Friday, August 21, 2009

Enjoying our teen-age guests

After a visit to the Marblehead lighthouse and lunch today, my husband will drive our young friends back to Kent and their host families. Monday they begin intensive English classes at University of Akron. I think their English is superb--E. scored the highest in his class--but it isn't sufficient to pass a college class on another topic. We invited another Haitian over to visit with them, and although he is a U.S. citizen and has lived here for 24 years, the boys were much easier for me to understand. But still we had to explain idioms and slang--some of which are so common to us we don't even think of it that way. Imagine trying to explain what a "clunker" is when an automobile ad comes on TV for Obama's program (they love Obama and are thrilled that a black man has been chosen seeing him perhaps in more messianic terms than even American blacks who thought he would pay their mortgage and car loans--they think he'll rescue Haiti!). My son has been on the receiving end of that clunker scam (auto dealership) and has to destroy Jags and Mercedes in that give away sponsored by us taxpayers in the name of a green environment (really just a token for the unions). But I digress. Or watching Judge Judy yell at a defendant, "Do you catch my drift!" TV is both a help and hindrance to learning English. It is loaded with exaggeration and misinformation, people shouting, promising, cajoling, etc. I hope they can learn to filter what they see and hear--many Americans cannot.

E. showed me some of his photos on his digital camera taken the day my husband took them for their first sail. They were excellent--he seems to have a natural eye for composition, something we haven't learned since digital cameras are a bit new for us. I just haven't figured out how to get them from his camera to my laptop cache.

They've been willing to try a few new foods--but are cautious. Teen-agers generally aren't eager to eat the unfamiliar. They both passed on fresh sliced peaches--a real treat for us this time of year--but were eager for bananas which they quicly spread with peanut butter. Last night again they passed on blue berries, but were happy for a bowl of grapes. We had grilled bratwurst, a first for them, but they asked for seconds so that passed. Also, peas was a first, and they cleaned that up. Corn is no problem either, although my husband won't eat that. I fried up some onions and peppers just to top anything that looked unfamiliar, and that they really liked.

When they are bored with old people (my husband will talk them to death), they go in their room and play cards or take a walk. Yes, it's been great fun and we've thoroughly enjoyed their company.

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