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Rastagirl
03-11-2009, 09:15 PM
Hi Everyone....

Just wanted to let you know I'll be missing for a few days...our Japanese exchange student arrives tomorrow afternoon. We'll be picking her up from the airport around 3 pm.

I've got a few last minute things to do tomorrow morning, so won't be online...but I'll check in here and there over the next few days when I get a moment. I'll miss you guys...I've come to value all of your support and kind words...I feel like I have friends now!

We're all getting very excited!! My son is so excited he can hardly stand it. This is going to be one of the coolest things I think I've ever done. I am so glad my son talked me into it. So...the house is ready...her bedroom is lovely, all bright pinks and oranges...I bought a beautiful bunch of daffodils and put them in a vase on her dresser and some lovely scented candles on her nightstand...the only thing left to do is wrap her 'welcome' present tonight. Friday night all the host families and visiting students are getting together for an 'American BBQ' potluck.

Everyone take care of yourselves...you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Most Fondly,

Lori :wavey:

sick n tired
03-11-2009, 09:24 PM
Hey Lori,
I hope this exchange student brings with her the culture and excitement that your family is dreaming of and that you all can be the same to her.

mountaindreamer
03-11-2009, 09:30 PM
hooray hooray,

have a blast, and enjoy your new house guest. i will be thinking of the fun you are having....i can't believe the day is already here.

:071:

phyllis

Saysusie
03-12-2009, 11:20 AM
It sounds wonderful and I am loving the excitement I can feel in your posts. Enjoy every single moment and, while we will miss you, I am happy that you will be away because of something so joyous:laugh:

Peace and Blessings
Namaste
Saysusie

DrinkofWtr
03-12-2009, 11:33 AM
Dear Say Susie:

Enjoy!!!

BonusMom
03-12-2009, 12:40 PM
What an exciting time for your family, Lori. This will be an experience the entire family will recall-especially your son.

Your guest room sounds lovely! When your guest leaves, can I come visit?

We'll miss you while you're "away" but will love hearing all about it upon your return.

Angel Oliver
03-12-2009, 02:01 PM
Oh what memories will be made...such excitement. You wont see us all in person...but we will be there right with you to greet her.You enjoy Lori and you will be missed.:You_Rock_Emoticon:.

Love
Angel.xxx

lucky7
03-12-2009, 06:06 PM
Hi Lori!!!!!

The time for some communication challenges is here!! What a neat experience!!! Im really happy for you and your family!

Have Fun!!!!!

Rastagirl
03-14-2009, 06:46 PM
Just popped in to say hi and give a quick update.

First, a Thank You to each of you for your encouragement...Lucky7, Angel, BonusMom, Drinkofwtr, Saysusie, Mountaindreamer, Sickntired....

We are having so much fun with our Japanese guest, Hatsumi. She is the sweetest, most polite girl....she almost cried when I showed her bedroom to her. She took a bunch of pictures of it to show her Mother.

This whole experience has been amazing so far...the first evening after we got home from the airport, we gave her a tour of our house...she kept saying "So Big", and she was absolutely amazed at my pantry and all the food we had. She took pictures of the pantry too. :laugh:

Boy were you right, Lucky7, the communication has been a little slow going....but we're all catching on. She smiles a lot, says OK and gives the thumbs up sign. The first night we took her to a Shari's restaurant, and boy was I glad the menu had pictures. We were struggling to explain what rye bread was, and all of a sudden she reached in her purse and pulled out an electronic translator and handed it to us. We typed in 'rye bread' and it popped up in Japanese. She smiled, said OK and order a Deli Bistro Sandwich with Ham and Turkey. It was all good!!

Oh and Cooper, our golden retriever absolutely adores her...and she loves him...from the moment she stepped in the door and gave him a belly rub, he's been by her side. He follows her around the house, and this morning I was letting her sleep in kind of late to catch up on her sleep, and I caught Cooper sneaking up the stairs just about to push her door open and wake her. I grabbed him just in time. :laugh:

Today, we met up with a few of the other host students and their Japanese guests and we went to Portland Saturday Market. It's an awesome Artists Market in downtown Portland with tons of local artists and food booths. We had elephant ears, bought handmade hammered copper earrings and then took the girls to a few stores in downtown...The Gap, American Eagle, Forever 21, and of course, a candy store with giant lollipops and we rode the MAX lightrail train. They really liked that.

Last, I thought I'd share that Hatsumi brought gifts for each of us in the family...she gave us lovely handmade soup bowls from Japan and special chopsticks for each of us. Then she pulled out a bag with all kinds of food and snacks from Japan and shared that she is going to make us Miso soup one evening for dinner. I can't wait!! :yumyum:

I'll return and post a bit more over the next week...kinda tired now, we spent 4 hours shopping. We'll be taking it easy this evening...watching her favorite movie....Titanic....on the big screen.

Take care, all of you...

Fondly,

Lori

p.s. It's raining today in Portland, so I must put up my umbrella....:umbrella:

sick n tired
03-14-2009, 10:04 PM
Oh my goodness, Rastagirl,

That sounds like a great cultural experience...Miso soup is my favorite. I heard that it is good for you. Will she have tofu in it, I wonder?

So, how long will she be here? Is it just for Spring break or the rest of the school year.

One of my 16 yr old daughter's best friends this year is an exchange student from Korea...she and my 15 year old are learning so much from gi su...

You don't want to overdo it too much so get some good sleep tonight:sleepy:...

Saysusie
03-15-2009, 09:45 AM
Rastagirl;
When we had Japanese exchange students (also two girls), we took lots and lots of pictures of places & things before their arrival and made lots of flash cards with pictures. We used those pictures and flash cards with pictures to help understand their language and to communicate better with them.
We showed them pictures of Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, Universal Studios etc. & asked them to show us which one they wanted to visit on a given day (of course, Disneyland was their first choice).
Anyway, this helped us immensely as they were very eager to learn our language.

Peace and Blessings
Namaste
Saysusie

Angel Oliver
03-15-2009, 11:49 AM
Oh Lori,

I am so happy its going so well.She sounds like such a sweetie. I like this gadget she has to translate...how fab is that. Mine would have in it..chocolate....and more chocolate :) Ah and your dog has taken to her....how lovely. Just dont over do it, make sure you get rest when its needed.Mmmm that soup sounds nice too.
You enjoy yourself and catch up with you soon.

love n gentle Hugs
Angel.xxxx

rob
03-15-2009, 02:42 PM
Enjoy your Guest from Japan Lori. I sent you a PM to say hello. I'm feeling better today. Hope all is well with you, and your visit goes well. Talk to you soon.

Rob

Pretti in Pink
03-15-2009, 03:57 PM
Rastagirl,

An exchange student, how cool! This sounds like a wonderful opprotunity for both her and your family. I think that is so giving and selfless when I hear people opening up their home to exchange students to afford them an opprotunity. Bless you.

mountaindreamer
03-15-2009, 06:37 PM
wow lori,

thanks for the stories....it is fun living this experience with you.

Rastagirl
03-15-2009, 10:01 PM
Thanks all of you for everything....

What a great idea, Saysusie....I'm going to use my camera and also print some pics from the internet...excellent idea to give some choices.

I took Hatsumi with me to the grocery store today and she had a blast...she took pictures all over the store....she couldn't believe how many kinds of cereal choices we had. I experienced a first in my life today....I have now had my picture taken shopping in the grocery store. A picture of me choosing lettuce and tomatoes for our tacos will now be shown in Japan...:laugh:

We also bought Girl Scout cookies, thin mints of course, outside the entrance to Albertson's. We ate some when we got home and she LOVED THEM!!

Take care, all of you.....

Lori

Pretti in Pink
03-16-2009, 05:15 PM
Thin Mints- yes, my favorite. You know I crushed some in some vanilla ice cream last night and it was great, try it.

Continue to have fun as I know this is life changing for her. Again, i think what you are doing is so wonderful.

Rastagirl
03-16-2009, 06:17 PM
Thanks, Pretti....

What a great idea!! I bought some vanilla ice cream for dessert tonight and was going to use Hershey's syrup....now I'm crushing some Thin Mints cookies instead....:cute:

You just added an extra special touch to our spaghetti dinner...

Mmmmm....I can smell the crusty French bread baking now....yum yum...:yumyum:

*Rastagirl pats her stomach and heads for the kitchen*

Later........

Lori :wave:

Angel Oliver
03-16-2009, 06:42 PM
And Angel sits here with a large bowl in hope :):yes:

Rastagirl
03-16-2009, 10:34 PM
There's leftovers.....can we get them to England without melting?

Wish I could, cuz it was absolutely delicious...........mmmmmmmm!

Sorry, Angel, guess you're just gonna have to imagine it. If you give me your address, I can can ship some Girl Scout Thin Mints to you and you can buy the ice cream over there...... lol

Will that work?

Hugs,

Lori

sits_inthe_corner
03-17-2009, 05:43 AM
Hugs Rastagirl,

I'm so glad you've opened your home and you heart to that young lady. What a great experiance to share like that. I'm sure it's a wonder gift for her and you and your family to share these things.

There's so much good that comes from these exchanges.

It's not easy throwing yourself into a completely different culture, I'm sure she feels alot of support and comfort from you family.

How are you doing with your chop stick lessons, :) I lost alot of weight when I used them for three months. Hmmm maybe I should develop a chop stick diet....and go on it again lol.

mountaindreamer
03-17-2009, 05:53 AM
he lori,

i think you have something here....a chop stick diet...should definitely work, especially if we try to eat during a tremor, or after steroid dose.

Angel Oliver
03-17-2009, 12:28 PM
:laugh: Well i imagined it and it was delicious,but you'll have to excuse me eating with my fingers....just could'nt keep flicking the chop sticks across the room :) I will have to learn:huh:

Love
Angel.xxxxx

Rastagirl
03-17-2009, 10:23 PM
Oh Angel...Mountaindreamer....Sits....


:-):-):valentine3:

Thanks, I needed this laugh right now...I just finished a very emotional post to Noodlemom.

You guys are great fun!!

Lori

Angel Oliver
03-18-2009, 06:09 AM
Yes Lori i read it, very powerful and very kind of you to share as i am sure it has helped allot.

Gentle hugs.
Angel.xxx

rob
03-18-2009, 10:07 AM
Thin Mints rule! I also like those chewy coconut tasting ones. Can't remember what they are called.

Rastagirl
03-22-2009, 09:10 PM
Hello Everyone....

I've been missing you all...I want to be on here for more than 5 minutes at a time, especially to respond to all the newbies...but we're keepin' pretty busy with our guest Japanese student. I found a moment so thought I'd share our day's activities for Sunday. This was such a wonderful, fun day....

This morning after a traditional American Sunday breakfast...Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and o.j...we went to our local Asian Grocery store...it's huge...called Uwajimaya and has everything, right down to the amazing fresh fish market. We shopped for the things Hatsumi needed to make us Miso soup for dinner. Her and my son browsed the Japanese bookstore and loaded up on Japanese comics called Manga. We returned home and had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomatoe soup for lunch. Afterwards, we went to downtown Portland to play indoor miniature golf in a course that's in the basement of the Hilton Executive Tower. It's in the dark with blacklights and bright colored sets and it's a pirate/skeleton/caribbean setting. We had a blast!

When we got home, I helped (and watched) Hatsumi make Miso soup from scratch. It was the greatest experience....asking questions, trying to help each other understand ingredients and measurements, learning how to 'taste' the right taste for the perfect soup. We also made tea in my Japanese teapot and sticky white rice, steamed veggies, and my husband cooked us all tenderloin steaks.

I'm not sure if I have the right words to describe the Miso soup...except that it was, handsdown, the BEST I have ever had. And we've been trying it at quite a few different Japanese restaurants in the last few years, both here in Portland and San Francisco and none of them even came close to how perfect hers was. It was so delicious...she used these giant leeks from the Asian grocery and bought a special bottle of soy sauce. Every single drop of that soup was enjoyed! The meal was so relaxing and fun.

Now to finish off the day, my son and Hatsumi are watching a music DVD of her favorite rock group on our big screen projector with good ole' 5.1 surround sound vibrating the windows in the house. :musik39:

All of our days with our guest haven't been this full and busy...today my husband had time to spend with all of us, so we filled the day full. Tomorrow will be a low-key relaxing one. (I added that thought so you all wouldn't worry about me overdoing it...don't worry...I'm pacing myself ) :cute:

I'm off now...just wanted to let you know 'bout the Miso soup and such....

My well wishes to each of you...

Fondly,

Lori :cool2:

Angel Oliver
03-23-2009, 06:18 AM
Lori,

I think her visit is doing you all the world of good.God works in mysterious ways. Its so exciting to read your adventures and learning from each other. You keep enjoying it, you deserve this excitement and joy!!

Love
Angel.xxx

Rastagirl
03-27-2009, 07:06 PM
Rastagirl is back!!

Today was such an emotional day...our Japanese guest, Hatusmi, left today. We took her to the airport at 9 AM and said our goodbyes and took our last pictures with the whole group. Their were many hugs and tears. We all hung around at the gate as they checked thru and waited for one last wave and smile. They headed off to L.A. and Disneyland before their trip home.

My son, daughter and I then drove home and all of us fell asleep all afternoon. We were physically and emotionally drained....but in a good way. When I awoke, the house was quiet and felt very empty. It's so strange to not be running off to the next activity or planning the next dinner out.

Last night, Hatsumi shared a wonderful surprise with us...she disappeared up the stairs to her room for a short time and suddenly appeared in the family room dressed in a traditional Japanese outfit called a Jinn Bei. It is worn by girls and women at their Summer Festival. It was lovely...Maroon with cute little white rabbits all over it.

We count ourselves most fortunate for this wonderful experience and blessed to have made a new friend that is now part of our family. She has impacted each of our lives. We told her anytime she comes to America and Oregon, she is welcome to stay at our home.

I shed one last tear this afternoon as I walked by her now empty bedroom and stood in the doorway...I can still smell the Cupcake Buttercream Frosting hand lotion she bought on our last shopping trip. She insisted I buy some too so we could both smell like cupcakes. :cute:

One memory I will treasure was a special communication between the two of us...one evening after dinner was over, she and I cleared the dishes and then sat at the table across from each other. She brought out a notepad and her translator and we started 'talking'. I asked her if her sister played sports or was she a girly-girl. First she looked up some things on her translator and then wrote on the pad, 'my sister is very mentally retarded person'...then I wrote the words 'Cerebral Palsy' and she checked the translation...she shook her head that she understood. Then I told her my daughter has very mild CP. She shook her head and looked very solemn. She then wrote on the pad that her mom has heart problems and is blind in one eye. I then wrote 'Lupus' on the pad and she checked the translator. She looked up with surprise in her eyes and pointed at me. I shook my head yes. At that moment, we both got up from the table walked around and hugged for a long time. We both were able to communicate our deep feelings with each other with only a few spoken words between us, a notepad and a translator. It was a truly amazing experience.

Thanks to all of you for letting me share...I appreciate all your confidence-boosting encouragement and kind words. You all mean the world to me!

Most Fondly,

Lori :cool2:

P.S. I am now off to get a beer and watch the newest James Bond fim, 'Quantum Solace'. Happy Friday!!

Angel Oliver
03-27-2009, 07:13 PM
Oh Lori,

She sounds like she has touched your heart forever.What a blessing.You have made such lovely memories. I know you will miss her, but just imagine the fantastic stories she can go home and tell her family.The love she got from your family. You have experienced something wonderful. Its been fab reading what you have all been doing.I think this will help you.So lovely Lori.Thanks for letting us in to your world. I could smell the flowers in her bedroom and the cream....i felt like i was there.Except i am still hungry n could murder a beer :)
You just rest up now and have a lovely weekend.
love
Angel.xxxx

mountaindreamer
03-28-2009, 06:29 AM
oh lori,

what a life-altering experience you, Hatsum, and your family have enjoyed. forever, you will probably smile whenever you see or smell a cupcake...what a great memory.

thank you for allowing us to be a part of this special time in your life....now rest, and take care of yourself.