A recent glut of lemons, found me looking for something new to make. It didn't take me long to discover a recipe for Limoncello. I started off with a cheap bottle of Vodka, some lemons and a preserving jar.
I very carefully peeled only the yellow from the skin of the lemons.
Popped it into the jar
And glugged the bottle of Vodka over the top
It went into a cool dark place for two weeks
And came out a lovely yellow colour. I then removed the lemon peel, added a vanilla pod and about 250 mils of sugar syrup
This was placed back in the cupboard for a further 2 weeks, strained, bottled, refrigerated and enjoyed!
Of course, with the freshly peeled lemons, I just had to knock up a quick Lemon Meringue Pie
This weeks subject is Parenting: bringing up a multilingual- mulitcultural family.
Well, we arrived here on April 16 and got the house as live able as we possibly could, the girlies were only 1 and 3 so I wasn't particularly worried about finding a school for them. My knowledge of the Spanish language was limited to 12 hours of one on one classes - so pretty non existent. I knew that I wanted to get my children into the normal education system and didn't want to go down the International school route. For one the nearest school was a 45 minute drive away, and I also wanted them to have local friends.
Prior to coming here, we had embraced both Dora the Explorer and the BBC's Muzzy in a big way, so Spanish wasn't completely alien to them. However, the thought of them starting school without any language was a bit alien to me. I endeavoured to find them a playgroup or nursery, where they could get a grounding in the language before they started school. The first "Guardaria" I came across left me reeling in horror, accustomed as I was to British standards. It was basically a room full of 0-3 year olds, left to their own devices. Not for me.
Luckily whilst shopping at one of the nearest Hypermarkets, I spotted on the other side of the road an "Escuela Infantil". Joy of joys, they had an English teacher too, and if I could come back in an hour, she could see me!
After a tour of the baby room, the middle room and the big kids room I was ecstatic, this was more what I was used to. They were duly enrolled and started two days a week on the first of June. Girlie #1 (3) attended June and July - August of course they were shut! - and Girlie #2 did a whole year extra, which was increased to 3 days a week once her sister was in the "big" school. Here, I later discovered that they could actually start "proper" school at age 3 - oh the shock. This although not obligatory, was considered the norm, as it was both cheap child care and meant that if your child went for these 3 years, they would be at the same level as their peers.
They have both done incredibly well at school, and so far I've not had any reports from their teachers as to their lack of vocabulary or language skills. They are now 11 and 13.
At home, we've always spoken English, and generally watch television in English. Although the odd Spanglish word or sentence does get thrown in now and again. Some words just sound better in the "other" language. As their speech was competent, I didn't pressurise them with too much extra homework in English. At 5 years old, Girlie #1 decided she would like to learn to read in English and retrieved Peter Rabbit from the bookcase. She started
"peh - teh - rr"
"Ah, that's not exactly correct, in English, P and E together is 'pea'"
"pea - tea - rr"
"Oh dear, the word is actually Peter, let me think about this one and we'll come back to reading English another day!"
So, thinking about how I learned to read, I hurriedly "Amazoned" some ladybird, Peter and Jane books and we started again.
They are now fluent in the two languages, prefer to watch television and films in English, but read in Spanish. However, they wouldn't miss out on a trip to the cinema with their friends.
Girlie #1, now she is in the "Instituto" doesn't like speaking to me in English in front of her friends, and prefers me to speak in Spanish too. They come home with hilarious tales of mispronunciation by their Spanish English teachers. Which has convinced Girlie #1 to become an English teacher - that and the long summer holidays! She actually told me last night - Yes, I'm going to show them the light!!!
I'm also a little concerned of the portrayal of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh as Pirates!!! I mean they were god fearing sea captains and favourites of royalty!!!
There also seems to be a bit of debate about who actually won The Battle of Gravelines in 1588 too!
Culturally we flit between the two, adopting the customs that we like the best and fit in best with our lives. We don't go to bullfights, but love the processions of the Moros and Christanos. We will eat Cottage Pie one day and Paella the next. I love taking my girlies out in the evenings - and occasionally 'til sunrise, but school days they are in bed "early". We eat a big traditional Christmas Day lunch, but go to welcome the Three Kings too. Basically, we try to fit right in with whatever is on offer and take each day as it comes.
I'm also pleased to say, that when they swear, it's all in Spanish too. I'm obviously not such a potty mouth as I thought!