Photo courtesy of Michael Horner

Raul Esteves, left, from Brazil, at pasta class run by Chef Dez (Gordon Desormeaux). Raul is hosted by Michael and Diane Horner and their children in Abbotsford, British Columbia

We were blessed to have our new family member join us in August 2018. Raul entered our home for the first time and somehow, we all felt that he belonged right away. The only challenge has been a little of the verbal communication. We wish we could have learned to speak Portuguese; however, Raul’s English is quite good. He understands most everything and if we write it down there have been only a couple of times that we needed to bring out Google translate.

For me (host Dad), there was an immediate connection because we love to be in the kitchen making food. My wife (host Mom) is regularly asking for Raul to stay in Canada, this is usually as we are enjoying some of Raul’s amazing cooking. A couple of times she has jokingly said I should go back to Brazil so Raul can stay and cook; at least I hope she was joking!

We took a cooking class taught by one of the local chefs here and we were making fresh pasta. The dough needed to be the exact consistency required by the chef instructor and as Raul was kneading the dough (this was physically hard work) the chef instructor kept checking and believed it needed more flour. As more flour was added it became harder and harder to knead. Raul was convinced that it didn’t need more flour and the interactions between the chef and Raul were hilarious “More flour” … “No, no, it doesn’t need any more flour.” The food prepared was delicious. The owner of the store Yes Chef, where the cooking classes take place has been talking with Raul (in Portuguese as she originally was from Brazil) about Raul possibly teaching a class for Brazilian cooking.

Raul is very quick witted, and he regularly has the family laughing very loudly. We have had several other IVEPers and service workers over to our home during Raul’s time with us and have found all of them to be wonderful people.