It’s not exciting here anymore. We wake up in the morning, Scott and I go to work. The kids work on their summer reading during the day… Well, Nahm does. I think Charlie is saving his, hoping to make that throbbing vein in my forehead actually explode over Labor Day Weekend. At night we have dinner together, watch tv, and the kids do whatever it is kids do on the internet.
Today I’m taking the kids back to school shopping. Last night I was reminded of the driving to the mall involved in having a teenage girl in the house when Nahm went to the mall with the other girls who are being hosted by our high school.
It’s downright dull. Probably not the whirlwind that she was expecting. Certainly not the gigantic, culture blending mile a minute for a year that I was expecting.
There are a lot of youth exchanges out there, but I believe AFS was one of the first, if not the first. It’s mission is breathtakingly large – to promote peace through understanding. I think its method is brilliant, and downright subversive.
Because I think a lot of what happens in supporting AFS’ mission – creating peace through understanding – happens in the mundane. A year is too long for the student’s experience to be a whirlwind of excursions and sightseeing. A lot of time in a year is sitting around the house time. Eating dinner time. Grocery shopping time.
And it is true. Once you’ve lived with someone, it becomes harder to paint them with that “other” brush. Because once you live with a person for a while, what you see is the ways they are like you, or like other people that you know and love.
Brilliant in its simplicity. Using teenagers to accomplish this? Downright subversive.
Today is the birthday, on the other side of the world, of a man I have never met. A man I may not ever meet. A man who is doing my family the honor of sharing his daughter with us. It increases my stake in what happens in his country. It helps me to see with new eyes, and to hear with new ears.
Walk together talk together all you people of the earth, then, and only then, shall we have peace – AFS theme song, circa the touchy feely 70s.