Ruth Buckinger and Peter Carroll (Summer 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013)
Summer 2009 was our first experience as a MASSIE host family. We expected to enjoy a pleasant cultural exchange. What we were unprepared for was how thoroughly delightful the experience would be.From our first meeting, our two MASSIE girls, Chihiro and Yumi, made a positive impression. They were unfailingly polite and respectful. They were also cheerful, appreciative, enthusiastic and curious. As we were getting to know each other we went on a few outings (a high school musical, a Moncton shopping trip, a foray to Frenchy’s, a picnic at the beach), but mostly we just relaxed together at home, sharing meals and good conversation. The girls quickly made themselves at home: cooking, eating, napping, laughing, teasing and being teased. They fit right in and brightened our lives. Our original commitment to MASSIE was to meet with the girls at least once a month. But spending time together was such a pleasure that we ended up getting together almost every week.
By the time we had to say our reluctant good-byes, the girls had both become very dear to us. In May we said hello to MASSIE students, but in August we said good-bye to new-found daughters. As Yumi and Chihiro wrote in their farewell card, “We are family.” We wholeheartedly recommend the MASSIE host family experience. To us it was an unexpected gift.
Jon Parsons & Carla VanBeselaere (Summer 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
How to explain why we keep coming back to be a Massie family.... Can you remember the excitement you felt the first time you went camping? Or how about the first time you first picked strawberries? How about the first time you encountered a live moose? If you are like me, those were pretty exciting maritime moments which have pretty much become old hat now. But with the Massie students you get to re-experience those "first moments" through their eyes. They remind you about what a wonderful place the maritimes are. Their excitement is contagious.
Choosing to be a host family in the MASSIE Program is one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences that you could give yourselves. Perhaps the first question that most prospective families ask would be, “What will we do with the students?” We have found our best times have happened when we simply included them in our everyday plans. Most of our summer is spent at our cottage on the Northumberland Strait, surrounded by family and friends. Overnight stays at the beach; drives to local “touristy” places (Pugwash’s Gathering of the Clans, the Balmoral Grist Mill, Cape Jourimain and the Confederation Bridge Interpretive Centre); motorboat trips to see the seals along the coastline; visiting with our friends, children and grandchildren; swimming in the icy waters and playing in the kayaks; sampling regional foods (lobster is a highlight); learning about local crafts; cooking Canadian and Japanese meals together; all of these activities give the students insights into our culture and way of life. Even better they give us an opportunity to get to know them better. Once they overcome their initial shyness and we assure them that all questions are acceptable, we usually have “frank and open” discussions that allow us a glimpse of their ways of thinking and being. We cherish the ongoing contact that we have with some of the students from earlier summers: emails, pictures and visits. For us summer includes MASSIE students.
Nev & Janice Garrity (Summer 2004)
Our family experience with the Massie program in the summer of 2004 turned out to be much more rewarding than we could have ever imagined. We were the host family to two wonderful Japanese girls who quickly became part of our family and we grew very close to them as the summer went on. During that time, we enjoyed their company through regular visits and outings, occasional overnight stays, day trips and a couple of weekend trips to Fredericton to visit friends. The two girls enjoyed spending time with our 18 year old daughter and 15 year old son and particularly enjoyed getting to know their friends. Their return to Japan was heart wrenching for both the girls and our family as we thought we would never see each other again. Much to our delight, the girls have since returned to Canada twice to visit with us and we continue to be in touch with one of them regularly by email. We would highly recommend the Massie host family experience!