March 16, 2011

Last year, my daughter Danica was working with international students.Although I knew we couldn’t have anyone live with us for long periods of time, since it would crimp my painting,Jim and I both are happy to help out and have foreign students or teachers stay with us for short periods of time.We were lucky to meet teachers from China and students from Korea, Japan, Italy and Germany.This morning, when I answered the telephone, a little voice, said “Joy, It’s Soo.”Soo is back in Korea now but she was in Canada for a year and half. When she arrived in Canada, she was just eight.We managed to get to know Soo right after her first school year here, when she was without a home to stay in until summer camp started.Our littleSoo arrived to stay for a week or so.I’m still incredulous that education is so important that families would send their young children away for such a length of time.Soo had to be precocious to survive.We had hosted other much older students who because of shyness had a very hard time adjusting to our strange Canadian culture and language.After a year in our school system, Soo spoke wonderful English, she exuded confidence and she delighted in being with us.She trained our dog and us.When my youngest daughter, Yolande, was little I would lay down beside her every night and make up astory for her.Often I would doze off and she would elbow me to keep on talking.When a story was “magic” she would always ask to have it retold but usually I couldn’t remember anything about it.I started making up and telling new stories to Soo every night.She loved them.This morning when Soo called she said it was bedtime in Korea and she called for me to tell her a story.I was touched.I put down my paint brushes and told her to get comfy and told her the story of “Peawee, the very tiny dog“.