I’ll start this week’s chapter chat with a joke my kids told me:
What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
What do you call a person who speaks three languages?
All right then. What do you call a person who speaks only one language?
And, just to be clear. That’s “American” with a derogatory tone. I’m so proud that my kids think this joke is funny! When I was in college, I took a seminar in which we had to describe the three things we really wanted to give our children. I don’t even remember the first two things I listed. Most likely something like “a roof” and “love”. But I remember the somewhat desperate feeling I had about the third thing – “a second language.” I knew even then that my horizons were limited by my monolingualism and it seemed daunting to dream of doing better for my own kids. As you can imagine, when Multicultural Kid Blogs offered up a book club on Bilingual is Better by Ana Flores and Roxana Soto, I jumped at the chance. I picked Chapter Two: Why Bilingual is Better. The discussion of Chapter 1 was sparked by a great post hosted by Spanish Playground. Read more
Things are different in Austria. This is why we came of course. If things weren’t different, we’d be wasting a whole lot of energy on this trip. First off, I should be very clear that Austria is not Germany. They are pretty particular on this point. Austrians ruled the world (or at least a big chuck of it) for 800 years and they did it relatively peacefully. The collective consciousness is calm and independent. Maybe they are calm because of the wind that never stops blowing (my own personal theory) and independent because they have had 5 different governments over the past 90 years (and only the very independent can survive the school system). Whatever the reasons, they have been amazingly successful within the EU and are certainly benefiting from the lifting of the iron curtain. Trams wait for pedestrians to cross in front. Drivers are prepared to stop for Read more
We’ve been in Vienna just about a month. We arrived to a terrific apartment. We are lucky to have met a friend in Seattle with an apartment to rent for exactly these 6 months (while they are in Seattle working for Microsoft). It’s near an old village, Grinzing, which has now been somewhat absorbed by the city as it bumps into the foothills that surround Vienna. We can jog into the city or up into the vineyards. Of course, the Viennese have strategically placed a wine house on the top of every hill with a good view. There are also lots of local wine houses, heurigans, in our part of town. Some are pretty touristy but we are slowly discovering the more authentic and cozy places. Read more