The Homestay CatBeijing, Fall 2009
Some people will tell you that final acceptance in a home stay will come when a homestay takes you to go see grandma, or when they start being more intimate with each other. It is my personal opinion that all of that is complete bollocks. Although yes, all of these as well as many other factors show that you are getting more and more connected with the family that you live with... I have finally found the best indicator of whether you are gaining true acceptance from this comes from the family cat. Mine for some odd reason does not enjoy foreigners, and have been either afraid of me or eating my fingers at every moment possible. She has made it perfectly clear that she does not trust me, nor want me around... but as of last week I was given a rare opportunity. Mimi (the cats name) actually came up to me and allowed me to, for the very first time, pet her. Success! I was given access to what is perhaps the single hardest part of my homestay to gain access to. Thusly, I have been able to better bond with my host father by watching politics and the news. I have been conversing with my host mother over dinner, and was introduced to several friends and family. I have truly started to feel at home here, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this homestay. I could write pages on my stories here and the family that I live with. For now, I will just say that it is by far the best part of my stay here in China, and it really gives me a better look into Chinese culture. All because the cat finally started to warm up to me.
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