A new voice today — Bonnie St.Pierre’s voice. Bonnie’s newest chapter is a beautiful one, both for Bonnie and her husband, and also for two very fortunate young women, one Vietnamese and one Thai. Bonnie’s request on Facebook for help on the family meal planning front got me to thinking how different her life is as a host mom. How has her life changed and been reorganized?
In Bonnie’s words:
“My husband and I are host parents to Vietnamese and Thai high school junior girls this year. We’ve hosted boys three years running, and, always one at a time. We’ve never had children of our own, and it feels good to know that we are providing an opportunity for a lifetime, helping to shape lives other than our own.
ringing two foreign exchange students, girls, into your home for an entire school year is not something you do lightly. There will be drama, check. They will be sharing a room, so they must learn to get along, check. The grocery bill will skyrocket, multiplied by two growing teenagers, ummmm, OK, check. There will be parent-teacher conferences, and rides to events, misunderstandings resulting in hurt feelings, and shopping and shopping and shopping, well, you get the idea.
Even with thinking I was prepared for this, I realized pretty quickly after their August arrival that we had to get better at things, regular things. For example, who gets up and gets the bathroom first, a shower schedule, keeping track of two very diversified schedules in addition to my own business calendar and our personal plans, who’s coming home right after school, and who is taking the late bus, plus the activity for which they are staying after. The chore list was a chore for me, since everyone would forget whose turn it was to do what. Then there’s having to actually pick a day for my least favorite, planning meals and the trip (which has become two trips weekly) to the grocery store, instead of going when the pantry holds only a can of soup; all of these everyday activities now had to be planned, and communicated between all.
I have undergone an organizing metamorphosis during this process, to the point where my friends are laughing at me, but watching me carefully for signs of becoming fanatical. There’s a dry erase monthly schedule on the refrigerator, with four marker colors, all having significance. The girls have worked out the morning bathroom routine together and shower schedule that doesn’t interfere with my husband’s domain in the second bathroom, the laundry gets done in a way that it comes out of the dryer when all are around to chip in with folding and take to rooms right away. The planning meals and grocery trip? Well that’s now a shared event, with everyone having some input.
When I thought that having exchange students would provide some growth experiences for me, I expected them to be cultural, and that they certainly are. But the surprising benefit has been learning to get organized in a way that I can live with and sustain. The reward is great; piece of mind in knowing that our American/Vietnamese/Thai family can enjoy our time together rather than always running to catch up.”
onnie is a pleasure to work with – she took my business photo, answered all my questions, and made it a fun portrait session.
ecause my business IS me, as yours may be, the photo and the story it tells are very important to me. It is me, but Bonnie’s talent helped to create what you see.
A Studio Like No Other. Experience the Extraordinary.
Have an intriguing story to tell about a next chapter and how you’ve reorganized to get there?
Let me know and you may see yourself showing up here — either in interview format or as a guest blogger. — Sue