At first it was very difficult for him as he just didn't understand various things in this country. He is a Muslim & so struggled with some parts of the English culture.
He couldn't understand why we needed so many police officers & especially why we needed so many prisons & was astounded when we told him that our prisons were full to bursting.
He was more than a little bit surprised when he saw what most girls would wear out in town of an evening too.
So he did struggle for a little while to settle in to the British way of life & as a family we realised this & tried to make him feel as comfortable as possible.
There were many amusing moments (he'd never seen a radiator before he'd come to stay with us & had no idea what they were or why we'd need them. Come the middle of Winter he was turning the heating up to almost maximum as he felt cold nearly all the time!)
After the 11 months with us I had a really good friendship with him & it was difficult saying goodbye to him as because he was a strict Muslim, he is not allowed physical contact with any female outside of his immediate family.)
We stayed in touch with him for a few months but didn't hear anything from him & just thought that he had his own life to lead & was probably studying hard.
About three weeks ago I got a strange number come up on my caller display & I don't like answering strange calls. Particularly when it is 10/11 at night & so I text this number to ask who it was & it turned out to be our old student.
He's spent the last 3 years or so trying to track us down. He couldn't find me on Facebook. We'd moved house & so our old number wasn't in use. Somehow, he'd saved my email address wrongly & he had no idea where we might be.
By utter chance he found my mobile number in one of his old student notebooks.
He's now studying in Brighton & apparently, his host family there are nowhere near as lovely to live with as we are (he obviously has a strange taste in host families!) & he was so pleased at having tracked us down he travelled down from London on Sunday morning, after seeing U2 at Wembley on the Saturday night, spent a few hours with us & then had to get the train back to London & then on to Brighton.
He is still as lovely as I remember but he's lost his boyish looks & grown in to a man. He's become a lot more Westernised & whereas before, I couldn't even shake his hand, this time he gave me, my sisters & my mum a hug goodbye.
He also bought me a CD compilation that he knew I'd like (he remembered my taste in music) & a perfume for my mum that he went to the effort to smell rather than just buy the prettiest bottle!
His family have invited us over to stay with them in Saudi which I'd like to do. I'd just be really worried about offending anyone or doing something that would offend their Country or culture.
His mother epsecially thinks A was spoilt with us. She wrote a letter to us after A's stay & thanked the family for making him feel so welcome & for looking after him so well. Too well apparently as he expected the same when he got back home & was rudely awakened by his mother telling him he was back to reality now & no longer on holiday which was rather amusing to hear.
It was just so lovely to see him again & know that he is well & is doing well with his studies. He goes back to Jeddah this week so he found us just in time as he's unlikely to be back in England for at least another two years.
He lived with us for so long that he has become a second brother to me & has become part of the family & it is fantastic that everything is working out for him as he'd hoped. He's far too nice for it to go pear shaped.