The Bennett family of Windham is the host to another crew of Taiwanese families for several weeks this summer. Aside from touring Maine and going to Portland Headlight, Old Orchard Beach, L.L. Bean in Freeport and Little Sebago Lake, the children are participating in summer camps offered through Waynflete and Cheverus.
The Bennetts keep the children busy. Troy (14) is involved in Cheverus Basketball Camp. Brian (9) enjoys Legos and Science at Waynflete's camp. Brothers Ho-Ping (10) and Ho-An (12) are involved in a Broadway Drama at Waynflete. The youngest of the crew, Raven (5) and Miranda (8) enjoy Art and Expo at Waynflete.
|Enjoying the waters of Little Sebago Lake|
These families are from the city of Taipei, Taiwan, an urban city of 2.7 million people in an area thesize of Windham and Raymond. Imagine twice the population of the state of Maine fit into that area, and you can begin to see how difficult it might be to enjoy the kind of life we have here in Maine.
They don’t get much of a chance to kayak or fish in Taipei, and the only swimming they’ve done is at YMCAs. The parents, on the other hand, have been enjoying the retail stores here in Maine such as Marshalls and TJ Maxx; finding brand-name merchandise at great prices. They also love the food, especially the barbecued meats and steamed lobster.
After a few weeks here, we spoke with the parents about their experiences. One of the parents, who had previously lived in New York City for a time, described Maine as, “A fantastic place to raise kids.” Another parent thoroughly enjoyed watching Windham Center Stage’s performance of “Aladdin Jr” and Waynflete’s “Annie”. “There’s so much to see and to learn,” she shared. Another parent observed how kids here seem to build relationships so quickly. She went on to say, “Everyone encourages, and the teachers always say good job!” She feels that kids are so encouraged by teachers here and that inspiration is one of the biggest differences she sees between here and the education system in Taiwan.
Overall, the crew is impressed with how local Windham is and how convenient it’s been having nature so close to the stores and shops. On the first fishing trip in kayaks, the kids spotted a baby fawn on the lakeside and saw fish jumping in the pond on our second fishing trip.
Additional trips include those to Boston, Montreal and North Conway. In the end, they leave with a unique Maine/New England experience that they will cherish when they return to the busy, industrial city-life of Taipei, Taiwan.
“My child thinks he’s learned a lot here and has made many friends. We love everything in Maine, and we also welcome you to come to Taiwan,”
Jeremy Bennett is a 2017 Windham High graduate who will be attending Bates College this fall.