From Amazing Journey, Amazing Grace
Getting rejected by the homestay coordinators at all three universities in Seattle left me very disappointed. I tried not to fret, but in spite of my efforts to remain calm, I felt my anxiety level rising. I tried not to worry about my dwindling bank account.
A few weeks later, my sister’s son, who had recently moved to our area, came over for Saturday lunch. It was good to see him again and we lingered at the kitchen table, visiting well into the afternoon. The doorbell interrupted our conversation. Who could that be? I wasn’t expecting anyone.
Two women I had never seen before stood on the porch. “We’re not Avon ladies,” they assured me. “We are helping the homestay coordinator at the English Language Institute in Seattle and wondered if you would be interested in hosting a student from Japan.
I had all but given up on the idea of hosting international students, and now here were two strangers at my front door asking me to consider it! I’m sure my mouth hung open with surprise! Finally I found my voice and said, “Why yes. Yes, I am interested. But how did you know? How did you get my address?”
“We didn’t,” they replied. “We only know the family up at the end of the block who told us the families on this street are all very nice people. So we are going door-to-door in hopes of finding enough families to help us, because we have 25 Japanese students coming next week and we are desperate for families to house them!”
[note to reader: the neighbor they knew at the end of the block was not the same neighbor who had suggested I look into hosting!]
“Please come in,” I invited. I showed them my available room and they were ecstatic. I forced myself to remain calm. I didn’t want to get my hopes up yet. I figured they would have the same problem with the long bus commute as had the three university homestay coordinators, so I leveled with them.
“I applied to become a host family at all three universities in Seattle,” I said, “but they all rejected me because of the long bus commute.”
“Oh, but our school is a private language school and it’s conveniently located in downtown Seattle. We know there is an express commuter bus from here to downtown and the commute is only 45 minutes!”
Wow! I could be a host mother after all! I exhaled with relief. “Oh, God,” I prayed silently, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!”
My first student was Motoi, a high school English teacher. He knew English well, but wanted the opportunity to ‘speak with the natives,’ learn the culture and take pictures of America. He wanted to improve his teaching of English in his classroom in Japan.
Motoi was a delight! He was eager to talk, eager to experience our food, our culture, our city, and eager to share his country in return. The month passed all too quickly! Hosting was enjoyable! I was hooked! I was ready for more!
Motoi had never been this close to a racoon before.
Now, what do you think? Was it coincidence that brought those two strangers to my door? A mere chance? A stroke of good luck? The perfect alignment of the stars? A lucky fluke?
To be continued.