A couple of months ago I reported that Tinson2 had visited Wurzburg in Germany for a week as part of a Student Exchange, and that sometime in May his young host Florian would be visiting us.
How far away May seemed then. How near it seems now, with him due to arrive in 45 minutes.
Barrack Obama and the Queen are both visiting our shores this month. The preparations being to made to ensure their safety, entertainment and enjoyment are positively sloppy compared to the efforts being contemplated in the Tinhouse to ensure Florian goes home content.
Our school have organised a number of trips to occupy the students, all apparently based upon the belief that they will never have seen anything as beautiful as Irish countryside before. My own belief is that, as 16 and 17 year olds, they wouldn’t be impressed by scenery if it could perform Riverdance, so we are thinking of things to occupy him as well.
Wurzburg is not near the sea, so we are hoping Florian will like looking at it. We also hope he does not wish to swim in it, as we would hate to send him home having lost two toes to frostbite.
He will learn several things about Irish families during his stay in our house. He will learn, for example
- That Irish houses smell of disinfectant, window cleaner and floor polish;
- That Irish families all gather around the kitchen table for dinner together, and never eat separately in front of the Xbox/computer/TV (Tingirl has just been given the job of setting the table, and I’ve just heard her ask whether the forks go on the right or the left);
- That the man of the house and his two teenage sons never have competitions to see who can belch the loudest;
- That the man of the house does not hug his 16 year-old son goodnight (I asked Tinson2 should I do it as normal in front of Florian. Bringing a look of horror to your teenagers’ faces is still one of the great joys of parenthood);
- That the man of the house does not swear loudly in the morning, no matter what he steps on in the dark;
- That Irish teenagers bound eagerly out of bed on schooldays;
- That Irish parents do not generally have disagreements, but that if they do they talk them through in a calm and rational manner;
- That Irish teenagers bring their cups and plates to the dishwasher when they have finished eating (it may confuse him briefly that they have to have the dishwasher pointed out to them, but hopefully he will think this is our attempt at a joke).
Our main problem is how to get him to sit with us and watch the Eurovision next Saturday. It’s being hosted by Germany, though, so we may just pretend that we are watching it for his benefit in case he feels homesick.
I hope he has a great time, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure he does.