My name is Michael and I'm apparently, now, a blogger! As for my host family, it's just me, so no other names to share. I'm a high school teacher in the California desert (near Palm Springs). I am a musician, photographer, world traveler (when finances permit), and I like my computer games (MMORPGs, if you're familiar). I also hike, and love a good film or play when the opportunity presents itself!
I decided to become a host parent after one of my colleagues participated in the program two years ago. This time, when the e-mail came around he was unable, but he forwarded it to me and suggested that I'd be a good fit. Given how many kind people have welcomed me when I travel overseas, I thought that it might be a good way to give back.
Preparing for my student's arrival came in many parts. First I had to make sure the room was acceptable. Normally, I rent that room out so there was no permanent furniture...that changed! I also decided to be a little sneaky and contact my student's parent and asked them questions about what he might like...in doing so, I discovered his favorite American Football team (decorations purchased), his favorite super-hero (a stop at the local comic shop netted me more decorations), and they were kind enough to send photos of them saying good-bye at the airport which I rushed to a local processing store and had them framed and ready on his dresser and nightstand upon his arrival. Thanks to modern technology, we had already spoken via video chat two times before he left his home, so we both had a pretty good idea of each others' personalities and senses of humor. Additionally, since I'm a high school teacher, I know the ins and outs of registration: I had almost everything ready for him when he arrived and his registration was a breeze!
Picking him up from the airport was a little surreal. Meeting this adventurous young man who I'd be caring for over the next ten months seemed like something I'd read in a book...but there I was with a sign and some balloons when he walked into the arrivals area. It was awesome to be met with a smile (albeit a tired one) when he saw the balloons.
There will be more blog posts about what came after, but so far he and I feel as though we've hit the jackpot as we're getting along very well. Despite challenges in day to day life at school and getting acquainted with living in a foreign country, I'm happy to know that he feels safe and welcome in my home!