Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hosting for the Czech Republic

My Uncle Karl Allred and his wife Rayma were instrumental in starting the Worldwide Folkfest here in Springville and we had always wanted to host but it had never worked out until now. August 23rd they had a family drop out and called us. Two days later Peter picked up four exhausted boys from Czech.

Martin (20), Radik (16), Lebor (20), and Petr (18) in their new t-shirts we gave them the last day of their visit.
Martin and Lebor play violin, Radik plays clarinet, and Petr is a dancer.
They brought us little gifts from Czech.
A book of photographs, a plate, a bell.
Very cute.

We hiked Stewart Falls one day.

We invited my Uncle Gene, Aunt Sally, and Grandpa Johnson over for a BBQ and little concert in the backyard. The boys were really good.

Martin is currently in medical school and according to Lebor does nothing but study.
He was such a character. We called him "the eating machine" for a reason.

Lebor had a decent sized tattoo of a treble clef on his calf and when I asked him what his mom thought about that he said, "I don't know. I did not ask her."
He says that music is his life and I believe him.
He wore a ring on his neck and I found out he left behind a very cute Czech girlfriend.

First experience with smores. They thought this was very interesting, especially when I showed them how to smoosh them together. "Ahhh--like a sandwich!" they said. Then they would eat like 5 more.
Thankfully the boys ate most anything, but had a special affinity for mayonnaise, which they would spread on their toast like jam. We went through 1 1/2 jars of it while they were here. I was glad that at least it was the light variety.

The host families were invited to learn the dances after a couple of the shows. Sarah and I camped out in the shadows waiting to take the boys home but Petr hunted us out & to my horror pulled me in to dance with him. I had not had anyone but hubby with his hands on my hips in a very long time so I had to get over that--and quick. I was so dizzy when the music stopped I honestly feared I'd fall over. Petr thought it was great fun just beamed at me. HUGE step out of my comfort zone.

Potluck karaoke

We went to the show 4 out of the 5 nights. They were with us for a week and had shows every night they were here. The language was a bit of an issue, but we got by. They all spoke some. As opposed to our Japanese students who would just continually nod even when they didn't know what we were saying the Czech boys looked at us blankly and said something like, "I cannot understand your words."
We had never hosted what I would consider truly European guests before. They were boys with little inhibition and would dress with the door wide open or walk to and from the bathroom in their underwear. We had one room that had a double bed. It took me two days to figure out there were two of them sleeping in there, which I thought was kind of funny, but in reality is just a homophobic American thing anyway I guess. On the last day I insisted that they must do some laundry. I started the machine and stood there willing them to put some clothes in and suddenly Petr is stripping right in front of the washer. I took my exit.
At night I would whine to Peter. "I left something downstairs but I'm afraid to go down there--I need you to go and get it!" That was the time of day they would shower and the door may or may not be shut, a chance I wouldn't take.
I've decided I'm a sheltered girl. Sometimes I wish I could be more comfortable in my own skin (or around other people's) but that just isn't going to happen just now. I still live under the allusion that in order to show skin a person must be flawless.
They were fascinated by all the big trucks out on the road and very interested to find out how much we pay for cars here. Evidently in Czech they cost about twice what they do here.
We have had several people wonder aloud why we would do something like this because of the invasion, the stress, etc. Of course it will be stressful, it always is. You expect that. But it is also a really neat experience.
It isn't for everyone but Peter and I like to expose our kids to other cultures to enlighten them to the fact that there are lots of different kinds of people out there who don't live like we do. You know, to give them the heads up that they are actually living it up pretty good around here! The kids think it is great entertainment and now we have developed new relationships. Creates memories we won't soon forget as well.


Sally said...

I love that you invite these kids to your house! They have so many great experiences staying with you and your family! Thanks for being so generous and for inviting us to be a small part of it! (They were pretty cute!)

Meg said...

Way to step out of your comfort zone! Dancing in public would be a big step out of my zone! I think it's great that you were able to host them - an unforgettable adventure for your whole family, I'm sure!