Sunday, July 31, 2005

Feel at home

"I feel sorry for our homestay," Mickey told me yesterday morning. "I know lots of families who have homestays and they have big houses and nice cars."

We have neither. Our old townhouse, though spacious for our family, is smaller than the monstrous homes so common here. I drive a 1991 Honda Accord that has no airconditioning and lacks a visor on the passenger side. When our guest arrived, we had a plumbing problem that got fixed only a week later. (LHB, I was charged only $40/hour.)

Mickey was right in a sense. We are not the ideal homestay host family.

"Well, you know, what is more important is how you treat them. These kids are homesick. They need a caring family more than a big house and a nice car. That is what they will remember more," I said.

I could say that from experience. My first job at the University of the Philippines took me travelling a lot to very depressed areas in the countryside where I did not know anybody and where there were no motels or inns. I had to rely on total strangers to take me in, always through referrals. I sometimes travelled with a team and often by myself. I knew what it meant to be lonely in a strange place where I did not speak the language.

My host families were mostly simple rural folks who lived in very humble homes. I experienced staying in places where there was no running water, electricity, bed, or a normal toilet. But these people had big hearts and treated me like a VIP. It was very humbling because, really, I was a nobody from the big city. But with everything they had, they gave me a haven.

On the other hand, I have been in large, beautiful homes, with a place for everything and everything in its place. It was like stepping onto a page of Metropolitan Home. Or the set of Martha Stewart's TV show. And yet, I felt very uneasy. My movements were calculated. I couldn't wait to be out of the door.

My homestay seems quite comfortable in our house now. He interacts with the family and lingers in the living room. He slurps his food with gusto, which is a compliment to the cook (that's me), and his bedroom is beginning to look like my sons'. He must be feeling at home.

10 comments:

LHB said...

Hi Mrs. Blossoms,

Thanks po for the special mention in this posting. Plumbers must be cheaper in Vancouver. :) :)

It seems I'm not the only one to have stumbled upon your blog. But unlike Steven and you, I don't have any musical talents.

LHB

lerryblossoms said...

oh, you're still reading me :)

LHB said...

i'm your number one fan. :)

no, let's make that no. 5, after your 4 boys.

wait, make it no. 6. although you never mention Mr. Blossoms, he must be up there somewhere.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow. a lot of men posting comments. I'd like to make it clear that my mom's not up for grabs. K thanx. HAHAHA.

LHB said...

the anonymous comment from corvettes is SPAM. shame shame.

lerryblossoms said...

thanks, LHB. who's that in the picture? that color is almost like my walls in the living/dining room and a tad lighter than the mocha treat washroom walls.

lhb said...

Hi Mrs. Blossoms,

That's me in the picture trying to reach the high ceiling with my Long-Handled Brush. I've been doing nothing but painting, painting (besides reading email and blogs) since June that I think I've become so obsessed that I've even taken it as my blog handle.

Do you like the colors of the living room? The sloping ceiling is painted "Navajo White". The final wall color is "Antique Red" on the left half on the fireplace wall. The right half is only primer.

You should see the basement. We have shades of brown like "Mississippi Mud" and shades of yellow like "Sahara Sand". My daughter took an evening course on home decorating before they moved into the house and she had so many crazy ideas. Mine was not to reason why ...

We bought nothing but Behr paints (about $600 total) because they're highly rated by Consumer Reports magazine plus they were on sale at the Home Depot. :) :)

LHB

lerryblossoms said...

is that you? i thought that was your son-in-law :):) i like that shade of red. i have an alcove quite like that. Behr is expensive, isn't it? I used CIL, not sure if that's good enough. I still have to do some painting before summer ends.

lhb said...

No, Behr is not that much more expensive than the others we canvassed. Besides, we figure we won't be painting again for a long while. We had better make it good.

Yes, that's me in my crazy Krispy Kreme hat.

LHB