(Part of a blogging series on orphan-hosting with Project 143)
Less than three weeks till W., our Project 143 host child, arrives in the States! ACK! That is soon. And around here we are getting so.very.excited.
This week we’re in the midst of some pretty hard-core end-of-the-year stuff. My fabulous in-laws are down from CT visiting, and while they’re here we’re flitting hither and yon to tend to All The Things: dance recital, homeschool music play on ancient Greece, soccer games and closing party, last day of “school”… You know, general mania. Oh, with a touch of stomach flu squeezed in there for (so far only) two of us. Whew.
But once the dust settles on Monday it’ll be full focus for the whole crew on Latvia, Latvian, and most of all: W’s arrival! In the meantime, here’s the behind-the-scenes stuff that we – mostly I – have been working on as arrival day grows closer.
For my part, here’s some of the stuff that I’ve been up to get me and the crew ready for W’s arrival:
1. Booking W. a dental appointment. This is something P143 asks that host families do, as well as vision appointments. We had teeth cleanings last month, and our dental office is willing to clean W’s teeth for free – very kind of them. Then if work is needed they will discount the work to some extent, which I greatly appreciate. When I got the text reminder for the cleaning appointment I booked for W., my heart jumped a bit. Such a new experience to receive a “reminder for” text with his name on it. That simple electronic transaction to my phone felt like: he really is coming. And he really will be living with us all summer, just like one of our own kids.
2. Language lessons every day. I finished the Basic Latvian course on Memrise; the site claims it takes about three hours. I’ve studied several languages but never through any kind of electronic format, and I confess that I found it slightly addictive. “Just one more screen. Boom! Nailed it. OK, one more.” It’s been years – nearly decades – since I’ve actively done anything with languages, and hanging out with Memrise has reminded me how much I love them. (Just one more reason to thank you, W., so “paldies” for that.) I’ve realized you can dabble in multiple courses, so I’m picking into some verbs now as well as household nouns from two different courses.
3. Gathering clothes for W. Project 143 wisely encourages families not to go nuts on the clothes-amassing before the host child actually arrives since at this stage, sizing is anyone’s guess. But W. is 11 so it’s likely he’ll wear something between a size 9 and 11. (Most orphans are physically smaller and younger-seeming than their non-oprhan counterparts.) So I’m gathering up some hand-me-downs and freebies to have on hand and to kick things off, since he’ll arrive with nothing but the clothes on his back. And we’ll add to the stash after he arrives.
4. Prepping for some furniture readjustment. Our fourth bedroom is a combination guest/toddler room, and we’ll be giving that to W. for his time here while our 3-year-old sleeps with us. The transition will be very simple as she sleeps in our room whenever we have guests anyway, but I’ll be moving her clothes into our room and such too so I’m clearing out a little dresser in anticipation.
5. Solidifying plans for W’s arrival day. I’ll be flying up to JFK to meet the plane and W. while our son is in cub scout camp and our daughters spend the day with friends. So just sorting through logistics of who’s going where, when, and with whom on that day. If all goes well W and I will be back home a little after dinner time…
6. Figuring out Latvian books. It ain’t easy to secure reading books for Latvian-readers. We want to have some on hand for W. to read during rest time and whenever he wants, but you can’t just clickety-click onto Amazon and get a set of Hardy Boys in Latvian for $25 for your host child. There are books available… but they are few, random, and rather expensive (especially since we don’t know what his tastes are, or how much he enjoys reading.) I’m scoping eBay and such, and we’ll see where we arrive between now and June 26.
7. Getting ready for a little Latvia-intensive with the kiddos starting next week. We’ll be visiting the Latvian church of Washington DC on June 22, browsing in their bookstore for a Latvian Bible (and whatever other affordable, appropriate reading they may also offer, a la #6 above), and hoping to make chit-chat with a Latvian or two – ideally one who might know how we can ascertain if their are any Latvian speakers living in our area south of DC. [Feels like a long-shot at this point, especially since I’ve put some good effort so far into trying to find one so far without results, but who knows? God could still hook us up.) I pulled the TWO – yes, count them, two – books that our library offers on Latvia, so we’ll read those. We’ll get on YouTube daily. And we’ll do some map work and Latvian-phrase work through Memrise and our dictionaries (So far we are all enjoying this one.)
And before we know it, he’ll be HERE!
Originally posted in June, 2014