Thursday, January 22, 2009


We were so excited to be going to somewhere warm during the winter. I, a child of the 70's frigid cold and giant politics-affecting snowstorms, had never been to somewhere warm during the winter. You just get your down coat on, go where you need to go and get on with it. It's 20 degrees below zero wind chill? Oh yeah? Let me know when it starts getting cold. We're hardy around here--we're from Chicago.

I thought there would probably be lots of English speakers where we were going, but I also thought it a little arrogant to go to a foreign country and not try to speak the language there or do a little research about the history, customs, food etc of this other place. We're visiting them, let's be good guests was my thinking.

Months ago, I tried to get the kids to learn a little Spanish by watching a couple of Muzzy videos but the kids weren't having it. Muzzy is a language immersion system. Lots of videos are available in different languages. But, my kids only wanted to watch the English side...even though there's barely a story line. There's just enough to introduce some words and there's lots of repetition.

As our Mexico trip drew near, I did think it was important for the kids to learn, "Donde esta el baño?" A need for the baño might come up at some point and we would need to know how to find that out quickly, including the kids.

When we were at a great eco park called Xcaret, my daughter told me as we were getting out of the underground river that we had just snorkeled through, that she needed to go to the bathroom. I was a bit distracted as we were all getting ourselves out and seeing where we needed to go right then and my daughter ran over to a man and said, "Donde esta el baño, por favor?" He smiled and pointed up this way and then over that way to her and off she ran with me just standing there with mouth a bit agape.

Not only was my daughter comfortable with asking a person a reasonable question, she was fully comfortable using another language to do it and even said "Gracias!" after she got her answer. How impressed was I? Very, that's how much.

My kids knock me out sometimes.

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