In 2003 our daughter Fangirl had gone to Malaysia as an exchange student with AFS and that began our association with that organisation, an association that was pretty intense for a number of years. We became active in the newly established chapter of the organisation, with me becoming the inaugural chapter chair. We resisted blandishments to host the year that Fangirl went overseas as our younger boys were looking forward to having their own bedrooms for the first time ever. The following year though we agreed to host and so our first exchange son entered our lives
Sho was from Japan. He had turned 16 shortly the month before coming to Australia. He was about 6 weeks younger than our oldest son (now known as Massage Man or MM) and so went into the same year as Gavin. He had been learning English for many years at school but his written language was better than his spoken language. He came from a Christian home and fitted into our household quite well. We all became very fond of him. He was in most of MM's classes and in retrospect this was not a good thing as MM felt a bit overwhelmed at times as Sho also was in the school band, drama activities and youth group with him.
Sho was with us for 11 months and we were very sad to say goodbye to him in December. I decided to make him a quilt to take home, using many aboriginal fabrics that I had bought when our entire family had visited the Northern Territory for a 4 week camping holiday in the middle of the year. Yup 7 of us in our Toyota Landcruiser and for 2 weeks we were also joined by my Mother-in-Law.
At the end of his year with us I made him a quilt to take home with him to remember us by. I used aboriginal prints that I had bought on our trip to the NT using the Square in a Square design. The centres of each block were fussy cut from the various aboriginal prints and many featured Australian animals.
We had a bar-b-que in our backyard to farewell Sho a week or two before he left and at that we invited the guests to write him messages on fabric that I then used as the quilts backing.
|A much younger (but less fit) me with our dear host son Sho with his quilt.|
We have been able to see him 3 times in the 9 years since he left us in Dec 2004. The following year he returned for a visit with his family in August (and so got to meet our next exchange student). In 2006 we (Fixit Guy and our two younger sons) visited Japan for a week and stayed with his family. In 2010 I again visited Sho in Japan, this time with Massage Man. He has now completed his teaching degree and we keep in contact on Facebook
Linking in with Quiltin' Jenny's Throwback Thursdays