Going to the Market

14 02 2013

There’s nothing quite like a crisp autumn Saturday, walking through the aisles of your local food market, selecting fresh produce of the season to take home with you. Some days you get a great deal on something that you didn’t even have on your list, and then you get to challenge yourself to find the perfect recipe for this new ingredient! Well, it’s been a true culinary experiment having a 17-year-old son show up in our basket. We weren’t looking to be parents, really, we were just looking for some organic apples.

It all started about 8 weeks ago when I was playing a pick up game of ultimate frisbee in Frog Island Park. I had organized a women’s series to get more new players comfortable with the sport in a safe environment. Although we had just an intimately sized group to start, we had some success, and fun regardless.

On this particular day, it was sunny and warm enough to decide to walk around after the game had ended. Several of us trekked up the wide, wooden steps to the nearby parking area, and across the way was the local Saturday morning farmers market. Albeit, small, it was a treasure trove of local Ypsi folks, passionate about their craft, and willing to set a price to their devotion.

As I walked through the sparsely occupied booths, I smiled at my favorite salsa maker, a few veggie growers, and a knitting queen. Towards the end of the lazy aisle was a new booth, asking for “Host Families.” A younger guy, riding his early thirties but reliving the hipster twenties, was there behind the table. He enthusiastically shared with me every last detail about his program, CETUSA. They needed families to provide room and board for young high-schoolers from across the world.

At first, I assumed we were not eligible. We don’t have kids. We aren’t your typical ‘parents.’ Who are we to take responsibility for another family’s child for a month or a year? Plus, we knew we would be gone for the month of January for our honeymoon. Surely, this would make us ineligible. However, James reassured us, we could still offer to be a ‘landing pad’ for some eager young student until they could place them in a more permanent home!

We walked away with a color brochure, and a promise to look into the requirements of hosting.

Despite our initial reservations, in one short week we had signed up, created a profile for our two-mom household, and asked our current housemates to do a background check. Bethany built a loft bed for the unknown boy, and prepared to paint the spare room. Our house, technically was full. We had three housemates, plus the two of us, but decided that we could make room for some child in the ‘meditation room.’ How much room could a little Thai boy take up anyway?

Before we knew it, we were approved! A 16-year-old Thai boy named Veerephat had booked his flight and was on his way to America for the first time in his life. (GULP!) We had selected him from amongst 4 other Thai profiles, and 2 German profiles. If we were going to volunteer to do this, we decided, it should be a cultural exchange with someone from a country that we were immediately planning to explore. We weren’t sure just what we were getting ourselves into, but we were prepared for anything.

Bethany & Kelly

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