We are still on the first week of being a host home to a really great Belgian student. But I still have several moments of panic each day.

On the first morning we had to get her to school there was some anxiety on my part because, well, you can’t spell Jaimie without a-n-x-i-e-t-y. Mr. Fleegan got her to school on time and everything was great. But as I got to work I was having a giant moment of self-doubt, “What were we thinking? I speak zero French! Can we really do this? Does she understand us? Do I say “OK” too much? Why are we even doing this? I am a failure.” You know, just a regular Tuesday morning.

So I said to God, I said, “Listen, Big Guy. I need some help. Like, how much help you were going to send me, double it, please? ALL THE HELP. I’ll take it. Thank you, Amen.”

Such beautiful prayers I pray.

I get to work and the VERY first patron I have is the very nice Vietnamese lady, who is also very high maintenance. She is very sweet, but she refuses to learn how to use the card catalog and wants us to basically pick out 10 AR books for her children. It’s usually kind of awkward because her accent is heavy and she can be very difficult to understand. Plus, she never brings her kids and it’s difficult to pick out books for kids who aren’t there.

So I’m like, great, right off the bat Tuesday is tryna be Monday. FINE.

I help Mrs. Phan, which was 20 minutes of me trying to explain that we only had three books about wrestling with a level 4 AR score, and that she has, in fact, checked them out before, and that I am very sorry that we don’t have any more wrestling biographies on her daughter’s reading level. And if you think for one second that I am not tickled to death that her tiny 4th grade daughter is obsessed with American wrestling, then you just don’t know me at all.

So eventually I find her 10 level 4 books on various other sports. She starts to leave, then turns back and says, “Thank you. I was glad to see you were here because I like when you help me because you always understand what I say, I don’t have to always repeat, and you are so nice.”

Well, I mean, how nice was that to hear? And it was such a nice reminder that yes, I do have a great knack for understanding heavy accents and broken English. And isn’t the Lord clever and loving?

So I am settling down a little bit, at least with my anxiety over the language gap with our Belgian Fleegan. Who, by the way, speaks really good English considering she’s never been here before.

My new worry is, “Oh my gosh, what if she gets hurt?”

I was talking to some pals at work (read: having a mini-meltdown) and I said, “This is crazy. They gave us a Belgian girl. I have no paperwork on her. I never had to sign anything. I don’t even know how to get in touch with her parents. Like, what the damn hell, this makes no kind of sense. What if something happens?! What if she gets kidnapped?! Who do I call?”

“Liam Neeson.”

“I hate you.”

“I know.”


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