When I studied abroad in France, I lived with a host family. The French word for host family is famille d’accueil, literally “welcome family”. My host family took this role very seriously. The day I arrived, they threw a huge party and invited all their friends to come meet their awkward, sleep deprived, jet-lagged American daughter. From the moment I was picked up from the airport, I was woven seamlessly into their family, participating in every meal and family event, voting on selections for movie night and my favorite- baby sitting.
One day, my host mom asked me to help my four year old host brother to make a quiche. I agreed, expecting to do most of the work while he helped mix or find spices. I was terribly wrong. Upon entering the kitchen, Nils asked me to turn on the oven and dice an onion for him- he’s not allowed to touch the oven or knives. I happily complied. He looked over my shoulder as I prepared the onion. “Those pieces look big, maybe you should mince it?”. I raised an eyebrow. What four year old knows the word for mince? He was lucky I knew the word for mince. He went back to discussing the plot of Ice Age 4, and I returned to my onion.