Tag Archives: Host family

Let sleeping dogs lie

26 Feb

“I believe in integrity. Dogs have it. Humans are sometimes lacking it.”

~ Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer)

In contrast to the warm welcome my host family gave me the welcome I received from my host dogs was positively frosty. In fact, you could almost say that I was quite unwelcome as far as the dogs were concerned.

Apparently they take a little while to warm up to new people, so the best thing to do was to let them get accustomed to me at their own pace. This naturally made making friends with the dogs the first ‘project’ undertaken during my Honduran experience.

20130226-221244.jpg

Casey

Casey was the first to be charmed. Which is amusing because she’s the one that makes the most racket when someone arrives at the house. She has a shrill yap and won’t stop barking until she knows who or what is at the door. It only took me about an hour to get her onside. She loves being petted.

20130226-221510.jpg

Kalua

Kalua surprise me as being the next dog to warm up to me. Out of the three she’s the one that struck me as being the fiercest. But it only took a couple of hours on Friday morning for her to get comfortable enough with me for her to let me pat her. She is a solid little lump of a dog. I love her funny roly-poly skin.

Both Casey and Kalua will now come over to me if I call them and let me give them pats.

20130226-221702.jpg

Lassie

Lassie is the hold out. From the start she was much more wary of me than the other two and still seems to eye me with distrust. I’ve managed to pat her a couple of times, but she only seems to just tolerate it, not enjoy it like the other two. And the last time I petted her she got sick of it after about 20 seconds and gave me a hell of a warning snarl! It certainly gave me a fright.

I’ll keep working on her slowly and hopefully we’ll become friends. None of the dogs react to my presence by barking anymore and even Lassie seems comfortable enough to chill out in the same room as me. Just so long as I don’t speak to her, touch her or look at her!

Advertisements

Meetings and greetings

26 Feb

I arrived in Tegus at 8:30pm on Thursday evening. Waiting for me at the airport were my host mum and a volunteer from AFS. My host mum drove me home and I got to meet my host grandparents and all three of my (initially very wary) host dogs.

Several of my host mum’s friends came round to meet me too, as well as my host uncle. It was really nice to have such a warm welcome and meet so many friendly faces on my first night.

We had a late, light dinner of dried banana slices topped with a salad of tomato, green capsicum and onion mixed with a vinaigrette. It was really yummy. I should have taken a photo, but after a day of travelling I was really tired and didn’t think of it.

When it became obvious that I could barely keep my eyes open any longer everyone said their goodbyes and I went to bed. My host family had a gorgeous bunch of flowers and a card waiting for me when I got to the room.

20130226-080534.jpg

My room is lovely and also very pink as it belongs to my host-sister who is 17 and currently on an AFS student exchange to Austria. I leave Honduras on 2 July and my host sister returns 5 July so we’ll just miss each other.

It’s a bit of a shame, but we’ll chat be able to chat via Skype and ‘meet’ online. The Internet has definitely made the world a smaller place.

On Friday my host mum dropped me off at the airport where I waited with several AFS volunteers for the other participants to arrive. There are three boys from Japan and one girl from Sweden starting their high school exchange as well as two girls from Belgium doing the community service program.

Once everyone was safely on terra firma we set off for Valle de Angeles, a small town about 40 minutes outside of Tegucigalpa to have our orientation/arrival camp. The camp was fun and, apart from the extra focus on safety and security, very similar in content to the sort of camps we run in Australia.

20130226-080857.jpg

AFS volunteers and participants at the arrival camp

On Sunday we returned to Tegus, quite early in the morning as most of the other participants needed to travel to reach their final destinations. Tela, San Pedro Sula, Danli, La Esperanza and Siguatepeque will each host one of the new arrivals. In Tegus there’ll be me and one of the Japanese students.

My host family actually have a holiday house in Valle de Angeles so early on Sunday afternoon I then travelled back there with them. I’ll write a bit more about Valle de Angeles tomorrow if get the time.

It’s my first day at work today (Tuesday) so I need to get organised. Fingers crossed I make a good first impression. Wish me luck!

Meeting the family (on paper)

13 Jan

“AFS friendships last a lifetime. By welcoming an AFS student, you are making the world a friendlier place and giving your family an unforgettable experience.”

~ AFS Intercultural Programs website

I have a Honduran family! I received my host family information on Thursday. It was so exciting to read through the pack and look at all the photos.

I will have a host mum, 17-year-old host sister, host grandpa, host grandma and three host dogs at home. My host sister is currently on exchange. I’m not sure if we’ll get to meet during my stay or if she’ll be overseas the whole time I’m living with her family.

As I’d guessed, I will be living in the capital, Tegucigalpa, but on the outskirts or outer suburbs of the city. My host mum describes the area they live in as a quiet and peaceful place surrounded by trees and mountains.

I haven’t got enough information yet to check out my suburb on Google Maps, but as soon as I do I’ll be having a sneaky cyber-peak at my part of town. (It’s crazy how much smaller the world has been made by satellite mapping.)

I won’t go into more detail here until I’m able to check that my host family is comfortable with the idea of ‘starring’ in my blog. They all look lovely though and I can’t wait to meet them.

I’m so grateful they’ve decided to open up their home to me.  I hope they’ll get as much out of the experience as I’m sure I will. Hosting an exchange student (or in my case an adult volunteer) can be a wonderful way of learning about another culture. You don’t even need to leave your living room.

I can’t recommend the experience more highly. Whether you’re a participant or a host family there’s so much you can learn and so much fun to be had.

If you’re interested in hosting an exchange student check out the AFS website for all the details. Many year and semester programs start in February, so I’m sure there are plenty of students out there who are anxiously awaiting news of their host family like I was.

Could the information pack they’re waiting for be about your family?