Can A Japanese Exchange Student Bring Life To A Dream

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It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my Japan dream, but it’s still there, a little on the back burner. A date hasn’t been set yet. I’m hoping for 2010 but it could be 2011.

An opportunity kind of plopped in my lap last week. A mother of my daughter’s friend called to see if my family would like to host a Japanese exchange student for the two week holiday break.  I didn’t really have to think about it: Um, yes? Convincing the rest of the family was what I was worried about.

My Pre-school Halloween Picture

My youngest daughter didn’t hesitate at all with a “YES!”

The oldest was more nonchalant. “Whatever.”

My husband was a little tougher to convince.

“We’d have another teenager (pill) in the house? What if she’s more moody than the one we’ve got? Won’t it be awkward having her here for two weeks?”

I said it’s just an experience. If we don’t like it than we won’t have to do it again.

I personally think it’s a great opportunity to learn a little bit of the Japanese culture, and at the same time, help the student learn about the USA. Plus, we will have a contact when we go to Japan. She can tell us where to go to and what to stay away from. That is, of course, if she can speak enough English!

Even if she can’t, what an experience it will be to have a little bit of “Japan” in our house. Hopefully our crazy family won’t scare her away from America forever;)  It will be a little strange for her to look at my husband and forget that he doesn’t know a thing or word of Japan. Maybe her family can be a host for one of my daughters when they get older.

The group of students will be coming on Dec. 23rd, and the host families will meet them that night. Hopefully, I’ll find out exactly who I get before then so we can communicate with her. The age range is 12-16. We requested someone 13-14.

We will have her for two weeks, and during that time they will have 5 days of classes 9-4. The rest of the time will be spent with us. There are a couple of field trips during the classes that my kids and I can participate in, one of them being SF.

So we’re excited! There will definitely be some adjustments. My youngest daughter will have to give up her room for two weeks, but she doesn’t mind. My 14 year old is not too happy about sharing her room with her sister, but too bad! Christmas might be a little awkward but we’re cutting back on gifts this year anyway.

On another note, we had our 8 Women Dream party on Friday and had all eight of us together in person for the first time! It was a lot of fun seeing everyone. Hopefully we got some good pictures and will post them soon.

Till next week,


(Kim has already accomplished her first big dream by traveling to New York with her teenage daughter June of 2009. She lost 20 pounds and overcame her intense dislike (do we say fear?) of flying to accomplish that dream. She rotated off the blog in February 2010, but still hangs out with 8 Women Dream.  You can find her in the comments section)

  • Kim, the traveler

    Hi Robert, what a great video! Thank you for posting it. Makes me feel a little less apprehensive about the whole thing. I imagine the communication will be tough. But we’re excited.
    Happy Holidays!

  • I thought of you when I came across this on YouTube –

    Happy holidays ladies – Rob

  • Wendy

    I think its great that your getting an exchange student. I always wanted one but never had the room plus my teenage boys did not show any enthusiam when I thought of it. Thanks again for hosting such a wonderful party. It was great meeting your family. Your daughters are so beautiful and talented.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    You look like a China doll in that photograph! How did I miss not leaving a reply here?

    Hmmm … crazy week.

    I know my friend Margaret loved the Japanese sisters who stayed with her one summer. The family invited her and her husband to Japan to stay with them. Margaret said it was the trip of her life.

    So you never know . . .

  • Kim, how exciting! And perfect! Kind of Bridget to give up her room… she’s a sweetheart. Tell your girls and Charlie that I enjoyed meeting them!

    Hope this helps spark more possibilities and is a catalyst for your Japan trip… Perhaps you will end up staying in the home of your exchange student’s family someday!


    p.s. GREAT PARTY – thanks for hosting us in your beautiful home, and sorry we couldn’t stay longer!

  • Kim, the traveler

    Rona, sorry to hear your bad experience. It sounds like he was forced to go by his parents. Probably happens a lot. It’ll be luck of the draw on who we get. There are always bad apples in every culture. Hopefully not too bad so I don’t have to hear “I told you so” from my husband;)

    Remy, my youngest daughter already called the “pit”. lol

  • Remy G

    Kim I think its a wonderful idea! It will be interesting to see if she actually speaks English or not….that may make it a bit more challenging, but fun regardless. What a great experience for your kids too. And she could sleep in the pit! lol Thanks for being a wonderful hostess on Friday, it was a great time for sure. Remy

  • Kim, you’ve probably heard about lasting friendships born on exchanges. If only our family had been so lucky! We got the last kid to sign up for the exchange (bad sign). He showed no interest in learning about our culture. Being French, he thought he was an expert on food, wine…and flirting. Turned out the other kids couldn’t stand this guy, which created some social dilemmas for our son. Toward the very end of this ordeal, I finally told one of the supervising teachers what we were going through. She said, “If I’d only known sooner, I could have done something to help!” You probably won’t need this cautionary tale, but I thought you should have it in your back pocket. Good luck to you, your family and your student.