The Middle, Soundbites From The UN

Note:   Even though I just posted yesterday, my goal is to post Mon, Wed. and  late Fri., from now on. Two longer ones and one short one on Wed. called The Middle.  I want to stick with that plan.

This has been an all around International few weeks in our house, having taken in two exchange students, with two day’s notice. In these early days, while we all get to know each other, things are so much more amusing and interesting, for everyone involved.  China is a 16 yr old boy, Denmark is a 16 yr old girl, US/Little Man, is our biological child. He’s 15.  Together, they make up the UN.  Here are some sound bites and glimpses:

China had only seen snow once before and never played in it. A trip up to Mt Baker was a huge hit for all three, plus Little Man’s BFF, who lives with us much of the time. China could not get enough of it; proved very good at snow balls; and in the end, has decided that maybe he would like to take skiing lessons this winter. (permission to post his pic granted)

China is very competent in advanced maths, and actually finds only two challenges here:  1) The language- word problems and terms that make no sense in English for him.   2) In China, they are not permitted to use a calculator for anything. He finds using one difficult. (ha!).

Denmark was having trouble with some math problems. US is currently in Geometry; China is in Pre-Calculus; Denmark is in Algebra I.  US offered to help, as he had this class last year. So, US (in a shirt from Finland) explained the terms to China, who then went on line to have it all translated from Chinese in to Danish, to help Denmark finish her homework. It was all Russian to me!  The three were very funny with their multi-national attempts to solve an Algebra problem.

Denmark is having a hard time with her math teacher, I assured her that it is not her English. Everyone has a hard time with this math teacher.

Food is a BIG deal these days. China is having a particularly hard time with the food we eat. None of it is familiar to him; none of it is spicy enough (I’m a wimp; he’s a warrior); he isn’t accustomed to fresh vegetables un-cooked; and many things I serve, while pretty impressive here, would not go over well in China, apparently. He sniffs everything I prepare and watches warily, until he’s tasted it. Then, he photographs the ones he likes. Most of the winners are “Asian” but he thinks he “could get used to noodles with red sauce”  (spaghetti).


( ^ spaghetti, soup with dumplings,  fried rice with vegetables and pan fried dumplings)

Denmark went on line to see if she can get good Danish rugbroed or ryebread . It was $90 for 3 loaves, with shipping. I told her she’d need to live with American bread options, or learn to bake.

China was amazed by the Bellingham Traverse.  “Dad” was competing in the solo field: stud muffin.  China loved the community enthusiasm and mood and shared that “in China, people would never have a race just for fun. They are working too hard.”

Denmark thought it was odd that Americans go biking in Bee costumes. “Um, those are racers,” I told her.

China brought a new brand of Lays to us from China. It was not a hit with any of us, but China can eat lemons without making funny faces. The label looked Spanish to me.

Some nights, we all eat with chop sticks, while China practices using his fork and knife. Denmark and I think this could be a very good diet, as we can’t get most of the food to our mouths!  The Chopstick Diet.

A friend’s dad, from Germany, brought me candy this week. We were all happy to welcome Germany to the table, but negotiations broke down when the “Motherland” didn’t want to share. Stalemate. Negotiations currently stalled. Germany in hiding.

China tells us that school is very different here. There he goes from 7:45 AM until 10:30 PM, with a 2 hr break for food and study.  If  “one doesn’t do well in school, they might die.” We did not ask him to elaborate, but we’re pretty sure why China is pulling ahead of the US in virtually everything!

Interesting dialogue at dinner over Tibet and China. We got through it without a break down in relations.

Fun group field trip to local Asian Market. We all agreed on dumplings; China bought canned Eel, which was ok, but not a big hit; and we decided to pass on the big bag of MSG, when China learned that it gives “Dad” headaches. He informed us that “all Chinese love MSG.”

At dinner, we raise our glasses and say:  “Skoal!” (Denmark) “Cheers!” (US) “L’chaim!” (Israel) “Ganbei!” (China) and “Cin Cin!” (there is no Irish cheers, so I went with Italy)

Denmark was very excited when I found good muesli… granola. Otherwise, she is happy with US meals.

   <——-I made SIX cups of (dried) rice this week; this is what’s left:

China:  “Dad, could you you help me with this please?  Dad? Could you help me with this please?  Dad! Could you help me with this?”        Motherland: “Hubby, you are the only dad in the kitchen. It shouldn’t need translating!”

Motherland: “China, I heard that you must try each new food 7 x for your taste buds to adjust to new flavors in a completely new culture.” (I did hear this, from another mom)     China: “Ok ma, I will try. But I think that even with 70 tries, I will not like salad.”

So far, we have not needed Switzerland.

If you enjoyed this article, please hit Like and/or use the Share button to pass it along. If you want to get the latest posts, Subscribe and you will get an email each time I post a new entry. You wont get any other mail. And if you’re new to this site, check out some of the older posts, by hitting the Archive button.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Daily Observations, Humor, Mothers, Musings, My world, Parenting, Teens and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Middle, Soundbites From The UN

  1. Maryanne says:

    Slainte is a good Gaelic cheer, used in Ireland and Scotland. M


  2. Renee Mason says:

    Very clever! You are one BRAVE woman; three teens under one roof?!?!


    • Thank you Renee; brave or crazy! I have three of my own, who were under one roof for quite a while… now that two are off to college, this doesn’t seem so hard. Thanks so much for checking out my blog post and taking the time to respond.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s