By: Tatiana Jones
It’s something about a welcoming family, a welcoming community, that brings joy to my heart. During our trip in Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to do homestays with families that usually host immersion trip groups. At first, I was a little nervous about it because we had no idea who we were staying with and we had no clue what their homes looked like. But, all my skepticism went away after meeting the family and spending time with them.
Usually, when people allow you to come in and stay in their homes, the guests are really appreciative, which we were. But, the hosts were equally appreciative. The first thing they told us was to make ourselves at home, “Mi casa es su casa.” They made us dinner and even took us to a cool taco stand. They gave us a room to stay in for the few days. They enjoyed our company and loved hearing about what it’s like in our homes and at school and just getting a new perspective from outside of their community. Their fascination and open minds were happy to hear about our lives and we were happy to hear about theirs. The whole experience, being with another family was great.
There was one moment in particular that really touched my heart, though. One evening when we returned to the home, we were invited to go to their son’s baseball game (their son also went to Dolores Mission, the school we volunteered at). After winning the game, he came and said hi to us and said that he got the game ball. But, he said he wanted to give the game ball to us! My heart smiled. The night before, he told us that we were different from any of the other immersion groups that had came to stay with them, but it was a good different. We actually spent a lot of time with the family and we even stayed up talking to him about what college is like and what to expect. So, it made me happy that he appreciated our company so much that he was willing to give us his game winning baseball. He even signed it (just in case he goes pro).
This taught me that no matter the age, young or old, no matter the person, male or female, and no matter the community, privileged or not, the small things can make a big difference in someone’s life and can make them happy. Just meeting new people is a blessing and I hope that immersion groups in the future get to see the beauty of the family. It takes a big heart to be willing to welcome strangers into your home and have an open mind to new perspectives.
If the family I stayed with sees this, muchas gracias por todo!