pointless and chatty

I’m sitting here in bed, sipping coffee and trying to decide if I’m well enough to get up. I can type, so I’m not too sick. But maybe this is only just the beginning?

Yesterday, the youngest was felled by a raging fever, chesty cough, and splitting headache. Upon talking to a friend, I learned that her family had been taken down one by one. The doctor said it’s a wicked virus, of some sort or another. So now I’m slightly paranoid.

We finished at Bezaleel yesterday (except now the teachers want us to come back next week so we’re not completely, completely done), and the focus of this weekend is Sorting and Packing. Monday is the last day of school for the children, cinnamon rolls to the teachers (maybe), and a date with my husband. Then Tuesday, my husband goes to Guatemala City to bring back the truck. Wednesday is a fun day (maybe a visit to some caves), or perhaps a last-minute errand day, and Thursday we load up and move to the city. Then meetings, a beach trip (we hope), and home.

So I’d really like to not get sick now.

About that Sorting and Packing. We came down with 11 or so suitcases (thanks to a university group that was traveling down around the same time), but we can only go back with six. This could be a problem. True, we’ve destroyed/outgrown mountains of clothes, but we also came down with way more winter clothes than we actually used. Which is kind of good. Because a lot of them still fit, so we won’t have to scramble for warm duds upon arriving in nippy Virginia. (We may end up paying to check a couple other suitcases. Forty dollars a bag seems really pricey, but when compared to what it would cost to buy the shoes, jeans, and sweaters that it’s hauling, it’s a savings. Or so says my husband.)

I’m rambling. I feel chatty, but in a pointless sort of way. Exactly what bloggers are not supposed to do. We’re supposed to be concise, witty, and pointed. This is not that post.

Remember all my angst about my kids not learning Spanish? And then remember the sudden (kind of) breakthrough? At that point, I said something like, “If only we had another year here…”

I take that back. At least for the youngest. Another three to six months of school and I think he’d be almost fluent. Here’s why:

*He’s a natural motormouth with zero fear of speaking.
*Proof: the other week when I was approaching his classroom, I could easily hear his foghorn voice above the classroom chatter. Alejandro blah-blah-blah-o…
*The other morning when he woke up, he said something to me that I couldn’t understand. He repeated it a couple times before switching to English, and then I was like, Oh! He was speaking to me in Spanish! Not exactly what I was expecting to hear first thing my early morning haze.
*He says he dreams in both English and Spanish.
*He easily flits between past, present, and future tenses.
*My older son reported that he’s heard him mix up his English, as in, “That’s my car blue.”

Making bows and arrows and talking, talking, talking.

I’m not sure how we’re going to keep up the Spanish once we return home. The children stage mini-revolts when we try to force Spanish conversation (I don’t really blame them because, well, it doesn’t feel natural), and there aren’t any Spanish-only speakers out in our neck of Virginian woods. I’m thinking I’ll read to the children from Spanish children’s books once a day, and we might do some Rosetta Stone, but aside from that, I’m kinda stymied. And sad. We have a good thing going. I don’t want it to end.


  • karen

    When I went on exchange to Indonesia I was 20. I lived in a village for almost 4 months, without any English translation in my house. I am quite chatty. My (French Canadian) roommate told me I talked in my sleep in Indonesian .

    When I came home I had little to no opportunities to speak Indonesian, so I spoke to myself. I only visited again for a couple of months a few years later, and I haven't been back but when I have opportunity to speak I do reasonably well. And I know it would take me about a month to get back to where I was because that's what happened the last time.

    I was amazed. I had no other languages, so I figured I'd lose it but most people I've talked to say once you start to speak in a different language and *think* in it (like it sounds like your son has) it is planted like some weeds. Chances are he'll always have it, whether you create opportunities or not. If he chooses later to explore the language, he'll be light years ahead of others, in my opinion. Also? His mind is open to other thought processes — he'll learn new languages better as well. (I speak some Cantonese, conversational, where others can't get anywhere with it.)

    Hope this eases the worries and allows you to celebrate the gift you've given all of them. Also hope you don't get sick! I like the fact that you didn't do "proper" blogging. =D

  • Jen J

    We have three different languages with Rosetta Stone (Spanish – homeschool version, Dutch and French) and they really are wonderful. The great thing about the homeschool version is you buy one product and you can have different users. My girls are both through level one in their chosen language and they wander through the house chattering away. I'm learning the French and it's really easy. Seriously, I'm sure there are many ways to learn a language, but this allows us to practice every day. Also, check Retail Me Not before you buy, they always have coupons for major money off.

  • Ayrie Joyce

    I wonder if you could get involved with the Migrant Education program? Or, maybe do some volunteering in the city schools – lots of ELL kids there 🙂

  • Goody

    Is it possible to ship your extra stuff home through some sort of tenth-class freight? As long as the clothes are clearly used, you wouldn't be paying duties on them or anything. Juggling kids, and luggage seems like a pain.

    If you figure out a good way to work Spanish into your homeschooling, please share it. *hangs head in shame* because we sure haven't.

  • thriftymomma

    You could designate a day of the week once you're home…Spanish Wednesdays or whatever. All conversations, maybe the read aloud, the dinner table convo could be Spanish only. Could use that day to write letters to friends in Spanish.

  • Aili

    Not that you need another thing to keep you busy, but Patchwork Pantry is always looking for people to volunteer in the childcare area while the parents are waiting. Many of the kids, especially the little ones, speak only Spanish. Many of the older ones like to pretend not to speak English if there is a gringa watching them… Unlike HARTs, you can bring your own kids along if you volunteer. That would be a way for them to get weekly practice.

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