And then there was Trump. Today we were listening to NPR on the drive home listening to some Colorado Congressman railing against President Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Prison because then some of the prisoners would go to Colorado. He then tried to argue that this would somehow make Colorado a target for terrorism since some of these guys are bad, bad, bad guys. I actually could not bear to listen any more. I turned on the oldies station which was playing “Dream On” by Aerosmith and it was the part where Steven Tyler is singing in a very, very high pitched voice. It all seemed very appropriate.
My son’s school has a sister school in Japan. Every year our kids, when they are in 8th grade, visit Japan and their kids come and visit our school. When the schools swap kids, families of the students are asked to provide a home for at least one to stay at. We had not volunteered. It was more about the space for us. We are larger than we used to be but we are still in a smallish two bedroom and one bathroom apartment in Makiki. So I pretty much did not really consider taking a student. It just seemed like three humans with penises and only one bathroom seemed not great. But then I received an email from the school yesterday with the word “plea” in the title. The Japanese students are arriving next week Friday and they had still not been able to place six of them. Before the “plea” email, I had discussed this with my family and we were feeling like we could do one. Plus, this sort of homestay experience, it reminds me of my time in the Peace Corps. I stayed with a family for what seemed like forever. They let me live there and fed me and it was incredibly gracious of them. The other volunteers and I became part of the village.
So then there I was sending an email to the Japanese teacher at school volunteering to host my son’s pen pal. The response was, well, he was going to the head of school’s house with another boy, would you be willing to take both? Gulp. Sent email to gauge family’s willingness. And now, we are hosting two Japanese students, the weekend after this for two nights. The Japanese teacher offered me an air mattress which was very gracious of her.
And honestly, after listening to NPR today. And after learning that apparently Donald Trump has won the Nevada caucus. I am feeling good about this. About hosting these boys. About having them stay with us. And, I did not think about this until this afternoon, but this whole Trump thing is completely disheartening for me. He is like the embodiment of a lot of ugliness in this country. And I would like to think, that as a country we are better than this. We are better than threatening to punch people who say things we don’t like. We are better than building walls and making base comments about entire groups of individuals. We are better as a county.
So I think that taking these kids is part of my trying to act better. Opening up my home to these kids is a small part of demonstrating that we are not a bunch of xenophobic morons. It is something small but maybe that’s how it starts. Small. Because we are better than this.