Tag Archives: spanje

learning Spanish and some updates

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Screenshot_20180614-224852We are learning Spanish…oh yes we do. But oh our old grey cells inside our much-too-full head…they have difficulties absorbing all those new words and grammars and structures. I really notice the differences compared to 16 years ago, when I was still young (ehm…) and started to learn Dutch. But I keep comforting myself by remembering my early Dutch-experience. That once you are inside the country and surrounded by the target language, it will all become much easier (if you keep talking, at least). Language immersion, practice and repeat; that should be it.

Sometimes Sky will join us when we are practicing with our Duolingo app. Or she would pick some words from the book “Spanish for children” and start to question us. But for her right now is English the main focus. She gets support from her school, which we are so thankful of (once a week an English lesson special for her) and we repeat the lessons everyday. Not always easy, but we try to keep it fun.

Next to books and app I also follow a short Spanish (beginners) online course from the library, and I try to listen as much as possible to a Spanish radio:

One proud moment for me was in February, when we were at the Girona airport waiting for our flight back to the Netherlands. I had been using Duolingo for about 55 days at that time. And I was able to ask the waitress automatically: “Tienes una cuchara?” (= do you have a spoon). Wow, that felt good! And now everytime I feel like I’m slowing down and not learning anything, I recall that memory and think about how nice would it be if I can actually having a conversation in Spanish!

Talking about language immersion. At the moment I publish this post Joop has almost finished his 2 weeks Spanish stay. He needs to stay there for a while to find a house (and yessss we found one! Our Spanish home!) and to arrange his NIE-number (also in the pocket!). In 2 weeks time he only wants to speak Spanish with his colleagues and people he met, and he feels like he has made quite some progress. From “do not understand at all” to “get the approximate context”. Well, every big journey starts from the smallest steps… 🙂

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how she deals with the big news

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I got questions how Sky reacted when we first told her that we’re going to move to Spain.
Well, she cried. Long and harrowing.
And we hugged her, without words. We have kept the news for about one month for ourselves before telling her. To make sure about the situation first, to think of the best way to tell her and to prepare our words. But not many words were required. When she regained herself she had a very interesting reaction: she didn’t want to talk about it until she’s ready for it. Then she would come to us and we could talk.

And she did. Days went by and we were getting nervous. What to do? What could we do?
But we respected her will. And after some days (maybe a week or two), she started the conversation. And asking questions. From serious stuff like ‘how’s life there’ and ‘what will her school look like’ to funny things like ‘do they have lice-mothers?’

She had probably settled the idea in her mind and got ready to change thoughts with us, which we think is a very mature way of dealing with such a big news. In the weeks after that she still has some difficult moments sometime. Her teacher promised her not to talk or ask questions whatsoever in the class if she’s not yet comfortable with it.

But she moved forward. Slowly but sure we can talk about it. She gets used to it. We have discussion and share our fantasies, search for information we want to know, learn the (fun)facts and the languages. Not easy for her, she still gets teary eyes whenever we’re digging into it, given how delicate her soul is. Not easy, but it gets a bit easier. And we’re so relieved to see it happening. What a process… so thankful to experience this as a family!

And the crown of it all: She is now preparing a presentation (in Dutch we call it a “spreekbeurt”) to be shown and told in front of her class, about Spain! Oh we’re so proud she wants to do it, such a brave girl!

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Spain, our next home :)

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I write this post in English. Not in line with our blog title “bilingual…” but if you read this post you’ll understand why. And maybe I will continue this, to write only in English. First it saves me a lot of time, second I need to practice my English again, third it will probably reach more public, and last but not least it’s like setting up a mental boundary for the coming period in our family.

Because this summer, in August, will be HUGE for our family. We’re going to have one very important milestone. Maybe as important as the birth of our daughter, haha…
We’re going to MOVE…to Barcelona! To EMIGRATE…to Spain!!!

blog1This will be my second emigration (my 3rd country, and my 8th city), but 15 years ago I did it all alone. Now I have a family and a cat, and lots of stuff (way too much!) and we will do this together.

My husband Joop gets a beautiful opportunity to work in his company’s branch in Barcelona, and we decided to grab this golden chance with both hands. It will be a family adventure. Will not be easy peasy for sure, but we will come, see, and overwin. 🙂 Spain is a beautiful country, with great food and a better climate than the Netherlands (ha!). I believe they have friendly people and a relaxed atmosphere too, and I love the language ever since I was young (not that I’m that old…).

Sky has the perfect age to start the Primary school there (the Spanish ‘Primaria’ starts at the age of 6). She has a great advantage of being a year ahead of her peers so she can focus on learning the language in the first years. The intention is to have an international school as her new school, so English, Spanish, and Catalan are the languages she will learn. And so do we!

blog4These months will be hectic and exciting at the same time. Luckily we don’t own a house anymore, so we can just notify the landlord of our current house, pack up our stuff and move. Rest still the administrative matters, in both countries: unsubscribe/subscribe, permits, insurances, regulations, legal stuff… We’re busy organizing everything, finding out information, and doing what needs to be done, step by step. We will try to share things regularly through this blog.

But we are parents in the first place. It’s not easy for Sky, and we’re doing our best to be next to her, to support her through the process. To wipe her tears and to listen to her doubts. To tell her what we already know and to sit down together to search the answers of her many questions (“Do they also have lice-mothers there?”). But also to share the excitement and fantasize the great things which will surely come to our path. It will be…awesome!!! 🙂

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