I learned about the birds and the bees in 7th grade from one of my family's many foreign exchange students named Juliette Rabovski from Germany whose first time was on a bed of no, not roses, but crunchy leaves, bugs, and sticks deep in the woods of the Black Forest. Dang hippie German girl. She didn't shave her pits either. I was 12, she was 17, and, looking back, she was a little too eager to tell me about her woodsy sexcapades. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were sitting on the front porch, swinging. She was glamorously smoking a cig (funny, my dad smokes and it never seems glamorous when he does it) and teaching me Cranberries songs on the guitar. (Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to? Do you have to?) Then she busted out with the question: "Peyton, have you had sex?" Hold up, wait a minute, let me put some "No you idiot, I'm twelve" in it. But of course I didn't answer like that. I was too enamored by her glamorous cig smoking, Zombie singing ways to answer sensibly. Before I could babble out anything that sounded glamorous enough to fall on her ears, she started in. "I have. I have a boyfriend back home. We do it all the time out in the woods." Again, gross now, glamorous then. I'll save you the "glamorous" detes, but I will say this: it was probably much more detail than a 12 year old girl should hear.
I woke up thinking about Juliette from Germany this morning and that particular story. Then it made me start thinking about all of the other very peculiar students we hosted over the years. I truly do believe that my life is much richer because of these people and the experiences I had with them. Honest to goodness, that includes the experience of hearing about the birds and the bees from Juliette from Germany. Thank God she beat my parents to it because, holy crap, that would make for one extremely awkward convo. I should write Juliette from Germany a thank you note, should I not?
Juliette from Germany came to us through the foreign exchange program that my mom participated in. As far back as I can remember and up until I was 16, my family hosted foreign exchange students each year. There was Jennifer from Edinburgh, Scotland (she was crazy, like certifiably insane) and Christine from London, England (who came back on her accord about 5 years after we'd hosted her for a visit; loved her; she played dress up with me). Then there was Take (pronounced Tock-Ay) from Japan who almost burned our house down from wok cooking. Then Lynn Won Yong from Beijing, China (probably the tallest human being I have ever seen in my life). Then Mickey from Japan who I have NO remembrance of. Next came Simon from Macau, China. After Simon there was one other Asian guy who I can't remember his name. Then Juliette from Germany. And finally, Alvaro Jimenez from Huelva, Spain who blew all the others out of the water. He was awesome (and hot. I so had a mean crush on him.)
My mom hated Juliette from Germany, though, and after only of few months, sent her off to stay with another family out of town. That was okay by me. I got my bed back and could now impress people with my Zombie and Linger playing guitar skillz.