Episode 2: The One About Erin

In this episode, Mary interviews Erin.  We talk about how we first met, reminiscing about Erin’s high school experience of being a homestay sister, and we dissect a day in her family’s crazy life to reveal how her students are the best part of her day.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Mary has a bubble. Always ask permission before touching her. Also, poking the bubble (or attempting to poke the bubble) makes her nervous. Things Erin has learned from many years of friendship! And yes, Mary’s nostrils really did flare.
  • We met when we worked in radio and have known each other for 15 years. When Erin does math she thinks in terms of teenagers – we’ve known each other a whole grade 10 (high school) student!
  • Erin’s family decided to start hosting students after they moved to a bigger house. They’ve been hosting students for a little over a year now. With the exception of a couple of short-term summer placements, they’ve primarily hosted long-term high school students.
  • Erin grew up with a homestay sister, Harumi; they went to high school and one year of college together before Harumi went back to Japan.
  • Erin doesn’t remember Harumi ever going home for breaks. Since recording this episode, Erin has checked with her mother and Harumi did go home to Japan for Christmas and summer holidays, but Erin’s mother said Harumi was always so thankful to come back because she felt like their house was her home.
  • Erin & Harumi enjoyed a close sisterly relationship: fighting over the thermostat, makeovers, shopping, talking about boys and cooking together. Harumi also listened to/sang a lot of Celine Dion repetitively when the Titanic movie first came out.
  • They grew up together before the internet and social media. It’s much easier now to keep in touch with students.
  • Erin’s family = Erin + husband + 3 kids (10 and under) + 2 high school students (17 years). Mary thinks Erin’s family is chaotic.
  • Wednesday’s are Erin’s most hated days because she has to lace up (and unlace) three sets of ice skates for her kids skating lessons. Maybe she should stop binge watching New Girl the night before. Those half hour comedy shows get her every time.
  • Erin’s students are not hard – they are amazing, independent and wonderful. They are also the best part of her day.
  • Everyday Erin looks forward to her “me time” when she hangs out at Starbucks and plays crib with her really great friends – older mostly retired men. They’ve been playing together for four years and keep statistics on their games. They also play with jokers (and lately four extra 5’s which Erin is really excited about because lately she’s been getting a lot of 28’s).

  • Erin’s first student was a short-term placement; she was not confident speaking English. Her student immediately bonded with the family and immersed herself in the daily activities.
  • Feeding a family of 7 involves a lot of grocery shopping. Erin has her students write down what they do and don’t like (in addition to joining in on some grocery shopping trips). Mary liked this idea.
  • Erin’s husband Blake does most of the cooking. He is the master of putting something on the table that is nutritious and delicious in 20-30 minutes that everybody likes.
  • When Erin cooks she makes food that takes too long to prepare that 70% of the family will eat. They end up with freezer meals (2-3 lasagnas, 5 lbs. scalloped potatoes).
  • On nights when a home cooked meal can’t happen because of after school activities (baseball season), Erin recommends Thrifty Foods Tourtiere meat pies, and Shepherd’s pie.
  • Dinner time is the most joyous and challenging time. Lots of drama (children falling out of chairs), eyebrow raising, stories and sharing about everyone’s day.
  • Patience in a cup! Erin loves her chai. Extra hot no water please.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Lemony Snicket – The Hostile Hospital episode (butterflies in tummy)
Thrifty Foods – tourtiere pie
Robert Munsch – I have to go pee!

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“My students are not the hardest part of my morning… students are not hard. High school long-term students are not hard, they’re wonderful.” – Erin (12:44)

“Our coordinator in placing students in our home really, really looks at our interests of our family and of our kids and of our students and each other and we have had such success with students being placed in our home. So if you’re asking about the hated day, it has nothing to do with my students is what I’m getting to. My students are my best part about my day, always.” – Erin (17:27)