Birthdays for an 8-year-old MC and a 10-year-old silver medalist!

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Solana and Frances turned 10 and 8 years old, respectively, in October. For the younger grades, the tradition is to invite the entire classroom to a party. Frances wanted to celebrate her party in a ‘pelotero’, which consists of a central indoor play center with side rooms that families can rent. These peloteros are all the rage, “have lots of fun, make a mess, and come home to a clean house!” Sound good? We thought so.  To give it our own “touch” we opted out of the usual gaseosos (pop and sodas) and went with high-fructose sweetened juices instead (okay, not so radical).  Jenny made the cakes (whole wheat of course, very different tasting for the kids and parents) and we made up a new game- pin Franny on Minnesota!

Solana celebrated her birthday by inviting the girls- which is the older kids’ custom- to our apartment for lunch. They ate Jenny’s tacos, which they loved, and we watched a slideshow of photos of Solana and friends back home.  We are still determing where and how we will carry out the actual birthday party.

The girls have been taking a gymnastics class two days a week at a municipal gym and the other week they had a tournament in which they participated with kids from other gyms. While participation was the main goal, Solana earned a 2nd place medal!

The school recently held a campaign to improve spelling and Frances was the “Genio otorgráfico” of her class (the only one to spell all 50 words right).  Solana has now begun to take all quizzes and tests in Spanish without the help of her teacher.  They are both making great progress!

Finally, the girls’ English language classes presented their ‘open day’ for the parents. Franny was the MC for her show and Solana starred in a skit as an elf.

The girls have been busy with the above activities as well as play dates at our apartment and friends’ houses. After a play date parents always ask about how their kids behaved and the ritual is for the other parent to say, “oh, she was an angel.” Frances and Solana are very well behaved at friends’ houses, they are adored.  But as is usual for younger kids, they save the blow-ups and acting out for home. We are running into the reality of long school days – 8am- 4:30pm- in which they spend much of the day in another language and another community, and then have to come home to a confining apartment. We continue to learn how to work through the challenges and successes (sometimes small, but always significant) of a cultural immersion.

About jdicus

I am a Spanish and social studies teacher on year-long sabbatical in Mendoza, Argentina. Our family consists of myself, wife Jenny Breen, and daughters Solana and Frances. With this blog we endeavor to chronicle our experience living abroad.
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