Well this was a pleasant surprise...

At the end of last week we found out the the arrangements for an exchange student visiting from Okinawa Japan had fallen through and they were looking for a "new home".

We became that home.

For the next 11 days we will have a "new daughter", she is 16, and her name is Yumika.

Yup, I now have 4 teenage daughters under my roof... the crowd of people who think I am a silly old man continues to grow.

My first thought when I met her was how brave she is, to be thousands of miles from home, away from her family in a house of strangers, and surrounded by people who speak a language she barely understands.

Yesterday we hooked the computer up to our TV, ran Google Earth, and watched her eyes light up when we found her home, her grandparents home, and her school.

They lit up again today when we dangled a live Maine lobster a foot in front of her face.


We have been spending a good deal of time trying to show her our life, our culture, and learn about hers too.

Today she presented us with some beautiful gifts from her home, a small statue of Japanese deities, booklets about her home, chopsticks, and other very cool things.

We are having a great time and are hoping to give her the experience of a lifetime.

(clicking on any image will open it larger and in a new window)

So the point of this post is to share with you something very unexpected and wonderful that has happened to us and to let you know that posting to the blog has the potential of being somewhat sporadic for the next 11 days, so please be patient.


photography by anika alonzo said...

Ah, I remember what it's like to be an exchange student :) About 12 years ago I did my first student exchange to, yes, Wisconsin. Barely spoke any english and everything was extremely weird to me! Crazy Americans... :)

Scott said...

So what was it like, to be in a strange house with strange people, and toss in a language you barely knew?

photography by anika alonzo said...

It's scary, weird, fun, overwhelming, adventurous and very humbling and educating. It's not only the language, it's also the different culture and way of life. But getting to know a differnt country is just so much fun! I was always most interested in the different food :) I'm sure for her it's even cooler, since the japanese culture, food and way of life and the american way probably have nothing in common!
As long as both sides are open to each other, it's gonna be a great experience for all of you :)

gianmarco said...

Tell her form me Yumikasan gambatte kudasai. Eigo o jiosu ni naratte kudasai. I really miss the trhree years I lived in Tokyo

Pam said...

How wonderful!

Galen said...

We were blessed to have several foreign exchange students live with us, including 3 from Japan. One of them, a girl named Michiyo, still comes and visits us 20 years later. We all fell in love with one another 20 years ago and she is, in every sense of the word, my daughter who happens to live in Japan! Enjoy this time - it will be a terrific experience for all of you. And do it again and again!!!! You might even consider a year-long exchange - we did that, too, and it was well worth it!

Mark said...

Excuse me if this question has been asked but, do you know if Yumika's family is OK? Thanks....Mark

Scott said...


They are, thanks for asking.

They live on Okinawa which is about 1,000 miles from Tokyo and even further from the quake area.

Though they are safe from the quake and tsunami my concern for them is the nuclear problem and the long term impact this disaster will have on them and their country.

Funny that you should comment when you did, right about the same time she is landing at home.

Again, thanks for caring enough to ask.