Wei lived in China until he was 6, and has lived the last 12 years in Italy with his family. He clearly carries a strong cultural connection to his Chinese heritage, but his Italian-ness is unmistakable.
And here I am, walking around my back yard with him in a small field in mid-Maine, discussing our philosophical views of life.
He asked me what my hopes for the future are - a very nice and unusual question to come from a teenager to a middle aged mom - and I asked him the same. He is interested in a lot of things -- computers, the outdoors (intriguing combination). But money makes him wary. He has been taught somewhere along the way that money as a life pursuit will not lead to happiness, so he only wants to earn just enough to be comfortable. What is really important, he said, is to follow your dreams- and have time for things like this walk around the back yard.
Well. Nicely put. And perhaps there is a story there that would help explain his family's move from China to Italy. It's too bad I won't have more time to get to know Wei and the three girls that have spent this weekend with us. Still - the window to the world that we did get has been illuminating.
I am so grateful to all of the people who volunteer so many hours of their time to make this student exchange program happen. I highly recommend it to anyone -- AFS.
I finally got some pictures of our mallard pair. The camouflage of the female is just amazing. Very hard to spot her.
And I got another, better shot of my mystery bird, whose identity I have guessed as tufted titmouse, female cardinal or blue jay, or perhaps a junco. There is unquestionably a slight crested head, though you can't see it here. I still don't feel certain. I'll have to keep saving my pennies for a nicer camera.