Cai, a Welsh exchange student, enjoys all the sights and new things to explore during his stay in Canada.
I arrived at the airport about fifteen minutes before the plane was to arrive. I was sent to pick up Cai Llewelyn. He was an exchange student from Dewi Sant High School in Cwmsiencyn, Wales, and was to be staying with us for the summer and the upcoming first semester of the school year. He was in his senior years, form 6, I think he called it. Next year he would be starting his A levels to prepare for university. I would be looking for a dark-haired sixteen-year-old, who stood about five six and weighed about a hundred and ten pounds. I didn’t think I’d have a problem finding him. I mean, how many skinny guys who were five six would be getting off the plane?
There was one… Cai.
Okay, there are some things in life you can never forget. Meeting Cai is one of those things. His accent and, well… everything.
“Hiya, that’s me.”
“Welcome to Canada. I was asked to pick you up.”
“Shwmae butty. How’s you doin’ mun?”
“Quite well thanks. And you?”
“Proper tidy considerin’ butt, and who are you?”
“Sorry, I’m Jordy.”
“Nice to meet you Jordy.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
“They always send corkers like you to fetch the lads?”
“My dad sent me to pick you up because you’ll be staying with us while you’re here.”
“You knows butt, I do really think I is goin’ to like this swappin’ thing.”
“Excuse me? Like what?”
“Like this student exchange trip mun, bein’ over yur see, me stayin’ with yew.”
“Staying with me? Why do you think that? You haven’t met any of my family yet.”
No need butt, and yew is deffo all I’s goin’ to need.”
Very distinct pause at this point, as I had to think about what he might be implying. Not that I was opposed to his possible implication.
Now I should probably mention here that he was totally cute. I mean OMG totally cute. And yes, I have a special appreciation for totally cute guys. That being said, I had to wonder if Cai had the same appreciation I did, and I must say, if he meant what I though he did, he might be all I was going to need too.
He was quiet as we picked up his luggage and made our way to the car, but that was about it. As soon as he saw my dad’s VW Eos, he was all smiles.
“Whoa, tidy wheels mun, well tidy.”
“Thanks, I like it.”
“We droppin’ the top down?”
“Oh yeah, for sure.”
“My dad's got a '67 MG B roadster and there’s nothin’ better than drivin’ wi’ the top down. Well one thing, like we do know, but I’m not goin’ there, yet.”
“Yeah, I love driving with the top down too.”
I did clue in to the last bit he said, one thing better than driving with the top down, but he’s not going there yet. Hmm, that kinda gave me some serious hope, but wasn’t sure I wanted to go there yet either.
As soon as we pulled onto the highway, I heard,
“Dammo, I forgot yew buggers take the wrong side of the road. This is half goin’ to scare the cach out of me.”
“You’ll get used to it in no time.”
“No, seriously, I mean it. It’ll be easy.”
“If ‘ew do reckon then I'll give it a bash.”
Now I know I said I wasn’t sure I wanted to ‘go there yet’, but I couldn’t resist.
“You know you’re cute when you’re scared.”
“Really? Well I think I'm much cuter when I'm relaxed and cwtchin’ up wi’ a fit mate.”
Now if cwtchin’ meant what it sounded like, I was now pretty sure I was really going to enjoy him staying with me too.
We made our way back to the city, across town, and home in about forty five minutes. As we were moving through the city, he never took his eyes off the road, well except for those few times he closed his eyes or covered his face. He was also once again quite quiet. As we drove down our street and approached our driveway, he seemed to get his voice back though.
“So you think I'm goin’ to get used to drivin’ on th’ wrong side of the road soon enough do you?”
“And yew be with me all the time and learnin’ me, proper like?”
“Gorrw try it then.”
I pulled into the driveway and we got his luggage off the back seat. I put the top up on the car, and we walked around to the back door. Before we could open the door, my mom was on the back deck welcoming him.
“Cai, it’s so good to see you. Welcome to Canada and to our home.”
“Thank you Mrs. Ferrier, I'm very excited and pleased to be over yur.”
“Yeah, me too. Happy Cai’s here that is. Gonna be a good year… you know, like being able to study together and stuff. You know like stuff and whatever.”
Mom just looked at me like I’d lost my mind and told me to take Cai down to my room and get him settled in.
Halfway down the stairs to the basement, he asks, “We're sharin’ youer room?… and bed too maybe?
“Two beds, mate, sorry.”
“Dammo. Fair play butt, we can always push ‘em together.”
I just looked at him and grinned.
He put his left arm around my shoulders and grinning said quite loudly, “Jiw Jiw, Maybe there is a god.”
An hour later and mom was calling us up for our evening meal. Dad was home by then and he greeted Cai with a handshake and another, “Welcome to Canada and our home.”
After a quick glance at me and a grin, dad got, “Thank you Mr. Ferrier. I’m really looking forward to a lush time with you and your family as I explore the beauty of your wonderful city and western Canada.”
“Well I hope you enjoy your stay. I’m sure Jordy will look after you.”
“You have no idea how much I'm well chuffed about that, sir.”
That earned him a rather sharp jab to the right side of his ribs as we moved into the dining room. That got me a very suggestive grin, which I’m sure Dad noticed. Mom had us set up sitting across from each other. She and dad quickly carried everything in from the kitchen, set it out, and sat at opposite ends of the table. I quickly grabbed the plate of ribs and handed them to Cai before either mom or dad decided to do something horribly embarrassing, like say grace. After about five minutes of passing something or other around, we had our plates loaded and were ready to eat.
During and after eating, we of course had to chat with Mom and Dad. They managed to ask him almost every question possible about his likes, dislikes, life in Wales, school, his favourite subjects, food, music, and on and on. Thankfully they didn’t ask him anything about liking boys or girls, or his favourite activities with either. If they had, he would probably have told them. Shy he wasn’t.
When I finally was able to extricate the two of us from the dining room and outside, we headed straight for the park. When we walked out of the trees, there was a soccer game of sorts in progress… eighteen guys against sixteen. They paused the game when we showed up and after introductions, we evened out the teams and the game was back on.
Now our version of soccer was to kick the ball and chase it. Cai’s on the other hand was like semi-pro. He did things with the ball that should not be possible. Like kicking it and making it curve, flipping it over the opponent’s head, catching it with his foot, flipping it up, and heading it to another player… stuff like that. After he scored like ten goals in fifteen minutes, the other team gave up and we all wandered down to the river. Let’s just say there was some pretty excited discussion about his soccer skills, and a lot of, “you gotta show me how to do that.”
Just so you know, in the great white north in the summer, it doesn’t get dark until after eleven o’clock, so it was after midnight before we made it back home. We were both tired and exited at the same time. And not surprisingly, Mom and Dad had gone to bed. My little brother Randy was home from his buddy Stephen’s, and was still up watching a movie, so he got to meet Cai.
“It’s good to catch up wi’ yew Randy. I never ‘ad a bro before, but we never has anyone called Randy at home so I likes Dai, so shwmae Dai.”
We got a big grin from Randy accompanied by, “Hi Cai. It’s gonna be fun having you around. You’re gonna be more fun than Jordy here, for sure.”
“Tidy. But I don’t know. I think Jordy might be a lot of fun too.”
“If you say so.”
“Well I do hopes, don’t I?”
Randy knows all about my appreciation for cute guys and he gave me a look, followed by a grin, but didn’t say anything. Thankfully he was very aware that outing me wasn’t cool.
“Hope is always a good thing, right Jordy?”
“Aye, fer sure.”
“We just finished playing soccer and walked down to the river and back, so we’re pretty much done in.” I said. “So Good night Randy.”
“Good night guys, and I don’t want to hear any snoring.”
“Nos da butty, and I hope you don’t hear no snoring either.”
I got the look and the grin again, before Randy refocussed on the movie he’d been watching. I got a bit of a suggestive grin from Cai too.
We (I) decided Cai would shower and everything first and then me. He headed for the bathroom while I sat on the edge of my bed and contemplated the next several months. I’m gay, I’m a virgin, Cai’s pretty obviously gay, and not likely a virgin. Oh god, I was actually scared to death, and the next thing that happened didn’t help.
Okay, I have only seen one other guy naked before Cai dropped his towel, and that was in a mirror. This was a whole new experience. I jumped up and bee-lined for the bathroom.
I came back with my towel tightly wrapped around my waist. The big question now being, ‘do I drop it and slowly put on my underwear or what?’ Since everything wasn’t exactly in a relaxed state, I decided to face away from Cai, drop my towel and pull on my underwear quickly, very quickly. When I turned, I got a big grin.
“I’m not sure about what might come up on this first night of our sleepover, but since something has, I could be well talked into some interestin’ offers.”
“Well I may be a little old-fashioned, but as interesting as that sounds. I think we should get to know each other a bit better than we do now before ‘interesting’ takes over. Especially if we’re going to be living in the same house and sleeping in the same room for six months.”
“Cwtching with a mate could be a tidy start.”
“Cuddling? Yeah that would be good. But how hard will it be to just cuddle?”
“I’m not sure how hard it'll be for you, but it'll be proper hard for me butt.”
It was a fun conversation we were having, I guess. Okay, okay, it was scarier than hell… but kinda fun. Anyway, just to clear up any questions, we did sleep in our own beds that night… and for a few nights after that. The time did come that we decided cwtching with a mate might be okay. Let’s just say we did find cwtching to be quite interesting although a little messy at times and leave it at that.
Of course it was summer and Cai was new to Canada, so Dad had great plans to show him every wonderful sight he could before school started in the fall.
Weekend one would be a trip to Banff, and so that we would have the most time possible, we packed our stuff and headed out Friday evening.
The closer we got to Banff, the more excited Cai became. Apparently the mountains here are a bit bigger than anything in Wales.
Dad chose to stay at the Banff Springs Hotel, not the cheapest place to stay, but probably one of the coolest. It was built in 1888 and is most famous for its waterfall spa tubs, mineral pool, golf courses. There is of course their regular pools and hiking, fishing, river rafting, horseback riding, and even bowling.
Well obviously a weekend wasn’t enough. There was just too much to see and do. Thankfully, because there was five of us, and we’d packed a ton of crap, we had taken both cars. That meant Cai, Randy, and I could stay longer. Not at the hotel obviously since we were not millionaires, but camping.
We set up our headquarters at one of the campsites, and from there we went to Johnson canyon, Sulphur Mountain gondola, Mt. Norquay, and Peyto Lake. We even packed up our camping gear and made our way to Jasper, to Malign Lake, Malign Canyon, Columbia Ice Fields, Athabasca Falls, and the Jasper Skytram, all of which had awesome climbing trails and/or some very scary places to fall off. By the end of the second week, we had walked or climbed for miles. I’d lived all my life in Calgary, 2 hours away, and had never seen most of what I saw and explored those two weeks with Cai and Randy. It was awesome.
After a very full two weeks, we found ourselves reluctantly driving back to the city. The weather had been perfect and we were all sporting awesome tans.
“I could pass for a native.”
“Only until you opened your mouth.”
“Yeah, we don’t have a cool accent or talk tidy half the time over here.”
“Hey, I know how to use the internet bro, and some of the gamers I know are from Wales, like Cardiff and Shrewsbury.”
“Shrewsbury mun? They is proper Sais, the other side of Offa’s Dyke.”
“What the hell is Offa’s Dyke?”
“It’s a dyke built by Offa.”
“No duh, Einstein.”
“He was eons ago, before there were even any friggin’ Sais. Wanted to keep us Welsh heathens out of his kingdom.”
“Oh okay, so Shrewsbury isn’t Welsh, sorry. And, just a question, can you teach me how to talk tidy? I start grade nine in a new school this year. I could score big time if I talked tidy.”
All I could do was laugh, as Randy even mentioning scoring just seemed too funny. But he obviously had a plan, and one that would most likely work. Not bad for a fourteen year old.
“Oh, I think Dai bach is getting tired of wankin’.”
“Hey, nothin’ to be ashamed off there, butty. We all like to play with an imaginary friend now and then.”
“Yeah I bet you do. Jordy’s imaginary friends used to keep me up a lot when we shared his room. That was until you came to stay. Does he keep you up now?”
“Uh… I’m usually too busy to notice. You know, polishing my own knob and all.”
Randy simply looked out the side window and tried his hardest not to burst out laughing. He was successful for about a minute before he was almost peeing himself.
“You never heard of polishing the knob?”
“Go for it kiddo.”
“ Okay. From what I hear through the wall, if your knob is getting polished, you’re not the one polishing it.”
“You were listening?”
“Let’s just say it’s a good thing Mom and Dad’s room is upstairs.”
By now we were all trying not to piss ourselves. I thought I should pull over before I crashed the car and killed us all. I spotted a service station and restaurant just ahead and made the excuse I was hungry just to keep us alive.
When we stopped, the conversation took a turn and got serious for a minute.
“Before this conversation gets any weirder, I got a question. Is it okay if a straight guy gets, you know, when his brother is helping a friend. You know like if you’re in the same tent and not asleep yet?”
“Yeah of course. Nearly anything can make us horny. It’s the way we’re built bro. We’re guys for fuck sake.”
“If I was boning a girl would that make you horny?”
“If I didn’t have to look at her junk, yeah for sure.”
We climbed out of the car at that point and went into the restaurant.
“Anyone want anything to drink?” a young waitress asked.
“I’m sinkin’ for a cuppa tea. Oh, and a ham sarnie please.”
“A cup of decaf, please… and a grilled cheese.”
“I’d like a chocolate milkshake and a strawberry sundae please.”
When we finished eating and walked back to the car, we had an hour’s drive still ahead of us. Not exaggerating, I think the drive home was even more informative and almost as entertaining as the rest of the trip. One of the more interesting things we learned was that Cai, as outgoing as he was, was not out at home. Well, he was to his mam and dad and a few close friends, but that was it. He had heard that we were way more open and accepting over here and decided to “live free” as he put it. Something I quite appreciated.
A few days later, I had to laugh when I passed Randy’s room and he was practicing talking tidy, accent and all. The boy definitely had a plan.
Over the summer we had made our way to nearly every major city and dozens of places in between, and before we knew it, it was the last weekend of the summer break. Cai had seen Jasper and Banff and the mountains up close, Vancouver and the Pacific ocean, the prairies, the Okanagan, Vulcan’s Starship Enterprise, Drumheller’s biggest dinosaur and the Hoodoos, and Creston’s hundred mile long Kootenay Lake, just to name a few places.
Cai was enrolled in my school as an exchange student on Monday morning. Randy was right, talking tidy was an instant attention getter. Even after he reverted back to regular English, with that sexy accent, the girls were all over him and a few guys seemed to be no more than five feet away at any given time. That had, I guess, been my biggest fear, the guys not the girls. I had tried to be as casual as I could, but I had become quite attached to my Welsh roommate. I knew Cai was fond of me, but I couldn’t have been happier when I realized the ‘quite attached’ feeling was mutual, and I was the only guy who interested him.
School was school. We were both enrolled in the same courses so homework and studying quickly became a joint effort. We both ended the semester with no mark under 80%. Of course we didn’t spend all our time doing homework and studying. We hung out with the guys and improved our soccer skills among other things. When the guys and Randy weren’t around, we did manage to find ways to entertain ourselves. All in all it was the best time ever.
I’m not going to elaborate any more than I already have, but suffice it to say, I’m gonna really love Cwmsiencyn.
Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.
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This story may contain occasional references to minors who are or may be gay. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG13 (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don't want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don't want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren't supposed to be here, be careful and don't get caught!