Surprised by the Mundane

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.

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10 Responses to Surprised by the Mundane

  1. Susan butler says:

    very nice, Amy. A lot of truth here.

  2. Mali says:

    Oooh, I got tingles. Well said.

  3. Cecilia says:

    I agree. Beautiful!

  4. peter x says:

    Cool baby, that is a perfect groovy 70’s touchy-feely song, which is also true. AFS in Thailand certainly opened my eyes.

  5. Susan says:

    I relate to the mundaneness of it all especially. We have things planned here and there throughout the year, but I keep thinking that Penny did not become a 17-year-old jetsetter to come and watch me do the dishes and laundry… But I think–I hope–she is learning something every day, even if it’s just that she does not want to become an American style housewife!

  6. Cecilia says:

    Hey! Even if it’s boring I am anxiously awaiting updates…. please tell us more!

  7. Cecilia says:

    Hi, sorry if this gets duplicated — I thought I commented yesterday but I don’t see it posted. Anyway just wanted to say I am awaiting more updates, even if they are mundane! Would love to hear how you all are doing.

  8. salvationamy says:

    Cee – you commented, but maybe used a different e-mail address or something? The first comment from anyone has to be approved by me, and then you can comment away. I got your comment, and assumed that it was from the e-mail address that sends the already okayed comments, because you’d posted before, then this one came through the other e-mail address.

    I assume none of this makes any ding durn sense.

  9. Cecilia says:

    Got it. Yes, you’re right, I think I was on a different browser and probably also used a different email address. Good to know. Still waiting for updates though! Living my AFS memories vicariously through your lovely family!!

  10. Sondra says:

    I love that, Amy. You’re correct – AFS is brilliant in it’s simplicity.

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