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Monday, May 04, 2009

Hmmm...

I got so few comments on my last post that I think I should explain to you why I so firmly believe in what I posted.

When I was 7, my family moved to Spain. We moved to a small town in the north west corner of the country called El Ferrol. There were no English schools. The people didn't speak one itty bitty word of English. If you wanted something, you had to figure out how to ask for it in Spanish.

That went for school, too.
On my first day of school I got dropped into a classroom with a note in my pocket that said something like, "Donde está el baño? (Where's the bathroom?) I didn't know any Spanish. But, kids are kids... The language of smiles and charades goes a long way.

By the time we'd been there 6 months, I'd had tutoring and total immersion. I was fluent. I never expected anyone in Spain to learn English. I was in their country. I learned their language, their culture, their ways. There were other American families in El Ferrol. Some of the kids went to boarding schools in England or the US. Some of the kids were home schooled. I was the only one who went to Spanish school. I had Spanish friends. We did what normal kids all over the world do with their friends - we went to the park, we rode bikes, we giggled, we read books. I had a phenomenal experience that I wouldn't trade for a second.

By the time we came home to the US, I had lost most of my English. Yes, people, that meant a summer with Gram as my English teacher. No, I still haven't gotten over it. But that's a story for another day and therapy for a lifetime! (just kidding!)

When I'm in a foreign country, I try to speak the language. When I'm here at home in the US, I'd like to hear and speak my language - English.

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