Friday, February 3, 2012

Hobby Horse

Dave and I have been hosting students for almost a year now. We've mostly had students from Japan- ranging in age from 12 - 26. And staying with us for a few days up to a few months. We currently have 2 girls from China, who are 13 years old, staying with us for 2 weeks. It's been an interesting experience, with highs and lows.
Highs have so far consisted of the following:

  • Sweet gifts: handkerchiefs, picture frames, origami, paper, paintings, toys, books, etc. The top shelf of our book shelf is filling up with all sorts of pretty little Asian things. 
  • We have learned interesting phrases and words in other languages. Dave's favorite is probably the Japanese word for McDonald's - "MacanoDanolodo." He likes it so much that sometimes he walks around the house singing it over and over to himself. 
  • We meet and interact with interesting people, who teach us about their cultures and beliefs.
  • We are able to open our home and teach others about who we are and what we believe. We are able to share our own personal values through discussions and simply living our lives.
  • Hearing our student curse in the name of a pop singer when she stepped on a tack. I almost died laughing when I heard her utter the phrase "Oh my Lady Gaga." 
  • Introducing new food to them is great. The looks on their faces when they are trying so hard to be polite, but have no idea what they are about to eat - and then they take a bite and we all relax a bit when they say "It's delicious!"
The lows include the following:
  • When the words "It's delicious" don't come out of their mouths. I always feel so bad, but at the same time so annoyed when students don't like what I've made. Generally all of our students have been great about eating (and at least claiming to enjoy) meals that I've made for them, except for a few exceptions who were less than gracious about our hospitality. 
  • Having to lock the bathroom door.
  • Walking around in my undies isn't an option when we have students. 
  • Attempting to explain complicated words that I've made the mistake of using. Sometimes I just wish I could rewind my words and start conversations over. I tend to dig myself into confusing little pits with my words that Dave has to dig me out of. 
  • Finally, and worst of all: On each application for each new homestay agency they ask several questions, most of which I'm happy to answer. There is one question though, which I can't seem to concoct a reply. The question?

Uurrrrg! I hate that question! 

It's like when people would ask me "What are you up to these days?" right after I had Roly. What do you mean what am I up to? I feed this child 14 times / day. I change his diaper every hour. I'm constantly covered in milk and spit up. I am lucky to get a shower in, let alone, get up to something!

And so, when the question comes up - "What are your hobbies?" Dave, who is usually filling out the form, always writes "crafts," and then he, without fail, says "Ali, What are your hobbies?" And I look at him, with a blank face, and I shrug my shoulders.
I don't know. I don't know what my hobbies are. I've lost all sense of hobbies. I can tell you what I like:

I like the colour green. I like folding laundry when it's fresh out of the dryer. I like icecream... a lot. I like cuddling on the couch. I like to doodle things like leaves and swirls. I like musicals. I like new socks. I like mountains. I like plaid. I like to paint pictures. I like to blog. I like snow. I like it when it's rainy and sunny at the same time. I like puddles. I like table cloths. I like the cello. I like babies. I like going through all the aisles at the grocery store. I like facebook. I like it when Dave giggles. I like to floss my teeth. I like using a straw to drink things. I like to go for bike rides. I like to go for walks along bodies of water. I like to organize things. I like sour cream doughnuts from Tim Hortons. I like cooking new things. I like making the same 3 cookie recipes over and over and over. I like CBC radio. I like paper lanterns. I like maternity jeans. I like it when my car is clean & fuel tank is full. I like earrings. I like chicken noodle soup. I like dancing in the kitchen. I like volleyball. I like to crochet toques. I like to hike up mountains. 

Ok... you get the point. I like things. Also, I do things. I just don't know how to answer the question "What are your hobbies?" Maybe one day I will gain a hobby that's exciting enough to include on a homestay application. Until then I will include "flossing my teeth."

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