21 years ago, I met my homestay family for the first time. They were the nicest and tallest family I have ever met.
I barely spoke any English, but it didn’t matter. They welcomed me like family.
I was a 12-year old, super shy 4 feet Asian boy, but it didn’t matter to my 17-year old 6 feet 2 homestay brother M. He took me under his wing and showed me how it’s done in the western world.
They taught me so many valuable lessons in life. In fact, they made 1996 – 1997 the best childhood year in my life!
After that year, my mom came to pick me up and moved to a big city.
I still remember a brief conversation with Brother M before I left…
Brother M: “Jacky, you have to come visit us next year”
Jacky: “My mom won’t let me. I will come visit you guys when I grow up.”
Brother M: “It will be very different by then!”
Unfortunately, life got really tough for my family and we kept moving from place to place. Eventually, I lost contact with my homestay family because they also moved away from the small town.
From time to time, I would eagerly search for their names on the internet to no avail….But I never gave up.
Until recently, I FOUND THEM!!! All thanks to Brother M finally registering for a Facebook account.
Amy and I quickly booked our plane tickets to see them.
For the first time ever in 20 years, I reunited with my homestay family. You can imagine the flood of emotions going through each of our minds.
They are still super tall. Just like old times, they welcomed me & Amy like family. We even got to meet their 12-year old 5 feet 11 grandkid.
We spent HOURS chatting, laughing at the funny stories, and reminiscing the good old times. Gallons of happy tears were shed in those three days.
Brother M: “Hey Jacky, how much were the plane tickets?”
Jacky: “You are silly. We would come even if they were $5000.”
Hey Brother M, I kept my promise. 🙂 I just didn’t realize it would take me 20 years to grow up.
Happiness comes from the simplest form in life. People & Connections.
Amy & I brought along two Instant Pots and some toys as gifts.
Auntie D (homestay Mom) unpacked the Instant Pot and immediately whipped up a comforting bowl of split pea soup for us.
While Auntie D handed me the soup, she said, “Thank you for the gift Jacky. I love it. This pot is so much easier than my old pressure cooker.”
No Auntie D. I should be the one saying thank you. Words cannot describe how blessed I am to be your homestay son. Thank you for all the wonderful memories you have created in my life.
Thank you for the “gives”, my homestay family.
It was so difficult to say goodbye. But we know we will meet again.
We promise we won’t wait another 20 years. 🙂
Jacky has learnt so much from them – their generosity, care & love for others, warm hospitality…
We are deeply touched and inspired by this loving family that keeps on giving. Without them, Jacky wouldn’t be who he is today.
This Christmas, we are launching this #ChristmasGive Challenge to honor this extraordinary family who showed us what it’s like to generously give and love strangers like family.
Happiness is a gift that keeps on giving. Happiness is contagious, and it multiplies.
What is the #ChristmasGive Challenge?
2017 was a tough year for some of us. Hurricanes, earthquakes, loss of loved ones, illness, the list can go on forever. And it doesn’t help when we’re bombarded with negativity and terrorizing news.
So, we’ve decided to try something new & exciting with you.
For the whole month of December, we’ll publish a series of new Instant Pot Food Gift Recipes.
Our hope is to encourage you to make these delicious homemade gifts for your family, friends, or even strangers.
We don’t know where this will go, but together, we can (and we will!) spread some love and happiness in our local communities.
Come join us! 🙂
Together we can make our world a better place. Share Happiness One #ChristmasGive at a time
How can I Participate?
1. Think of Someone in Need
It can be neighbors who have families far away, seniors living alone, international students, waitress at your favorite restaurant, delivery guy, nursing homes, caregivers, teachers…anyone you’d like to appreciate.
Just imagine the smile you’ll bring to their faces 🙂
2. Make Them a #ChristmasGive!
Pick a recipe & make it! You can even get creative and host a #ChristmasGive party with your friends.
*Note: we’ll continue to update this list as we publish our New #ChristmasGive Recipes throughout December.