This week we are in full on language school; three hours of learning Spanish each day, as a family, with a half hour break in the middle. It is grueling for sure, especially for the kids, as you can well imagine, but the mouthful exposure is helpful and we’re convinced it will be a benefit to the kids for when they start school. Plus, it has been enlightening for me and George to witness our kids’ different learning styles and attention spans in the classroom.
Our break time has included helado (ice cream) or churros (sticks of fried dough) and cafe con leche (coffee with milk). And yes, the coffee is pretty darn good here! This week we tried a typical Spanish snack, toast with olive oil and tomato spread which is yummy as well.
But just like a mouthful of anything takes time to digest, it will take time for our brains to make sense of a new language. George came home from the crowded beach the other evening (the beach becomes wall to wall sun umbrellas after siesta is over) and shared how crazy it is to hear so many conversations taking place right around you and to not understand a single word that is being said. I want to clarify that everyone here has been nothing but kind to us but without the language skills, it is hard to initiate and build connection with others. It presents the discomfort of not being a part of anything that is happening around you… of not being able to share thoughts, laughs, and experiences even with strangers, and therefore, of feeling isolated. It presents the sense of not belonging.
One of the kids asked me the other day why there isn’t just one language in the world that is spoken. I hear their craving for commonalities and ease in interacting with others. They refuse to believe, at this point, how less interesting the world would be with one language. I can’t deny my own desire for what and who is familiar and known to me. We stretch ourselves to explore a new part of town or try a new food but find ourselves returning to what we know for comfort; pizza dinner, American movies, even Fortnite-God bless us!
The kids’ understanding of culture (language, behavior, food, mealtimes, scheduling and gathering norms) and what makes individuals feel like a part of a group is limited but is about to evolve. Yesterday, George heard kids’ voices nearby so we walked down the street from our house and found an enclosed turf futbol court where a bunch of Spanish kids were playing. They invited Davis and Quinton to play and the boys came home an hour later. Ah, connection!