Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Host Family Experience

Your stay with a host family is a very important part of your experience in England, and every English family, no matter how dysfunctional, will do their utmost to make you feel part of their crumbling social institution.

Whilst I cannot promise that you will be able to share every intimate moment of their daily lives (thankfully), a few tips on how to make the most of the unique British way of life will help you to be very happy with your host family, and allow you to escape with all your possessions when you leave.

What you get is:

Meals - breakfast and dinner, Monday to Friday, plus lunch at weekends. This is your chance to get acquainted with some of the choicest microwave meals available from Iceland, so be sure to make the most of it.

Bedroom – Clean and tidy; with a desk, a heater, and several secret compartments suitable for hiding a wide range of cash and/or private substances.

Showers - One shower or bath a day, about 15 minutes each day. If you are an early riser, you can take much longer.

Laundry - You can usually wash your clothes at your host family. They may ask you to wash theirs too, so learn how to use a washing machine before you venture out to the UK.

Ironing - Ask your family if you can use their iron - if they know what one is. Use mime and motioning gestures if your request results in acute incomprehension.

Keys – Don't forget to ask your family for a door key. They may have several keys to different front doors on the estate, so just make sure you get the right one. If you find the door locked and are unable to rouse the semi-comatose residents indoors, just remove a few window panes and enter quietly. The youngest member of the house will probably be able to demonstrate this to you in a spare moment.

Going out - Tell your family if you will be late home. They will probably lock the front door anyway (if it has one), so be sure to practice bunking in through windows beforehand (see above).

Telephone - You can receive calls at your host family, if you can locate the handset. DO NOT make calls without asking first, otherwise you might find yourself needing to make an unexpected call for an ambulance.

Letters - You can safely use your host family address to receive letters, as few of your surrogate siblings will be able to read.

Sandy's Top Tips for having a happy stay with your host family:

Always speak to your host family - even if they ignore you.

Do what your host family do - watch lots of daytime TV, drink super lager, and blame everything on the neighbours, immigrants, or “that 'orrible fuckin' slag” at the DSS.

Learn POLITE English and use it - you might get to teach your family something useful, after all.

Tell your family if you will not be home to eat, as it will save them a shoplifting trip to Iceland.

Tell your family if you are going away for a weekend - otherwise they might not notice at all.

Don't Offer to pay something if you go out to a bar or for a meal with your family. It would be considered rude, and would slow down the dash for the exit considerably.

Follow their House Rules – if they have any.

Speak to them if you have a problem. Learn the phrase “Am I fuckin' bovvered?” first, though.

Keep your bedroom tidy and make your bed. Otherwise one of the family's dogs (or an “uncle”) might come and sleep in it.

Lock your bedroom door (see above), especially if you don't want to see your own clothes on sale at the local market the following weekend.

Wash your clothes – you'll probably have to, as your host family won't know how to work the washing machine (unless you show them - see above).

Above all, enjoy the time that you spend with your host family, and cherish every moment you spend with each member. After all, you might never see them again, as when you return the following year, most of them will probably be 'away' for a few months or so.

16 comments:

Alex Case said...

Very accurate. I showed Nil by Mouth to a group of Advanced students at EF in Waterloo, and two of them said "That's where we live. That's our host family"

Anonymous said...

You could avoid all these problems simply by booking yourself into Windsor Edwardian, one of Britain's most charming B&B establishments. Apparently the staff are wonderful. I notice on their website that the entire ground floor has now been converted to bedrooms (The Garden Room, anyone?!). So, plenty of space, and lots of late availability.

Friends of Windsor said...

Yes, lots and LOTS, or so I hear! I'm surprised Paul Lowe, the very same Windsor Weasel himself, hasn't wised up to this "nice little earner" already. Or perhaps he's going for a different class of clientele altogether - asylum seekers?!

Shaun Ryder said...

Aye, it would be nice to go to that 'otel. You could 'ave a lovely night out: loads of Guinness, a vegetarian vindaloo an' a load of proons for afters. Then more Guinness. In the mornin' there's no need to mess about - juss squat on the new bed an' let rip, there Paul: is it a massive pile of quivering, stinkin' shite or is it your fookin' business plan?

Anonymous said...

And THUS the multi-headed hydra of tefl raises its drug-addled bonces one by one, each braindead cranium woken by the slurred HOWLING of the adjacent tefler. Each zero-rated non spark desperate to add his TUPPENY HAPENNY libel to the sum. Well, TEFLzombies, I gave you a prophecy and still you IGNORED me. I gave you an ULTIMATUM and you slithered on with your amoeba-celled mockery. NOW I GIVE YOU A PROMISE. Cease your mockery by 20th February inst, this date is set down in my agenda and is advanced towards daily. Otherwise my creature, my agent of HUBRIS and his attendant WORKER BEES will be visited upon you. No ifs, no dodges from the chavvy scum of TEFL, no wheedling to lawyers or PR agents, your friends in the GUARDIAN or other slack-jawed low life. 20th FEB. AND your kangaroo court holds no peril for me, have you forgotten that I am unfettered by the quotidian bonds that you thrive on, WAGE SLAVES. THIS is not a threat, it is a promise of action against every one of your illiterate hydra heads.
BY THE WAY I am not PAUL LOWE.

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA the silence of fear, of vanquished poltroons nabbed in the act. FEB TWENTEEE YESSEEE put it in yer calendar if you can lift the pen your lop-eared schoolmarm threw you on the street wiv.

Oliver Twist said...

Feb. 20th? OK, we'll ALL be ready for you, Paul! Oh, but you're NOT Paul Lowe, are you - not today, anyway.

We DO remember, of course, that the last time you gave us an 'ultimatum' like this, Paul, you faked your own suicide attempt. Can we expect the real thing this time?

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Ah, well if it's not the infamous WINDSOR SWINDLER then it must be the READING RANTER, as the ISP turns out to be this:

62.255.240.# (Reading Borough Council (Library Project))

Anybody got any help to offer?

Shaun Ryder said...

Libraries 'ave always got some drooling fookin' flid sittin' about babblin' an' hootin' away among the daily papers, iss probly one of them.
Either that or coonty Paul's 'ospital is lettin' im out for the day to dribble an' spaz 'is way about the place. Thass re'ab. Iss for quitters.
Still, 20/02/09 looks like a fookin' excitin' day. I'll be skinnin' up 'specially.

Friends of Windsor said...

You're close, Shaunie. Paul pops in to the library after his weekly therapy sessions. Maybe it's part of his therapy, to dribble on like the spazz he is, eh?

Poor fucker. One day he's Napoleon, the next he's Jesus Christ. I guess on the 20th he'll be Winston Churchill. Oh well, it'll all end in tears, anyway ... for him, of course.

KMS said...

Sandy, you funny! Yes, that is real England! I leave Central London one time for trip. I never leave again!!!

Oliver Twist said...

Ah, Dr Kim, you mean you actually took a few steps outside of the walled city of London?

I guess you were headed for exotic New Malden, where the Korean expats live, and you could find a branch of the Seoul-based fast food franchise KFC (Korean Fried Cocker-spaniel) - am I right?

KMS said...

No, Sandy, I go to Birmingham for confrence. I stay downtown. At 11PM on Friday, I see so many stinky people, and drunk, lots of young, drunk prostitutes all over on street. Very cold and they wear almost no clothes! Some puke. And boys kill each other on street.

That is real England! I never hire British teachers, very violent, drunk, smelly and maybe prostitute. I never leave West London again!

Hmmm. Bulldog look tasty.

Anonymous said...

Given Paul Lowe's negligible mental state [more 'normal'life in a radiation sickness-infected Chernobyl whore's minky],might i suggest a better and more sadistic way to cure his farting in church?
That picture of TDC reminds me of something vile that i 'did' after Notting Hill Carnival-as well as a row with my good lady wife and eight cans of 'Pig Fucker Super'.Factor in a mental picture of a female version of TDC with black hair and too much eye-liner,and you get the general idea.As well as an idea of what 'anti-social diseases'it might have.
Heeding the advice of my father,a former orificer in the Royal Regiment of Cocksmen to' keep your powder dry', i used the traditional Fredrickson condom-a Tesco bag and hairy string.
I may take the frow in question to Paul's hotel,do the indoor wheelbarrow all night,and,when Pained Paul comes for his money in the morning,point to the Amy Wino look-alike sitting leering at him , spit in Paul's face and hand him some Zimbabwean dollars.
'I stuffed it without a johnny on.Your money will be the least of your worries after a blood test.' i'd say.Cue Paul Lowe's final descent into gibbering madness at being conned and having biological warfare used on him!
William Frederickson-so hard that he doesn't get diseases ,but diseases suffer from him.

Shaun Ryder said...

Aye, but wass a 'frow', that The Baron, lad?

Anonymous said...

'Frow?' An archaic term for a minger,slapper,crack whore or easy
fuck,Shaun.

William Frederickson