And now for the international perspective

A few weeks ago, an announcement was made in church about a choir concert that our church would be hosting. Called the Voices United Choir, it consisted of a dozen or so Moroccan young people and a dozen or so Kentuckians. Our church was one stop among many, and housing was needed while the group was in town.

J & I were thinking about volunteering to be a host home, when I thought we should probably ask A what he thought, since, you know, he shares our house and all. When I finally remembered to ask him, he said, “Well, yeah,” as if it were obvious. “I just assumed we would.” I like that about him.

So we volunteered to host. The concert was last weekend, and it was really quite fantastic, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. Nor am I going to write about how I didn’t really feel like having strangers in our house since we just got the bathroom usable upstairs, we had company the night before, we had a lot of plans the rest of the weekend, I had just survived the second week of school, etc. But I got over myself eventually. (I wrote earlier what a grump I’ve been.)

Originally, we were supposed to host two members of the choir from Morocco, but for various reasons, only one stayed with us on Friday night. He was quite a character, and we enjoyed talking with him, despite somewhat of a language barrier. He told us about the town where he lived, and we drove him around our little town (he found it startlingly quiet). He told us about his family, we told him about ours. He took pictures of everything–even took pictures of our pictures. He ate our pancakes and put lots of sugar in his tea, a man after my own heart. He gave us four Moroccan placements as a “thank you” gift for letting him sleep there. He stayed on Facebook and Skype until the wee hours of the morning, and changed the language on our internet browser to French. All of that to say, I’m really glad we got to spend some time with him.

But, really, even that’s not the main point of my post. This is: on the way home that first night, I asked him if he’d ever been to the US before, and he hadn’t. Then I asked him what he thought of it so far. His answer? “It’s just like in the movies.” Really, I thought? Can that be? So I asked him what his first impression of Americans was, and he answered, “There really wasn’t a first impression, because they are just like in the movies.” Then he proceeded to give an example–their “bus” driver (who was really driving a big white church van) who picked them up from the airport was driving along and eating at the same time. “Just like in the movies.” We laughed and talked about how it is true that Americans do all sorts of things when they’re driving that they shouldn’t, and he told us how much more attention you have to pay to the road in order to drive in Morocco because there are so many people around all the time. As a result, this feature of American drivers really stood out to him.

Saturday morning, we drove downtown to walk around for a few minutes before he had to be back at the church, and since it was a last-minute idea, J and I took our hot tea “to go.” We grabbed our ceramic mugs and got into the car, it being such a short jaunt over to town. After a few minutes, our guest piped up from the back seat, “See, just like in the movies, you are driving and drinking your tea.”

Oh dear. I hope we’re not just like in the movies.