A CHRISTMAS STORY
My name is Jessica and this is my first year as a host parent. My husband and I began hosting International students because he spent a majority of his childhood with Chinese siblings. His mom began hosting International students when he was 15 years old. He had many wonderful experiences and memories and considers them to be his brothers. He wanted to share these positive experiences with his own family. One of his "brothers" actually flew back from china to attend our wedding this past year. It was these experiences that led us to begin our hosting journey. We have absolutely loved this experience so far. This Christmas we found to be the most exciting time as a host parent. Carol had never chopped down a Christmas tree which she got to experience. She didn't even knew how or why we decorate it. She asked many questions such as "why do we buy a new tree every year and thought that was a strange and expensive tradition" She didn't understand many of the holiday themes but seemed to light up as we explained many of our own childhood memories and how we try to re-live them by making them a tradion. Some of these traditions reminded her of home. She said her favorite part of this holiday was spending so much time with our family and learning fun new games. I enjoyed watching Christmas through someone else's eyes. To see her light up when we told her that there were presents for her to open was exciting. She was so happy to know we had thought of her and this made her feel extra special. Her favorite parts were trying new foods and helping prepare the evening meals. We feel the best part of our Christmas was sharing it with her!
-Jessica (Host Parent)
A CHRISTMAS STORY 2
My name is Stephanie and this is my first year as a host parent. My husband and I have especially enjoyed this holiday season with Sunny. I didn't realized that this was Sunny's first year celebrating Christmas! She absolutely loved the smell of our Christmas tree and couldn't believe we actually went into the middle of the forest to cut one down. She asked many questions on the drive there. My favorite question was where will we put such a big tree and how long will it last? She had never had a real tree and said the tree made Christmas magical. She lit up when we added lights and told her about our decorations and how some of them we had since we were children. We have enjoyed sharing our family traditions with her. Another one of my favorite tradition since I was a girl is my mom and I would make pies for the holiday season to share with friends and neighbors. Sunny enjoyed this so much that she decided to learn how to make the pies with me. Sunny has helped make our holiday special by sharing our memories and engaging with our family and is always willing to try new things.
-Stephanie (Host Parent)
A CHRISTMAS STORY 3
We did our traditional day. Christmas morning we stayed in pj"s and had Cinnamon rolls and orange Julius. Then opened presents. Lazy afternoon doing puzzles, playing games. Kent took all the girls to a movie. Then big supper together and more games. This picture is Katherine in her new robe and we're laughing because Shirley and Catherine are matching.
-Jodi (Host Parent)
IVY BRIDGE ON THE ROAD
We had the opportunity to visit Maybeck High School in Berkeley (about 5 mins aways from UC Berkeley) with a population of about 250 students. The school is located next to a church but it considers itself a secular school (very liberal). Although, it only has one AP course, students are allowed to take college credit courses at the local community college. Unfortunately, they do not offer sports...this school is ideal for students interested in the arts and small private communities. The class size is small so the students have better opportunities to engage in classroom discussions. One unique thing is their 'two week program,' where the teachers create a particular curriculum for two weeks. Finally, the school has a strong college preparatory program- some of their students have been accepted to the top programs in the country such as MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley.