For the past few months now, Brian has been attending his school's Mathcounts training every Monday and Wednesday. It's not quite training, they just do lots of questions and these are then marked, tabulated, and 3 school teams (of 4 members each) are formed at the end of the selection process. The teams then compete against other teams from other countries in the CEESA (Central and Eastern European Schools Association) Mathcounts competition. (Mathcounts is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting math excellence among middle school math students.)
This is Brian's first time competing in Mathcounts as this is his first year in Middle School. I believe all 12 members of the school's Mathcount team this year are Koreans except for Brian and his best buddy Eric K.
Anyway, this year, AAS is hosting the competition. Brian was disappointed to say the least, because if it had been hosted by another school, he would have been able to travel overseas. Last year, the venue was Belgrade.
So the school asked parents to help host these kids coming from overseas. I thought it was only fair that we did our part, as another family would have taken care of Brian if he had gone overseas. We were allocated 2 korean boys, E and Hoon, from International School of Prague.
The two boys I got are lovely :) They are well-spoken, polite, and took very little time to bond with Brian. Xbox helped a lot! I really enjoyed talking to them and learning about their lives, both in Korea and in Prague. The entire contingent from Prague was made up of Koreans except for one Russian girl. Who'd have known there were so many Koreans in Prague! I asked, "Samsung?" haha, cos most of the Korean folks here work either in Samsung or LG...they replied, "No...Hyundai." Ahhh...
The first night, I prepared some Chinese dishes, soup and restaurant-bought kimchi. Here are the 3 Amigos, from left E a 6th grader, Hoon a 7th grader and Brian.
When Eddie met the two boys, he said to me, "Wah...they look so smart. How is Brian gonna compete?" haha...in any case, the boys weren't even in any competition mood, they spent all night playing xbox. I had to insist they slept at 10pm as they needed to be up by 630 am on Friday, the first day of competition.
Playing xbox all night.
Day 1 of competition lasted till after lunch, and the kids were taken on a tour to Red Square. Pick-up time from school was about 5pm. When they got back, the first thing they did was head for the room! Xbox again. Only stopped to have dinner, pizza this time, very yummy Ham & Mushroom and Carbonara Pizza...yes, Carbonara Pizza, very delicious. They alternated between xbox, going on the computer, then tinkering with the guitar and bonded really well. Refused to sleep till almost 11pm.
So today, Saturday, is the team event. With yesterday's scores combined with the team score, the top 10 participants then compete in a Countdown round, where you need to buzz to answer the questions. The boys then leave for Museum of Cosmonautics.
We pick them up at 730pm from school and plan to take them for burger at my favourite restaurant Goodman. I'm sure they'll be playing xbox all night again, and tomorrow we bid them farewell. I'm really glad to have hosted these boys, it's a good experience, I would do it again anytime.
Just hope they don't catch any bug from Sean...