Wednesday, August 17, 2016

cultural exchange, part deux

The past month was pretty busy as four of my aunt Jill's students came to visit from overseas. Our guests were Mark and Danny, and twins Johnny and Wen. Jill herself unfortunately couldn't come due to her stroke, so my parents had to look after them for three and a half weeks. This was no doubt really exhausting. On the other hand, all of us really enjoyed their company.

To let them see what the U.S. was like, we took them on a trip to Reno and Tahoe the day after their arrival. That was lots of fun even though the weather was a bit warm. I had to work during the weekdays, although my parents took them to San Francisco, the Stanford University campus and some local stores.

This was followed by an amazing trip to the Southwest U.S. the week after that. The trip was also exciting even though the temperatures were extremely high. Right after we got home, we went on a field trip to Salinas and Monterey with Henry's film club before going boating the next day.

Last week was also filled with activities as my parents took them to Santa Cruz, the UC Berkeley campus and Villa Montalvo. We also let the twins take classes at an archery range on Friday before going to San Francisco again on Saturday. The day after that, Dad took us to pay respects to my late maternal grandmother Pi-Tan (as the boys were morbidly interested in what cemeteries in the U.S. were like) before going out for ice cream and a hike at the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve.

The boys had such a great time at the archery range that they decided to shoot arrows in our backyard - for three days straight. They had heard that Mom was really good at cooking, so we treated them to dinner at our house twice. Oh yeah, and we also took them out to eat at lots of different restaurants throughout their entire stay.

There was no doubt something for everyone. Johnny says he really enjoyed Grand Canyon and Monterrey. For Wen, doing archery was his favorite part. Danny isn't so much a nature person but loved staying at the townhouse during our visit to Mammoth Lakes. Last but not least, Mark says the highlight of his stay was a tie between visiting Grand Canyon and going swimming.

Yesterday was bittersweet as the boys left the U.S. early this morning. It was really hard to say goodbye to them at the airport. We did so much stuff over the past week that I've lost count. I should mention that the boys gave us some nice presents before their departure. Mark bought me a nice Bluetooth-enabled mouse while the twins got some kitchenware for Mom and a gardening kit for Dad. We truly appreciate their generousity.

The thing about being a tour guide for three and a half weeks is that it can be very taxing, especially considering that Jill wasn't able to come. Though kids in general can be hard to deal with at times, traveling with other people always makes vacations more exciting. I'm going to miss our new friends for sure.

Currently listening to: "Love Me like You Do" by Ellie Goulding

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