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Our Taiwanese exchange student gave a ten-minute presentation to the sponsoring Rotary club yesterday at a luncheon. She talked of her first few weeks with us and of missing home. And then about the long, 24 hour flight, and getting on the plane at sixteen and stepping off at seventeen, it having been her birthday the day she left Taiwan. Before she knew it she was talking about feeling really scared and uncomfortable her first days in America, and of coming to me for consolation. She seemed to surprise herself and got choked up, barely able to continue. I saw the crowd react to her bravery at traveling so far from home to live with strangers.

Since we cook a lot she had lots of pictures of my kitchen in her presentation including my homemade French onion soup, a surprisingly great looking apple tart and a soba noodle dish on a platter. She shared pictures of her prize winning Halloween costume my husband put together for her and of other routine happenings around here such as decorating the house during the holidays and trips to Canada to see my husband’s family. She had pictures of herself in her first snow squall and of tubing in feet of fluffy fresh powder. She even had a picture of a little pile of Christmas gifts we gave her. She didn’t say anything that really struck me as so out of the ordinary, just a description of what we do everyday and how we live that has been such a novelty to her.

But a funny thing happened afterward. The moderator and then one of the next speakers to the podium each remarked that they too would like to be an exchange student at our house because it looked so good. I can’t figure what it was that made it look so appealing, or if it was in her way of telling the story. Maybe I just like the idea that my mundane life is actually the fantastic one I dreamed of long ago that my ears are tuned to hear all about today. I asked my husband and our girl on the ride home in the car, was it the food, or was there something else that had people praising us for our family and life?

Whatever it was, I liked it.