Several years ago we had the extreme privilege of becoming a Host Family for a foreign exchange student, Chen Chien Ming, or Sam as we called him. He was supposed to only be with us for 1 month, but things changed. Him and about 25 other students cam to the midwest to acclimate themselves to our American culture before heading out to a new home for the school year. Long story short, we fell in love with him and him with us and he ended up being here for 10+ months.
Sam is from Taipei Taiwan. He is the youngest of 3 children, having two older sisters who attended college in the United States. His family owns an iron business and had sent him here to learn the language so he could go back to Taiwan and become successful in the business world.
Sam knew very little english when he arrived, but slowly learned our complicated language. During that first month when kids from all over the world were all living in our small town acclimating to our way of doing things, we were fortunate enough to host several impromptu dinners. Our kitchen table was like the United Nations, Gau from Thailand, Luic from France, Michael from Germany, Uki, Hitomi, and several other girls from Japan and China. We had the best time, they all LOVED eating food from all over the world, Italian, Mexican, and of course American. Most of them told me that in their homes, their mothers only cooked food from their countries, which I found interesting.
Like I said Sam and several other kids ended up staying locally for the entire school year. It was an amazing experience for our entire family. I honestly believe that if everyone got to experience this the world would be a much happier and more peaceful place to live.
Sam taught us patience, a new found love of Chinese food, and a love that will last forever. We taught him how to show your feelings, and say I love you. His mom didn't cry or hug him when he left for what started out to be a year, and after deciding to attend college in Canada, ended up to be about 6 years. He said he knew his parents loved him, but they had never said it before, amazing! He now says I love you everytime I talk to him! We also taught him how to leave the books on occasion and just have FUN!
Sam has not lived here for over 5 years now, but when given the choice of going anywhere in the world on vacation has come back to see us twice! We talk via email and IM often. He graduated from college and is nowing living back in Taiwan, doing his mandatory 1 year in the armed forces, he is a proud Marine. We are proud of him and are considering his father's generous offer of having us visit them, maybe for his wedding someday!
If you and your family have the opportunity to be a host family, do not hesitate, what it costs your family will be paid back in triplicate!
I didn't give birth to him, but he is my son non the less!
Here is a pic of my three children, PS, Sam in the one on the right!
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