Monday, August 09, 2010

Thank Goodness for Exchange Students!

I finally have a moment to catch my breath, and post. About two and a half months ago my family and I agreed to host an exchange student from Brazil for the entire school year, and he will be here this Saturday!

I have a tendency to tolerate dilapidation and primitiveness, so I had about 13 years of home repairs that could not be ignored any longer. Over the last few weeks I have been painting the house, patching holes in the plaster, fixing broken interior wooden stairs, patching exterior concrete stairs, replacing screens ripped out in the hail storm of 2001, finishing a 3 year old bathroom tile project, finishing a 5 year old shelving project, finishing a 10 year old wallpaper project, repairing ragged wallpaper from an ancient roof leak (pre-us owning the house), trimming the bedroom doors (the previous owners put in new doors but didn't bother trimming them, and neither did we), cleaning the basement (because we needed storage and tools for all that fixing), putting up more shelving, fixing a dresser salvaged from the neighbor's garage (he said that it fell off a truck while his son was moving it and he was using it as a tool box since it was in too rough of shape for clothes after that - not anymore!), sorting through all our old boxes of things (trying to figure out either why we still have it or where the hell we will put it while our exchange student is here), and, of course, cleaning cleaning CLEANING!!!

I am happy to say that we are in the home stretch of preparing the house. I feel much better about offering this more improved house as a home to this young man coming all the way to the US for the first time. And I have to say that as an added benefit, I am enjoying the house much more myself. Some of it was so simple that I really wonder why we waited so long.


Anonymous stuporglue | The Fridley Farmer said...

That's exciting!

I was an exchange student to Brazil for a year and having good host families was an important part of the experience.

Good luck with being a host family! Between my experience and watching my parents host several students through the years I can say it's a challenge that's usually satisfying in the end.

Feel free to hit me up with any questions about Brazil, even if it's "Is this a normal Brazilian thing for him to be doing or what?". :-)

8/10/2010 12:16 AM  
Blogger meemsnyc said...

How fun to be able to host a student! You did so much work to get the house ready. Impressive!

8/10/2010 1:12 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Fridley Farmer, you lived in Brazil? That is just great! I was hoping that I could find someone that I could mine for information :) My first question is: is the summer climate (ie: heat/humidity) similar in Brazil as the upper Mississippi River corridor (ie - Twin Cities area)?

Meemsync, I really wish that we had done some of the work years ago instead of waiting so long. We could have enjoyed the finished product longer, AND we wouldn't have had so much work to do over the last few weeks!!

8/10/2010 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Michael Moore | The Fridley Farmer said...

Brazil's climate is very diverse. The northern tip crosses the equator, the southern tip gets snow regularly.

I spent most of my time in the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo. Both of those states are slightly warmer and slightly dryer than Minnesota. In the winter it would get down to the 50s and in the summers up to 110. Typical summer temps were probably in the 80s and 90s.

What area is your student from?

You can email me at if you like.

8/10/2010 8:11 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

well that's a nice reason to get things together! I hope you have a nice experience. My sister was an exchange student for a year in New Zealand many many years ago and considers them part of her family.

I coordinated a 3 week program one summer. From my perspective, not too fun, but we did host a student for 1 of the 2 weeks. That was super fun. We also later went to Barcelona to visit him. I hope you have a great experience!

8/10/2010 10:55 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Fridley Farmer, he will be coming from Sao Paulo. Thanks for the email. I will keep it handy.

Wendy, I was an exchange student to Costa Rica for a summer in high school. That was great; I still talk about it - of course ;) I'm both looking forward to that possibility that he will become like part of the family , and not - because then he will be going so far away!

8/11/2010 8:38 AM  
Blogger Annelie said...

I feel so good, for you.
Can imagine how good it must feel right about now.
I get like that before my parents come to visit.
It's like we need a little motivation sometimes.

8/11/2010 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Ueda said...

Awesome, glad you're able to get so much done before you new host guest arrives. You'll feel more relaxed and will really be able to enjoy the experience. Happy hosting!

8/11/2010 5:44 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Annelie, exactly, what else was going to make me do it when I had so many other perfectly good options... like gardening :)

Lisa, I am done with home improvement projects and now it's on with the straightening up! I was hoping to have a day to relax before he arrives, but it's not looking good.

8/12/2010 6:10 PM  
Blogger primrozie said...

My kitchen sink cabinet never got its trim and now we're replacing the whole thing 20 years later. I know from where you speak ;D

We have about 10 other unfinished projects around here. Maybe you have given me some motivation here!

8/28/2010 9:16 AM  
Blogger Pam's English Garden said...

Hello Sylvana, The only way anything gets done around here is if we are expecting company. You must feel great now you have accomplished so much. Enjoy your guest! Pam

8/31/2010 9:15 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Primrozie, that definitely sounds like us. I never finished painting my house 15 years ago, and now it is time to start all over again! Maybe you just need to get an exchange student?

Pam's English Garden, my house feels so much more livable. Now if I can just get my guys to help keep it that way.

9/12/2010 5:34 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home