Today was our second full day with Penny. She was up early before any of us, and was on the computer by 7:00AM, which made me a little wary that maybe we’d be developing a problem. Compounding that, I received a letter from TMom (as I’m calling Penny’s mom in Thailand) asking me not to let Penny on the computer so much.
I decided it was more of a boredom issue, so after breakfast, Penny gave Leah some gifts and then I got the family together and we took Penny on a tour of our town. There is not much about the Civil War and Colonial America that interests a teenager, particularly one from another country, but we muddled through. I may take her on the town trolley tour sometime in the next three weeks before school starts. We’ll see. Afterwards, we went to Wegman’s to show her a great grocery experience, as she wanted to get some things for when she cooks for us for my birthday party on Saturday. We had a bit of a struggle finding all the ingredients, so finally we agreed to go to the Asian market tomorrow. She did get a microwave “Taste of Thai” meal, which was good because I was getting nervous that she did not eat very much at all.
We got home and she fixed the Thai food and I tried some. It was definitely on the spicy side! But she loved it and ate it right up and remarked how good it smelled. It must be hard to be faced with everything, right down to food, being so different. Tomorrow we will invest in a bunch of those things if it will make her happy. She is definitely a teen. At the store, she asked if we could get some sweets, so I agreed. She chose skittles, Andy Capp potato chip thingers, and Sour Patch Glow-Worms. I have never in my life eaten an Andy Capp potato chip thinger, and it took a girl from Thailand to make sure my life did not pass without the experience. As you might expect, Leah loved them. Penny said, “I love American junk food!” :-D
We got done with that and I decided it was game time. I got Mike upstairs and we broke out our CLR dice game, which we played for Swedish fish. Penny beat us twice. :-) Then we broke out Yahtzee, and guess what? She defeated us again. As Mr. Miagi would say, “You beginner luck!” It was not even close. She had something like 260 points and I had 180 and Mike had 210 or so. Crazy!
Then she asked if I would let her use the stereo, by which she meant the DVD player. Her friends at home made a DVD for her, so we put it in and she sat on the sofa and laughed and tried to explain what was going on. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of kids unleashed on a beach resort in Thailand, and they were having a blast! Then the DVD cut to her school and all the kids made messages for her to say how much they loved her and would miss her, and two of her teachers even were on there. By the time it was over, I was in tears, but Penny was just fine. It made her happy. I went upstairs to collect myself and Mike told her we had made a DVD of Leah’s first year, so she asked to see it and we watched that. Then we had lunch and I asked her about the Wii. She said no.
Here’s the thing. I think AFS must tell these kids that saying yes all the time is not going to work out. So consequently, Penny says no. :-D Here’s what no means:
2. I do not want you to go to the trouble on my behalf (in answer to such things as “can I fix you a drink?”)
3. I do not know what you are talking about
So for now, I’m not taking no for an answer. When she said no about playing the Wii, I said OK, and I went upstairs to play, since Leah was napping. About 5 minutes later, Penny came in and sat to watch. About 2 minutes after that, I handed her a Wiimote and asked her if she wanted to play. We played Raving Rabbids for about 20 minutes and then we played Super Mario Brothers for Wii for 3 hours, and laughed our heads off. We took a brief intermission to cook dinner together (cheesy orzo and shrimp scampi) and after we cleaned up, back at it! We were making so much noise Mike was afraid we’d wake up Leah!
Finally, Penny admitted she was tired, so we said good night and she went up to bed. Meanwhile, I emailed an acquaintance down the road who I know has a daughter at Stafford High and she is going to see if her daughter will meet up with Penny and introduce herself to some other people. They host a lot of foreign students, so I know she has experience. Another friend has offered to introduce Penny to the kids in her youth group, and on Tuesday our neighbor in the back is coming over to babysit Leah and meet Penny. So I think she will start to feel much less lonely.
Meanwhile I will continue to make some plans for our time together for the next 3 weeks, because after that it is going to go quick. I’m trying to decide if I can squeeze in a trip to Rhode Island/Boston or not, with my physical therapy schedule (probably not, darnit!). I will take her to DC a couple of times, we’re taking her bowling and to trivia, the mall is nearby, and we’ll see what else I can come up with. She is a great gal with an amazing laugh (I already know I am going to miss that laugh like crazy), and today was a real icebreaker, so I am happy that things are continuing to go well. :-)
Tomorrow is spaghetti day. We literally have 10 pounds of tomatoes dropped off by well-meaning neighbors and friends. (Seriously, I do NOT need any tomoatoes, ok?) Penny says her special food is spaghetti, so I’m going to try my hand at homemade marinara sauce. We are also going to the Asian market, as I said. It should be a great day.