Tag Archives: books

adjust, adapt and be positive

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Sky told me last week: “Mama, I think I like my current school better than my old school in the Netherlands.”

That one sentence really means a lot for me. To know that she is really happy and satisfied with her new environment, after only such a short period of time (4 months at school now) and with new languages she didn’t speak yet when she started… Of course I have noticed that she feels good by observing her behaviour. She hops happily from school everytime I pick her up and she tells me a lot about things she’s been doing at school. But to hear it coming out from her mouth, and to see that smile…it means the whole world!

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When I asked her why she likes her current school more, she replied: “Because this school has many fun activities, like art, sport, computer language, music, singing, swimming, online English learning…”
Well yes, I understand. I would love to redo my school time too!

At this very moment they are preparing a piece of theatre, based on the Lion King story. Each class picks a different movie. I believe they have evaluated the story, the roles and characters, and still learning about the costums (which they have to make themselves), the decor, the music and so on. All is done in 3 different languages, each language covers its own topics. Such a stimulating and fun process of learning!

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But I also believe that not only a good school is important when you’re going on a huge adventure like moving country, but also a positive attitude. We try to support each other as much as we can, and show that however it will not always be easy, there’s always things to be grateful for. Look at the bright side of life and enjoy, and you will make yourself easier in the process of adjusting and adapting.

When a stranger talks to me in Spanish and I don’t understand at all, I can still be grateful for the friendliness people seem to have here towards strangers. When we can only borrow very simple children books from the library with minimal or even no text at all, I’m still grateful they have those books in the library and Sky is now focused on the illustration and it makes her try different types of drawing, which is very fun. And when we are often so frustrated with the “relaxed” way people dealing with rules here, it can also works on my benefit, like yesterday. I borrowed some extra books from the library but apparently I would have in total one book too many. The maximum allowed is 15 and I have got 16. But the friendly librarian gave me a big wink and said: “It doesn’t matter, just one book too many. And besides, your daughter loves the books so much, right?” 🙂

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books without words

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Some of you might know that we are big fans of the library. Any kinds of library; big or small, with or without building… like this one, where we found a bilingual Pocahontas comic (English and Catalan). So cool!

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In the Netherlands we would visit the library at least once a week, often more. Somewhere last February we were featured in the library’s newsletter because Sky has borrowed (and read!) 1000 books, in her almost 6 years of age.

You would understand that now we moved to Spain, we are eager to continue this “hobby”. Last month we went to the Central Library (there are 3 in our city) and applied for a library card for Sky.

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She digged in the books immediately, and found some nice ones. But…our Spanish and Catalan are still so minimum, even the easiest children books cause us trouble to read. Not that we don’t try to, that’s for sure a fun way to learn new languages. But to have to look at the dictionary or do Google-translate on almost every sentence is a bit depressing. Bilingual books are a bliss. We borrowed some, and also English children books and fun dictionaries. And then, I noticed the section “comics”. Browsing through the colorful pictures, I got an idea. Let’s start from the very beginning again. From the love of books. Without languages, without words, without pressure. Try to make it super fun again. And it works, Sky grabs these books often and has pleasure “reading” them. I found a great serie of “el Petit Pelut” (originally Petit Poilu in French or Stoppeltje in Belgium), and then we found more fun books, without words.

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Trying to make library visit fun also includes joining the activities they organize. We attended a children theatre performance, by coincidence it’s in English! And will of course try to attend more in the future.

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The libraries in our city are not as big and sophisticated like we used to have in the Netherlands. But it’s also because we live in a smaller city. I think the libraries in Barcelona and other big cities would be wonderful too. Would love to visit them in the near future. One difference I noticed immediately is the children section. Our libraries have spaces dedicated for children books, of course. But while in the Netherlands it’s more or less allowed to “make noise” in the children section (well, children are children…), here it’s all quiet. We were really asked to lower our voice down. But once again, it’s maybe because the building is not that big. Noises will be heard across the whole library and would possibly disturb visitors in other sections too.

Above photo’s are from the Central Library, and below is a photo of the nearest library to our home, it’s quite pretty actually. Only the opening hours are a bit tricky. They only open for 3 mornings in a week, each for 3 hours. And 5 times a week at night.

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Well, we might not visit the libraries as much as we used to do, but it won’t slow us down in reading books. We access the Dutch children books through the library app (because Sky will still be a Dutch library member till she is 18, which also means she is allowed to use the app everywhere around the world). Sometimes we borrow books from our Dutch friends. And when our Spanish and Catalan are improved, we hope to be able to start reading local books too. Step by step. Poco a poco. A poc a poc. 🙂

national reading day(s); her love for books

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Minggu-minggu ini adalah Hari Membaca Nasional. Minggu depan Sky akan pergi bersama teman-teman sekelasnya ke perpustakaan untuk dibacakan buku di sana. Tema tahun ini yang didasarkan pada buku ‘Petani Boris pergi ke pantai’ juga jelas terlihat di preschool-nya. Minggu lalu kami juga hadir di perpustakaan karena ada acara ‘sarapan sambil membaca buku’. Seorang Ibu petani (betulan) membacakan buku tema sambil disediakan roti dan teman-temannya untuk sarapan anak-anak. Semua terlihat menikmati, dan Sky makin lama makin maju ke depan dan bersemangat berpartisipasi, menjawab pertanyaan, mencari gambar dll. Seru!

Kami bersyukur sekali bahwa Sky sangat suka dibacakan buku. Beberapa kali sehari dia akan mengambil sendiri sebuah buku dari lemari buku dan meminta kami membacakannya (dan jawaban kami selalu ‘ya’!). Bahkan untuk beberapa buku kecil atau buku yang ceritanya sudah sangat dia kenal sekarang dia bilang: “Aku sudah bisa membaca buku ini sendiri lho!” Lalu dia akan duduk tenang di sofa sambil membuka-buka bukunya dan ngoceh sendiri, menceritakan cerita buku versinya sendiri. Senang sekali melihatnya begitu! Kami merasa bahwa segala upaya kami untuk menjadikan buku sebagai teman akrabnya sudah terlihat berhasil. Menurut kami itulah bekal terbaik untuk masa depannya. Semoga akan tetap begitu sampai jangka waktu yang sangat lama. Dan siapa tahu, mungkin, suatu hari nanti, kami yang akan memintanya untuk membacakan sebuah buku dari lemari buku…

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blog1Deze weken zijn de Nationale Voorleesdagen. Sky gaat volgende week met haar ‘school’klasje naar de bieb toe om daar voorgelezen te worden en het thema van dit jaar (gebaseerd op het boek ‘Boer Boris gaat naar zee’) is duidelijk aanwezig in haar klas. Vorige week zijn we ook al bij de bieb geweest voor het voorleesontbijt. Een echte boerin kwam het boek voorlezen en er waren lekkere dingen op tafel. De kinderen vonden het leuk en Sky ging naarmate het verhaal verder ging steeds meer naar voren en deed met volle interesse mee met vragen beantwoorden, plaatjes zoeken enz. Gezellig!

We zijn heel dankbaar dat Sky het erg leuk vindt om voorgelezen te worden. Een paar keer per dag pakt ze een boek uit de boekenkast en vraagt ze of wij haar willen voorlezen (en ons antwoord is altijd ‘ja’!). Bij sommige kleine boekjes, of boeken die zij het verhaal al heel goed kent zegt ze af en toe: “Ik kan deze al zelf voorlezen hoor!” (ze bedoelt natuurlijk ‘lezen’). Dan gaat ze rustig op de bank zitten bladeren in het boek en praat ze haar eigen versie van het verhaal. Erg leuk om te zien! We voelen dat het ons gelukt is om boeken haar beste vrienden te laten worden. De beste basis voor haar verdere toekomst, vinden we. Hopelijk blijft het nog héél lang zo. En wie weet, misschien, op een dag, zullen we haar vragen of zij ons een boek uit de boekenkast wil voorlezen…