After a confusing first-meeting with a couple who wasn’t our family, we finally met the ones we are assigned to. I’m not sure if they were informed that we were coming, however, because when the wife answered the door she seemed very confused. We stood in the doorway for a few minutes trying to communicate that where we were from, but she didn’t speak much English. After we got through the first communication challenge and went inside, she made a phone call and soon after a man came in and translated for her and for us. This made everything go a bit smoother, but they were all very quiet and I wasn’t exactly sure how to fill in (what I was thinking were) the awkward silences.
We talked a bit back and forth about how long they had been in Chicago and what jobs they held. Their daughter is going to school and learning numbers, and she seemed to be catching onto English very well. The family friend (translator) told us that both he and the husband worked at sushi restaurants, but worked long hours quite often with little pay–he referred to how tired he always felt periodically. After about a half an hour the husband came home, and his English was a bit better, though I think he may have had a harder time understanding us then he let on. When we asked them if they needed anything in particular, they’re first concern was their daughter. He said that when she had questions on her homework, he wasn’t always able to help her because it was all in English. We told them that we could help their daughter as well as them, but I’m not sure if they understood exactly what we were saying. In any case, they both seemed very happy that we could help the daughter with her homework, and equally as grateful when we told them that we would be coming back the next week.
All in all it was a good and completely different experience–I think the biggest challenge will be figuring out how to adjust to their shyness without seeming too aggressive or imposing, and also break though the common problem of the language barrier. I’m interested to see how things will unfold, and very excited to make progress!