Brandy and I both share an interest in other countries and cultures. This being said, she was right about me being a bit more methodical in my decision-making process in opening our home to Willy. Even with my slower approach though, the thought of hosting an exchange student was pretty exciting.

While I don’t want to portray the United States in a negative light — because I really do think at the end of the day our country is pretty great — many of our citizens tend to have a fairly narrow world view and limited exposure to people from other countries. I like to think that in my adult life I’ve been pretty good about keeping my eyes, ears and mind open when hearing about other’s points of view, but beyond our honeymoon spent in Germany and the Netherlands, and a cruise to Mexico I personally haven’t ventured much outside of our comfortable borders. While this opportunity doesn’t do much to fix my traveling to a different destination, it will definitely be a big step towards providing a new perspective on things. Not only that, our friends, family and the students at his school will also benefit from this exposure, and hopefully Willy will to.

Heck, if Willy were a teenager from Parma, Ohio staying with us for a year it would probably alter my perspective on a lot of things. The fact that he is from Italy is almost icing on the cake.

Once details fell into place regarding our hosting I started to think about everything I know about Italy and Italian culture. Turns out, it really isn’t all that much! Sure, during my Fine Art studies in college we naturally spent a lot of time covering the art and architecture of Italy during Art History classes. And I watched the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy (although I was routing for France… whoops!). Finally there is what Eddie Izzard has to say about Italians.

I’m of course exaggerating a little bit regarding the above paragraph but what I am ultimately trying to say is that I can’t wait to learn so much more about the culture, and do so in a manner that isn’t from a book, documentary, movie, stand-up comedian or Wikipedia entry. Maybe all of this unbridled optimism is just too optimistic, but I’m really looking forward to finding out.

Similar to what Brandy said, this ‘blogging’ thing will probably be a bit uneven, and a bit of a struggle at first. With a little luck though we’ll start to get the hang of it, and will be able to share our experience with everyone in a clear and articulate fashion.