“Being around them has made me a more polite person.”
I don’t need to cook, don’t need to do housework, don’t need to drive, and don’t need to swim. Every week I have three days off, which gives me a lot of time to myself. My host family is very polite; being around them has made me a more polite person. They make their home feel like my home. If I am thinking about buying something, (makeup, medicine, clothing etc.) they will give me their opinions and suggestions, it’s very helpful. My host mom also told me that I can eat whatever food I want at home; this makes me feel very warm. They are always willing to give me a ride somewhere, like, taking me to church, the library and shopping. They will also take me to the Chinese Market and Chinese Restaurant! They have never let me overwork. During the time I have spent so far with my host family, I have had very many “Aha!” moments.
About my English abilities, they are very patient and lovely. If I have some English I don’t understand, they will use the phone to translate to Chinese until I understand. This brings me to my first “Aha!” moment. I didn’t know I had trouble making the” V” and “-th” sounds until my host mom told me. She asked me what kind of coffee I wanted, and when I told her “Vanilla Latte” I pronounced it wrong, with a “W” sound at the beginning (multiple times). It was when I took my phone out to translate, that she understood, and taught me the right way to pronounce the “V” sound. The host kids were actually the ones to teach me the correct way to pronounce the “-th” sound!
Learning About Each Other’s Cultures
Another “Aha!” moment was given to me by my host mom. One time in the winter, I saw her video call with her mother in Australia. I saw the grandma wearing summer clothes, and was very confused. I asked my host mom, “Aren’t they cold?” So my host mom explained to me about how the seasons are opposite in Australia, and I literally said “Aha!”. She also went on to teach me about the Australian culture, and also let me try some Australian food.
Another “Aha!” moment with my host family is when my host mom taught me about some airport information. I remember one time I asked my host mom what is different between online check-in and in person. Since she works at the airport, she knows a lot of information about the airplanes and told me if I check-in online, sometimes I can pick my seat or get my boarding pass. She also taught me the other rules, like how much liquid and what kind of electrical devices I can bring. When she told me these things, then I thought to myself, “Wow, AHA”. So I really appreciate my host family, they’ve really taught me a lot!
Usually, if they have cooked food, then my host mom will text me saying that she hopes I can come to eat. This makes me feel respected, and like I’m treated as part of the family. Sometimes if they are very impressed, they will give me bonuses! I chose a weekend au pair class, and they also helped me register. If there are any problems, I feel comfortable talking to my host family about them. They have never put false blame on me. For my holiday she said I can pick any day I want. It’s very flexible. For Christmas I have got presents from the host family and kids, also my host mom hand made a stocking for me, with my favorite character, Hello Kitty on it! They will ask me about the things I like, so when they get me presents, they will give me what I like.
My Host Family made me feel special on my birthday!
For my Birthday, my host mom bought a cake for me and gave me some presents. She also took me to the nail shop, to do my nails! She took me to the Chinese market also. I got to buy a lot of snacks and she paid for me! For birthday dinner, she hand-made me traditional Chinese longevity noodles. For Chinese New Year she made some Chinese food for me. I asked her if she ever made Chinese food before, and she said it was the first time making Chinese food. That really made me very touched. And sometimes if they order some food they will ask me what I want to eat. Since I like to stay home, sometimes they will ask me to go shopping with them. If we go shopping, and there is something I don’t understand, she and the kids LOVE to help me solve these problems.
When I arrived here, I was very surprised at how little darkness there is in the Alaskan summer. Living at the military base makes me feel very safe. Here, I also can often see wild moose and bear. The kids are very warm, if I need some help, they love to help me. Most importantly, I want to be successful someday like them. Sometimes when the host parents are busy, I love to help them take care of the kids. I have taught the kids some Chinese words and songs, and told them about Chinese culture, and made them some Chinese food. I learned a lot from them and I am very appreciative of them, I really think they are the best host family!