Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Su nombre es Janey
My daughter Janey leaves for Ecuador in 8 days. She's 11 and a half. She's already used her passport once this year. Chances are good she'll use it once more after this trip. I keep reminding her, she's a very fortunate kid.
My sister lives in Mindo, Ecuador (commonly referred to by the rest of our family as paradise) and my parents are taking Janey with them for 10 days. She is so excited, she can hardly stand it. She doesn't remember much from the last time we were there, almost 7 years ago. For weeks, leading up until now, Janey had been pretty low key about the whole thing. I brought home Spanish language tapes and books from the library. We'll learn together! I declared. It will be fun! Janey rolled her eyes. Last night at dinner, she got a little nervous.
The questions started coming at dinner: Will anyone besides our family speak English? Are the bus drivers from Ecuador? What kind of cars do they drive there? Will I need my down vest? By the time the table was cleared and the dishes were done, Macy had pulled out her Spanish folder from a class she took a year ago. The girls were busy reciting colors and numbers. "Do you think I'll need farm animals, Mom?" Janey hollered from the table.
A few weeks ago, I was sure my Spanish language tapes were the answer to all her fears. Not so much. Janey has her own ideas. She'll go to South America and have a fantastic time. She won't be fluent, but she will soak up some language and culture. We're planning to spend two months there this fall, so I'm going to keep up with those tapes. Years ago, I would have insisted she listen (and learn for goodness sakes!) so she could be prepared. I've learned in this life without school that unschooled kids do it differently. Janey chooses how and when she learns. I just get to watch.