Speaking of bringing Jason home, he's really quite over-whelmed with all the critters, especially the dogs. Poor doggies will be staying outside as much as possible during his stay. He smiled at all the chickens, probably thinking we're nuts. He's a city kid!

His room was decked out with his family photos and his letter & questionnaire are in the living room, which made him smile. I wrote up a note about things like helping himself to food, asking questions, letting him know he could use a computer, etc. so he had time to run it through his translator. Seems to work best for now. He's on about 40 minutes of shower time right now, Josh is gonna talk to him about that. Thankfully, those two get along great. Jason let us know he wants to call us Mom & Dad, which is wonderful and he even brought a few gifts - beautiful silk and the most gorgeous fan (paintings of 100s of Kabuki-type characters). Picy goodness tomorrow.

I may be mistaken, but I'm thinking Jason didn't bring a jacket. It's very warm where he's from and I worry he will be cold and not tell us. Josh has pulled out a few older jackets for him, we'll take him shopping for a hoodie or similar later this week.

Tomorrow is the welcome picnic, I imagine he'll disappear to talk to his friends about the crazy folks he's staying with, all the chickens and the nutty dogs. I'm sure we'll be the center of gossip for the entire tour! *yawn*
trystinn: (Spiral)
The Chinese students should arrive into Sea-Tac by noon or thereabouts. If prior experience is any indicator, the flight will be late - it's direct from China, after all. Figure an hour or so through Immigration and Customs (teenagers), then another hour or so to get them organized onto the shuttle then up to Whidbey (another few hours) with a possible fast food stop, so I'm calling it 5pm or thereabouts.

The orientation ladies told us that the teens are expecting host families to have signs bearing their American nicknames and it's something they really look forward to. So I'll be making a JASON sign this morning, complete with sports decorations. They also warned us to be very firmly standing when the kids come running, apparently the kids have knocked over host family members with extreme hugs! As much as I'd love to see a skinny teenager knock over my big guy, it's probably not good for his back.

The plan as it stands now is to take him to the Commissary and the sporting goods shop to get him set up with foods he likes and a few things for his ESL classes (water bottle, lunch bag, etc.) I imagine at that point he'll be really hungry. We're thinking bonfire and brats, but we're flexible. Dawn in her infinite wisdom and generosity have offered a small rice cooker, which I'm thinking will be great for making his lunches, snacks, etc.

We moved our Buddha shrine into the den for Jason. We're figuring, even if he's not Buddhist or particularly religious, perhaps the familiar iconography, etc. will be comforting. We can always move it if it's not his cup of tea.

Still have some cleaning to do (roughly half the kitchen), laundry and the living room. Poor Josh and Kevin have a much harder morning and early afternoon ahead of them: dump run, Home Despot run, hosing down the exterior of the house, small repair in Bunhalla, etc. Not to mention the most important part - vacuuming out my car! Turns out Josh decided to cut a corner and instead of borrowing Kevin's pick up, instead decided to transport a bale of hay in my beautiful Mazda. Much angry Irish wife spewage, one 'come to the path of righteousness' conversation yesterday and hopefully, a husband with a significant amount of fear burgeoning in his heart for abusing my car.

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