So, one of my former co-workers (who obviously does not read my blog), recently asked if the Firepants Family would be interested in hosting a foreign exchange student.
Two things come to mind whenever I hear “foreign exchange student”: Sixteen Candles and That 70’s Show.
I’m pretty sure that I would not want either of the foreign exchange students represented in these shows to share a house with my 9 year old daughter.
Now, I know that those are stereotypes, and that most exchange students are probably delightful. I also know that it would be a great experience for Dimples.
When I received the invitation, I even briefly considered requesting a student from Malawi – since that country appears to me my second biggest fan based on my blog stats.
Then I realized that the problem with this whole scenario is not that we might end up hosting a not very intelligent but excessively horny male teenager who consistently misunderstands American idioms.
The problem is that any student who has the misfortune of being assigned to Firepants household will, at the very least, sue the organization that matched him/her with us. And, it would not be completely outside the realm of possiblity that word of the student’s experiences with us would result in an international incident threatening nuclear annihilation.
Maybe, I thought, I could compose a letter ahead of time that would gently prepare the student for the culture shock sure to occur after a few days residing with Family Firepants.
We are delighted to hear that you will be staying with us during your visit to the United States. You have learned, I am sure, about many of the differences between our two countries. However, there are some things you may want to know that you will probably not find in the Wikipedia entries you may have been perusing.
First of all, you would be well-advised to pack the following things in your suitcase: noise-canceling headphones, white clothes, and a gas mask.* Other than that, bring nothing that you truly value. In fact, just throw your clothes in a trash bag. Luggage is overrated, anyway.**
Secondly, if you have not had any martial arts training, I suggest that you take a crash course before you make your trip.***
Thirdly, if you are at all sickly, are allergic to peanut butter, cannot swallow pills, and are adverse to having a hand shoved down your throat – you should probably reconsider your decision to make this trip.****
And, as a friendly warning (that you should not consider to be threat in any way shape or form), it would be best if you never mention the words “Diet Coke” around your hostess in any context. This is considered an obscenity in our
family culture and, in the state of Texas, for this you could be shot.*****
*headphones to block out the sound of smoke alarms beeping and Dimples’ c.d. endlessly repeating c.d., black clothes will be covered in fur the moment you enter our house, gas mask to filter the mixed toxic fumes of Wonderbutt’s gas emission and a half-dozen Wallflowers from Bath and Body Works
**Wonderbutt only chews items of value
***As we do not have a concealed light saber license, martial arts is our only defense against the members of the Temple of the Jedi Order who may or may not have ordered a hit on us
****I have one way to administer pills to those who won’t swallow them – and it isn’t pretty
*****I have been a recovering Diet Coke addict for 2 months, and appear to have permanent withdrawal symptoms
Of course, there are far more rules that should be outlined to ensure the student’s survival – but I don’t want to overwhelm the poor kid.