Archive for July, 2017

A Maze and The Creepy Women of Torrelavega

July 09, 2017 By: erik Category: Art, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Torrelavega SaturdayAfter 12.5 years of living in Cantabria, I must ashamedly admit that today was the first time that I visited Cantabria’s second city, Torrelavega. It was on a brief, last minute, detour after visiting another local attraction, the Villapresente Labyrinth, a pine hedge maze that has gained touristic significance of late. More to distract the kids for 30 minutes than for strategery, I had figured out how to download an overhead map of the labyrinth, invert the photo, so that the paths were white, and printed out two copies to give the kids.

Nora figured the way in to the center by herself, but my a-mazing abilities were required to find the way to the exit. She then drew over the pencil in colored marker, which turned out to be helpful.
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The Cleaves – Live in Colindres, Spain

July 07, 2017 By: erik Category: Colindres, Music

The Cleaves in ColindresI met Becky about three years ago. One of the families that has a son in my daughter’s grade has both the resources and wherewithal to hire English speaking au pairs, young women (usually) that are like foreign nannies. Becky was the third au pair of theirs that I met. I always made a point of introducing myself to them, if only to give them a brief respite from the barrage of Spanish. Some, like Becky, knew quite a bit of Spanish already, and others came with nothing.

The school year was almost over when I first learned that Becky played the violin. I didn’t think much more of it. For some reason that is beyond me, she decided to spend yet another year of her vital youth in small town Spain, and she came back for a second school year.
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Preschooler Parsing Spanish

July 06, 2017 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Spanish

Colindres Town Hall

One of the hardest parts of learning a foreign language is learning to parse a string of sounds to determine where words stop and start. Whenever you hear a foreign language that you don’t know spoken, it sounds like one continuous stream of phonemes. When you hear a language you know spoken, the word breaks are obvious.

It has been fun watching my children learn my second language natively. I have the special insight into their minds in that they generally speak to me in English, but when they don’t have an English word, they will use the Spanish word, which I immediately translate for them before they complete the sentence. That’s what usually happens, but with both kids, there have been nouns that are always spoken in one of the two languages in our household. With my eldest, I think one was pañal (diaper/nappy), and with the youngest, another is biberon (baby bottle).

Two perfect examples of word parsing mistakes have happened in the past two days with my four-year-old, that I thought I’d share.

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