Today is Omar's birthday. (Don't worry, Omar, I won't say how old you are!) Omar was my third homestay student back in 1992, and my first from Kuwait.
My dad, Max, my homestay student, Omar and my son, Allen
I remember the phone call from the placing agency when they told me my new student would be coming from the Middle East. At that time the only thing I knew about Kuwait was what had been reported in the evening news during the First Gulf War. To say I was apprehensive would be putting it mildly. I was more like scared to death! What in the world would I do—a single mother in America—if Omar should expect me to behave like the black-robed women in his country?
However, I always prayed before each new student arrived, so I figured God knew what he was doing by sending an Arab to my home. Wow! Was I in for a surprise!
A very pleasant surprise!
When he first arrived, Omar wanted to know by what name to address me. I offered my first name, but he shook his head. In his country it was disrespectful to call an older woman by her first name. A title was needed. And so, I became ‘Mrs. Sue.’
Omar was respectful and congenial—a cheerful young man with a beautiful smile. He was full of laughter and had a unique sense of humor! He was also a big tease, but I was clueless until one day during one of our conversations around the kitchen table. “Mrs. Sue,” he said, “you are too serious. You need to laugh more!” His statement left me stunned. I thought about it for the rest of the day!
I was the oldest of three daughters. My mother had been a school teacher and a strict disciplinarian. Quite naturally I inherited many of her traits. Now here was a young man from the other side of the globe telling me to lighten up!
Ahh, so that’s why God brought Omar into my home. God had a bunch of lessons for me to learn—the first being not to take myself, or life in general, so seriously. God wanted me to trust Him more. He wanted me to relax, to smile, to laugh and have fun. He knew Omar was the best person to deliver that message. He was right! Thank you, Omar!
Happy Birthday from your American Mom! May God bless you and your family with a wealth of laughter all the days of your life!
Still laughing and enjoying life.