Sunday, April 10, 2016

French Fried

As you may have deduced from my last post, our home stay experience got off to a bit of a trying start.


It did not improve as the week went on - the child was unable to get himself up and out on time, spent most of his time in his room, seemed disinterested in us or anything we did.  Never one to be satisfied with the status quo I continued to flog the dead horse of conversation and probing questioning and was less than surprised at the repeated answer and shoulder shrug "I don't know" to pretty much everything.   I did manage to teach him to clear the table after meals before he disappeared! Yay me!

We have had a longstanding family event planned for Friday night and David diligently made a plan for another home stay family to chaperon our boy from after school until we picked him up on Friday night.  This plan was relayed more than once during the week to much nodding. 

I think, in hindsight, he is going to wish he had paid a little more attention to what he was told.

When a teenager actually makes a phone call as opposed to texting it is always a sure sign of trouble. And so it was when David called me Friday afternoon (he was at his other school that day and received a frantic text from his buddies) to say our boy had ditched the plan and was seen heading towards our house, with a girl.   David instructed the group to head to our house to insist our boy fall in with the plan.

If this was a movie - it would be time to cue the foreboding music.

Allan needed to get in a couple of hours of reading for his Saturday Masters class before our evening engagement and headed home.  With Spanner.

As he opened the front door he was assailed (as we have been all week) by the overwhelming scent of cologne.  Funny, he thought, that this is so strong when he has been out all day.  Waitaminute .... Allan's spidey senses were alerted at the precise moment that Spanner went beserk.  The kind of beserk he goes only under very specific circumstances.   At the same moment Allan saw some darting figures in the back yard and smelled a very specific smell.   He opened the back door and let Spanner go. 

At this moment, in a movie, one would get a tight shot of the faces of the delinquents who were not only realizing a serious kink in their plans but were also sure they were about to be eaten by a brown lab.  

And soon they would be wishing they had been.

Allan stopped them both as they ran down the side of the house and gave vent to his ... displeasure... at their pot-smoking-at-our-house ways.  All this as the group of other kids arrived on our front lawn and Spanner rolled around licking everyone.  The next text messages sent to David marveled that the French kids were still alive and were faint with relief they were not the object of Mr. B's wrath.

Allan sent the group on its way and detained the half-stoned home stay to face the consequences of his actions.  They ended back at the school in the principals office with the teacher from France and the sponsor teacher from here.  

David and I waited at home, getting ready for my Dad's retirement dinner in Vancouver hoping Allan was going to make it home in time.

In the end he made it with just enough time to shower and leave (masters readings deferred until later) and we left the home stay with the two teachers for the evening.  Word has it the French teacher spoke to him sternly for 2 hours.  When we collected him at 10:15pm he was disheveled and seemingly contrite and handed us a letter of apology in perfect english...and our house keys. 



We had the option to not have him back but knowing he will likely face some pretty serious consequences on arrival home we decided to put the incident behind us and try and eke out some fun for the rest of the weekend.  

The funny thing is... his attitude and manner are unchanged.  

There is no gratitude, no participation, no effort.  I took him downtown (as he missed that due to his escapade), helped him get souvenirs for his family and friends... absolutely no indication of anything.  He even had the audacity to ask to go alone to Starbucks on Saturday night (the place of pot procurement, if he is to be believed).  Poor David, who has borne the brunt of this kid, schlepped down to the village one more time to ensure there were no shenanigans.  French boy and his assembled friends proceeded to sit outside Starbucks and sing french ballads loudly to the horror of the Canadian kids.  When it was time to leave our kid predictably wouldn't. Until David said "We go now or my Dad will come".  Out of his seat like a bullet!  He told David he and his friends are all so sad they he might get "fired" when he gets home so they needed to sing. Whatever Dude.

So 7:30pm tonight cannot arrive soon enough. For us and for David. 

At the end of the day I am left reflecting that it was not so much a clash of cultures or language but more one of values.  I am again grateful for my own children and the choices they make as teens and for our home that is most often a place of joy and connection and fun and one we all 4 Byres contribute to. 

This will be a story that is added to the Byres legends.  

I'm sure we will get a good laugh out of it one day. 



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