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CIH: Reflections from a Volunteer

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

[The following is a blog written by Ethel Ware Carter, long time friend and volunteer with AMIS. Undoubtedly, CIH changes everyone, students and volunteers alike. Join us this year in hosting students over the Christmas Holiday. Learn more at ]

Hard to believe it has been 4 years since Shu Ping and LiPing spent Christmas at our house in Atlanta. Two students from Taiwan who were far away from home at holiday time. I'd not planned to actually house students rather just to help get the word out about Christmas International House and AMIS. I had failed to realize that my daughter away at college actually thought I was participating in every item in the eNewsletter the Regional Council of Churches was putting out. "When are our international guests coming?" she asked.

Before you could say "bah humbug," we were changing sheets, clearing drawer space, and picking up two delightful young women from Taiwan. The presence of Shu Ping and LiPing was a gift like no other. When they heard I was driving two hours up to North Georgia to visit my father, they both exclaimed that they wanted to meet the grandfather, and they went with me even knowing they would be driving back up there on Christmas Eve.

They helped cook everything. And ate heartily things they had never seen before. They loved the dogs and found them always amusing.

They had a delightful afternoon at a Taiwanese market with our friend.

They brought back treats we did not know to add to the feast.

They were fascinated by our neighbor's display of inflatables- 39 larger than life figures in dubious taste. We see them now with new eyes and are glad they are among us.

They were invited to a neighbor's glorious open house where they were greeted like long lost relatives.

Shu Ping developed a bad sore throat the day after she arrived and when she found me in the kitchen cooking up a hen for some therapeutic chicken soup she cried because no one had cooked a chicken for her since her grandmother died.

Christmas afternoon they sat on the sofa with my 91-year-old mother-in-law and just listened to her stories. They were not just respectful- they valued the presence of the oldest members of our family.

Before the group went back to school,

we were treated to a grand feast of food from all the lands the AMIS visitors came from and a delightful performance of music, dance, and skits.

We are all Facebook friends. LiPing is home and ShuPing is still in school and cooking beautiful things. Two years ago Shu Ping brought some friends to meet us when she came through town. She brought us miniature good luck lanterns for the Christmas tree.

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