Introduction to Pizza

Day 6 was interesting.  I had to pick up my wife and oldest son at the airport so I had to have a friend of ours pick up our excchange student. He knew the people he was going with so it  wasn’t a problem. After gathering all my children we went out for some American pizza and garlic butter rolls that he thougth were very good.

When the pizza came he was amazed at how half had the pepperoni and the other half did not. We did learn that plain cheese pizza is called margarita in Russia. We explained what that was in American as he enjoyed his pizza. He really felt the heaviness of the pizza after eating about half  of  his second piece.   He enjoyed the taste but he filled up quickly.

After dinner we went through some of the shops at the location called John’s Pass where we ate our dinner. I believe he enjoyed the shops of  beachy nick nacks as he reviewed the alligator heads and shark teeth collections.  It is amazing how these type of shops blend into the woodword when you live in the area. What if we took some time to “see” these places again in our local area.  All we need to do is stop and take a small amount of time, perhaps a couple of hours to go out and enjoy our surroundings.

I believe this experience is helping me and my family to realize to fun and exciting things we have right around us to discover, do and have fun with.

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More American Activities

Day 5 involved more activities. These activities included kayaking, biking and beach time. In Florida there is not much you can do without beach time.

The students went to Ft. Desoto in St. Petersburg, FL. This county park offers biking trails, a historic fort and miles of award-winning beaches to visit.  They seemed to get a full day as many of the students looked pretty tired coming of the bus in the evening.  Our student enjoyed the activities and park.

I made ribs for dinner with macaroni and cheese. I think our student belongs in “the clean plate club”. Nothing much is ever left on his plate. Of course as a 14-year-old boy I wouldn’t expect anything to be left on the plate.  we talked about different things at dinner, one of which was “Larry the Cable Guy”. I tried to explain he is a comedian and note his catch phrase “Gettr Done”  but our student didn’t know “this Getter Done” phrase.  Looks like Larry the cable guy will need to get to Russia.

After dinner, we tried our hand at fishing. I pulled in a minute yellow fin and he laughed at me.  The rest of the evening entailed some video games and laughter.

I must say, I really enjoy this experience and so do my boys. My youngest looks forward to him coming home from school and he makes the effort to sit with him a bit and play a game or converse.  Perhaps we can all learn something from this concept.

Our society goes at such a ridiculous pace we forget to slow down and converse with each other. In our society of texting, instant messaging etc., we forget how to talk to one another. I am guilty as charged. I was checking work e-mail when I am supposed to be on vacation and I was at the beach.  Not good. We need to take our relaxation time  when we can get it.

Stay tuned for Day 6 adventures as my oldest gets back from hitting a solo home run in the Dizzy Dean World Series game.

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American slow down day

Day 4 with our exchange student was a bit slower.  He went to his class in the morning, then we met him at the American institution of bowling.  I found it interesting that the senior league was just finishing and then 140 foreigners showed up to bowl.

Now for the life of me I don’t understand why they keep bowling alleys so blasted cold.  You could have hung meat in this bowling alley. 

I did notice how all the kids did seem to enjoy their games. the Hong Kong kids really are social at these type of events. They were laughing, cheering each other on and having  a good time. Several other groups were as well. My kids however, if they weren’t doing very well, they wanted to get upset. I had to step in and throw a few balls to help one of my boys out.  No bumpers make a difference.

After bowling we came back home to cook hot dogs, tater tots and brownies. describing these was interesting but the message came across better with the help of the Betty Crocker” box. Chocolate is chocolate all around the world. Our student was not familiar with tater tots, but did really enjoy them.

After our eating endeavors we walked our dogs. Our exchange student enjoyed the challenge of one dog that pulls the whole time he is walked. He was amazed that the dogs knew the route and the way home.  As we talked he said he enjoys speaking English but some of the terms are hard to understand. Have you ever tried to explain what slang is?  Our language is one of the hardest to learn in the world because of our jargon and dialects.

If this is what a foreigner says about our country what are our fellow AMerican’s saying about how we communicate?  I know we can do better. We can look at what we are trying to say from a foreigners perspective to see if it makes sense or can be understood.

Sat tuned for day 5.

How Can I Help You?


American Activities

Day 4 with our exchange student went very well. We went out and spent some time in the Florida heat at a lake in Lutz. We had the opportunity to jet ski swim and enjoy the outdoors. Thankfully, the house we were at had some shade trees and the breeze would kick up to keep the heat down a bit.

Our exchange student definitely likes to swim.  He spent a lot of time in the pool with two of my boys as well as some time jet skiing.  He enjoyed the pool water more because it was cooler. He gets along with all the boys he has met. Even a boy from England that was at my friend’s house.

When we came home, he mentioned that he would like to try “this game baseball” so some of us got together to show our exchange students how we play baseball. We showed the exchange students how to hit off a tee, play the field for defensive plays as well as bat.  Our exchange students even tried their hands at pitching which they were pretty good at for their first time playing baseball.

While on first base, I think our exchange student figured out very quickly that you need to keep the baseball glove in place when the ball is thrown to first. A ball that tipped off the glove then off the leg and the stomach was surprising. No injuries which is always good. I found it interesting that they had not seen this game in Russia and that he thought we would need to tag the running every time.  He will be going to a Rays game next week and will be able to see the professional level of play.  That experience will be good for those that have not seen this game.

After a full day of outdoor activities, all the boys fell asleep pretty easily last night.

This experience gives us a opportunity to see how we do things that we may take for granted. It also allows insight as to what our lives are like from a different perspective.

Stayed tuned for Day 5 update as we go bowling.

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X-Box – An International Langauge

Day two and three of our adventure with our foreign exchange student have been great. He is a very well-mannered boy who will eat just about anything but broccoli.

I find it interesting that even Russia, boys have about as much to say as American boys when you ask open-ended questions like “how was your day”? they respond with single word answers like good or fine.  Not to mention, that if they see an X-box or Wii console they can pick up a control and run the game like an expert. No translation needed. I think this helped to bring him even closer to my sons as he does like to play these games even on a PC and shows my sons some interesting things about the games. Not to mention he is good at put-put golf. Consistently hitting the ball in with two strokes.

We got away from the games on Saturday and spent some time at a picnic and introduced him to American football. In Russia he plays football as well, we just call it soccer.  He showed a lot of good footwork to my sons and can  run and  catch a few good passes for touchdown’s in American football. the real trick of our small game in the Florida heat was catching the Hong Kong boy who could run like a deer on fire. the boy was quick!

I had the chance to talk to some other host parents at the picnic today and the girls seemed to bond on Facebook while the boys bonded on games or technology. The world seems to be getting smaller and people are friendly. Would you have been able to go to a foreign country when you 14 – 16? It takes a lot of courage and trust. I think our world is ready to extend that trust and give comfort to people.

Keep your eyes open for postings about day 4.

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Describing a Mushroom

My family is on a new adventure as we host a foreign exchange student for three weeks from Russia. 

This seems to be a good experience for our kids as well as myself. You get a chance to get to know someone new and about a different culture. The first night our student was here, we took him to eat at stake restaurant. We take for granted the idea of ordering from a menu, try to do it when you are from Russia and the menu is in English and full of all kids of descriptions etc.  As I was helping our student out I pointed out steaks, burgers, chickens trips etc. He focused in on a mushroom burger and then asked “what is Mushroom”?  How do you explain a mushroom?

I then had the waiter bring some out so he knew what they were and he could order his mushroom burger. He did enjoy his food an realized how much food we get at an American restaurant.

From this it helps me to realize that sometimes we really need to slow down and think about how we explain things to people or identify things. Whether you are from a local town or across the globe, we need to communicate well through facial , vocal and visual displays.  After all, we all like to eat and have fun.

Stay tuned for more on our hosting events.

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Character by what you read

I recently received a great compliment from my son’s batting coach, Tracy Paulton. He was talking to my son to give him some insight to future possibilities and explained that he understood me as a good person by the books I read and the things I talk about.

I was very humbled and honored that he recognized my learned abilities.  As Jim Rohn said: “You are the product of  the books you read and the people you associate with”.

I feel the more we can read and educate ourselves we build our chances for greater opportunity in our lives and the lives of others. We can learn many things from various books. They key is to put the puzzle pieces together in the right order to benefit not only yourself, but others.

One of the best passages ever written was “Do Unto Others As You Would have Done unto You”. Mathew 7:12

If we build our intelligence in ourselves we can help others build intelligence in themselves as well. We can share, talk, guide and encourage others to make the step towards knowledge in many ways. through sports, games, reading, speaking or meditating.

How Can I Help you?