Saturday, March 26, 2011

Helping Japan One Pin Badge at a Time

March 11, 2011 at 2:46 p.m. will forever be etched in my memory! Sadness engulfed me as I learned about the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leak that devastated the northeastern coast of Japan on that day.

What about Toshi's family? Were they alright? And what about all my former Japanese homestay students--all thirteen of them? Where were they when this triple whammy slammed Japan? Were they alright? Or, were they--God forbid--among the tens of thousands who perished?

We quickly learned that all of Toshi's family were safe--their house received a few cracks from the earthquake, but nothing major. They live far enough inland that the tsunami didn't touch them. Thank God!

I've also heard from two of my former homestay students. One lives in Tokyo and the other lives in Kyoto and neither were affected. Praise God for that good news, also!

But, I continue to worry about my other eleven homestay students. And, my heart still aches for those I don't even know who lost their family, their homes, their livelihoods--literally everything! Their needs are staggering! I want to help. But how?

One of my former homestay students is married, living in New York City and working on his medical degree. His wife (from Japan) has a master's degree in art. Today I received this e-mail from him....

"My wife is helping a non-profit designer group to support the aftermath from the Earthquake, Tsunami and Radiation disaster in Japan. Each artist has designed and produced a pin badge at their personal expense. The designers will donate profits from the sales of their pin badges to the American Red Cross for the casualties in Japan.

Their web store launched this week, and about 40 buttons were sold yesterday. We hope to continue raising funds to help the people of Japan in need.

Please, visit our site to support our cause by pasting the following into your browser or clicking the link:

If you could spread the word to your family, friends or colleagues through any type of communication medium like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Personal Blog or e-mail; we would be grateful. Thank you for taking the time to read this email and for your contribution." Ryan and Kanako

I was thrilled with this unique way to help! By buying these pins badges, I'm helping the people affected by this disaster. By wearing these pin badges on my lapel, I can bring attention to this unique & worthy effort and be reminded to keep hope alive as I pray for my homestay students and the people of Japan.

There are many more designs on their website. I hope you will check them out and place an order if you can. Every little bit will help.

Also, I hope you will continue to pray for the people of Japan as they face the daunting and overwhelming task of rebuilding their lives!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Homestay Mama

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cause for Celebration

May I brag a little?
My homestay students are very smart young men! They are the creme de la creme! They study long hours. They ace their exams. And, at the end of each quarter, they come home with top grades.

This is Toshi from Japan. He is a junior at our local University majoring in psychology. With a major like that, you can imagine his classes are pretty tough. On top of that he's studying in a class full of Americans and English is his second language. He burned a lot of midnight oil this past quarter, studying and writing 'umpteen' papers. Many nights on my way to bed, I noticed the light in his room still shining out from under his door. Today he got his grades for last quarter--straight A's in all his classes!

This is Abdul from Saudi. Three months ago he came to Seattle to learn English at the local University. When he first arrived, I used simple English words and he used his translator a lot. But he's been learning by leaps and bounds! We can now carry on a normal conversation and he no longer needs the translator. He has just graduated from ESL level one to ESL level two. I am truly amazed at his progress!

So bring on the ice cream! This is cause for celebration!

Congratulations, Abdul and Toshi, you are the best!


Your very proud Homestay Mama

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Big Hindrance

I've been trying to blog. Honest, I have.
Scout's honor.

But, I've run into a big hindrance....

a black, hairy, twelve-pound hindrance!
Notice Teddy Bear's head and left paw in the next three pictures....
as he adjusts his position....
to find a more comfortable spot!
"Hey, where are you going?"

I'm giving up. I'll try again next week... or next month....or whenever I get another break in my busy schedule.


Homestay Mama