I’ve mentioned previously that families with student athletes are strongly encouraged expected to host visiting students when AIS hosts tournaments; this seems fair, as other families are hosting our students when they travel.  (Jack once had to rough it at a home in England so primitive that each of the four AIS students being hosted had their own bedroom and access to the indoor basketball court.  I am surprised any of them came home.)

In submitting our housing information, Clayton Theodore ended up being described as “heavy, but friendly.”  Heavy, not so much, but he is so friendly, in fact, that he slept on the sofa bed with one of the students from a Munich exchange last fall. Thankfully the student was fine with this, as he too had a dog.

The housing lists are sent out a week in advance to sort out any unforeseen issues; we were once assigned two students who were allergic to dogs. Whoops.  Mostly, though, we can accommodate pretty much any kind of dietary or other restriction.   The two students we are hosting next weekend are allergy-free; these students, whose names I saw further down the list, though, made me chuckle.

Name of Student                Grade            Allergies
Finn. Icky. Boy.                    8                   Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

A 13 year-old boy allergic to fresh fruits and vegetables? Go figure.  Think Mr. Finicky filled out his own paperwork?

Horse. Lover.                        7                   Vegetarian (only on Mondays)

Tween Girl, to be sure.*

*Given the recent discoveries of horse meat in everything from frozen lasagna to IKEA meatballs here in Europe, perhaps Tween Girl is on to something. 

Visiting students are also encouraged to bring a small gift to their “housers,” something along the order of €10,00. We usually send the very Austrian Julius Meinl coffee, which Anna Grace wraps nicely and Jack tosses into his backpack when they travel.  That is what it is.

I admit that I get excited to see what the students staying with us bring as hosting gifts. I don’t care what the gift is; I’m just tickled with the custom. Female students present their gifts together, nicely wrapped and with a smile, and want me to unwrap the gift.  I’ve delighted in English tea, Croatian olive oil,  handmade soap, and wonderful chocolates.  Male students, assuming they remember at all, thrust an unwrapped item at us through the car window from the bottom of their backpack when we are dropping them at the school for their return travel (it’s typically smushed chocolate).

One recent Saturday morning, though, the newspaper-wrapped gift handed through the window from our visiting student was not smushed chocolate.

Even Tony thinks the following conversation leading to this gift ensued:
Mom to Dad: Oh, crap, I forgot a hosting gift. 
Dad to Mom:  I can pick up something at the train station when I drop off Student.
Mom to Dad:  Are you sure?  Something around €10,00, okay?
Dad to Mom: Got it. No worries.
This will always be my favorite “housers” gift.