let´s get things started...

Lindsay - posted on 01/07/2009 ( 36 moms have responded )

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i'm starting this group to create 'virtual community' since it's hard to create community here in sant just desvern outside of barcelona... thought this might be a good place to trade stories, get advice, and simply be connected to other english- and spanish-speaking moms (í've got nothing against catalan, pero madre mia me cuesta entenderlo). join up and let's start talkin!

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Lesley - posted on 09/20/2010

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Hello! I'm an ex-pat from Canada living in Greece for the last 7 1/2 years. And I am mummy to almost 2 year old (Oct. 14th) Isabella! Daddy is Greek so he speaks only Greek to her and I speak only English to her. I was working for the European Commission up until August 2008 when I started my maternity leave for Isabella and then in December 2008, it closed permanently. So I am looking for work here but am not successful. I truthfully want to move back to Canada but hubby is not on board with that. Yet! We will have a few very tough months ahead of us and then I will see what he says!!! Hope to keep in touch with some of you ladies! xox

Heather - posted on 06/10/2010

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Hi! I'm Heather, living in Finland. I speak English with my son. My husband speaks Finnish with him. He attends bi-lingual school and he started Swedish this past year at school.

Jessica - posted on 07/14/2009

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Hi! I am living outside Amsterdam. I have one daughter who is five months old. I am not involved in any expat communities so am going nuts! It is nice to see other moms going through similar things.

Lizanne - posted on 07/12/2009

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Quoting Samantha:

Hello everyone!
Hope I can jump in here. I am English but have lived in Holland for more than 15years now. My husband is Dutch-Swiss. I speak english to my 2 girls (Zoe is 9 and Tamara is 7years), and my husband speaks dutch to them, however, they hate talking english to me for some reason...say they are afraid to make mistakes and now refuse to even try! When my parents come over or we go to visit them in the UK they will speak english to them without a thought but if I enter the room they will immediately start talking to in Dutch!


Hi Samantha!



I found your story so interesting - I also live in Holland (foing on 19 years) and we're raising our kids in Dutch and English too! I'm American, but I teach them english-english. Sometimes I forget, and when my daughter sees something new and says 'oh WOW, coool!', I'm reminded of how American I still am...shudder! ;) I'm so curious how my kids will be with language. At the moment, Mia (who's turning 3 in August) is barely making words, let alone sentences in Dutch or English, unlike other kids her age. We knew she'd be behind, but also know kids catch up so quickly and then have a tremendous jump on their classmates later on. She can get so frustrated when she can't say what she wants to say!! Sometimes, I offer she can tell me in Dutch, but I don't want to confuse her. I really try to be consistent, so does my husband.



An english friend of mine who lives in Belgium had a weird thing - her son refused to speak English to her and her daughter only spoke Dutch to her. They both would laughed at her when she tried to speak Dutch! But she could understand everything they said. Poor thing. It certainly did turn heads, though.



 



We live in Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen, and I think we're just about the ONLY bilingual family around here.



That makes it really tough, it's not like Amsterdam or Rotterdam where being bilingual is even more common than not! Sometimes I just want to give it up and go Dutch completely, but I find it so important they grow up hearing both languages...



 



Great to meet you!



Lizanne



 

Lizanne - posted on 07/12/2009

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Quoting Ann:



Hello, I am Ann and I was born in Belgium. I moved to England 3 years ago, because my husband is from England. We have a nearly 18month old son, Cedric, who is my world. I am a SAHM, and we talk mostly English at home and with Cedric. I sometimes do talk Dutch with him, and we watch some Belgian cartoons here.






It would be very nice to find some moms and have some virtual friends around the world!!!






xxx





Hi Ann,



I'm from America originally but now I live in Belgium - Wachtebeke, do you know it? It's right on the border with Holland. Maybe you know Puyenbroeck?? I'm a SAHM too, I just started my own business and I have two children, my daughter Mia is turning 3 in August and my son Bram is almost 18 months. Your Cedric is almost 2 now! How are his language abilities? I'm trrying to raise my kids bilingually - Dutch and English - and am curious if other moms are doing the same...



Lizanne

[deleted account]

Hello everyone!
Hope I can jump in here. I am English but have lived in Holland for more than 15years now. My husband is Dutch-Swiss. I speak english to my 2 girls (Zoe is 9 and Tamara is 7years), and my husband speaks dutch to them, however, they hate talking english to me for some reason...say they are afraid to make mistakes and now refuse to even try! When my parents come over or we go to visit them in the UK they will speak english to them without a thought but if I enter the room they will immediately start talking to in Dutch! At home my husband and I speak english to one another, because after long discussions decided as the girls don't like speaking english to me, it would be good for them to hear it as much as possible. It has helped because the girls now like watching some of the american/english kids programmes and understand most it of. Occasionally they come across an american word or expression and then ask what does it mean ie, diaper, trashcan, pacifier etc!! They find it really amusing.
My husband has tried to teach the girls some swiss-german/german but other than a few odd words they don't show any interest. They do however like reading english, especially the eldest which I am happy about. The schools where we live don't offer english as a subject until they are in group 7, which is the last but one group before they go to secondary school. We do however, have a dutch-english secondary school nearby and they teach the kids most of their lessons in english but whether that is american english or english-english I don't know.
The girls say they like being bilingual as they love seeing the confusion on peoples faces when they hear them talking dutch and then hear me talking or replying to them in english.
I love facebook as it helps me keep in touch with my ex english collegues, family and ex school friends.......keeps that englishness alive...and now here of course lol

have a great weekend everyone
Sammiex

Ann - posted on 03/24/2009

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Hey Carolyn, the show Cedric likes is Samson en Gert. He just loves it and starts singing with them aswell. I am from Izegem, West vlaanderen, I don't know if you know that? Where are you from in Belgium? Feel free to add me to have a great chat. Take care xxx

E Wei - posted on 03/24/2009

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I do speak Malay and English, plus a few Chinese dialects as I heard lots of it growing up with grandparents. But for Carmen, my husband and I thought Cantonese and English would be fine and if she decides to learn more of the other dialects, we will slowly introducer her to it. Though by then I probably require a refresher course for myself- hee hee!! To be honest, she seems to repond to both rather appropriately but we are not too sure if this is by luck but may the 'progress' continue.  With regards to day- care, we are lucky that my in- laws could help out during the day as we both work. So when Carmen is at the in- laws, she learns Cantonese but after we pick her up, we speak mainly English to her. Would appreciate some advise on picking the right nursery for little one xx

Caroline - posted on 03/24/2009

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We live in the northeast, in Changchun. I wish we were living in a city like Shanghai... winters are very cold here;))

Susanna - posted on 03/24/2009

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Hi Caroline, where are you in China? I'm in Shanghai. My girls (ages 4 and 6) speak French at school and English at home. They don't speak much Chinese since our ayi speaks English but the youngest knows all the negatives (can't, don't want, don't like...)

Caroline - posted on 03/23/2009

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Hi, my name is Caroline and I'm Belgian. My partner is Italian and we currently live in China. We have one son, Auro, who is 6 months. I always speak in Dutch to my son and my partner in Italian, but we talk English to each other... I don't know how much that will confuse him, but my Italian just isn't good enough and my partner can not speak any Dutch;))



By the way, Ann, what is the name of the Belgian cartoon Cedric likes so much?

Ann - posted on 03/19/2009

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Hi Lindsay,



My husband speaks dutch aswell, cause he lived in Belgium for five years before we moved here. Cedric is fine when we speak dutch to him, just responds to us in English. He does understand both languages though. He loves one cartoon from Belgium so much he is started to sing that in dutch now, which is realy funny!! I am glad to have met some mums on here, it is realy great!! Thank you xxx

Lindsay - posted on 03/19/2009

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Hi Ann, does your husband speak Dutch too? How does your son seem to respond when you speak with him in Dutch? Welcome!

Lindsay - posted on 03/19/2009

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Hi E Wei - What language does she tend to respond in? I went to wikipedia to look up what languages are spoken in Malaysia, and was amazed!! Do you speak Malay? or several of the other main languages? Since I am from the US (where there is an overwhelming English-only push) I am always super-interested in countries where there are several 'main' languages. Do you split English and Cantonese between you or do you both speak it depending on the context? How is daycare going?

E Wei - posted on 03/17/2009

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Hello all.... I am originally from Malaysia and came over to England for my studies about 13 years ago now. One thing led to another, i.e. graduated, found a job, fell in love and got married, that I am now permanently based in London. My little girl, Carmen, is now 14 months old and is the sunshine of our lives. We speak to her in English and Cantonese (as her father's family is from Hong Kong) and so far (fingers crossed), she does know how to respond to both but I hope it does not confuse her too much that one simple object has two 'names'. No harm trying huh??

Ann - posted on 03/03/2009

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Hello, I am Ann and I was born in Belgium. I moved to England 3 years ago, because my husband is from England. We have a nearly 18month old son, Cedric, who is my world. I am a SAHM, and we talk mostly English at home and with Cedric. I sometimes do talk Dutch with him, and we watch some Belgian cartoons here.



It would be very nice to find some moms and have some virtual friends around the world!!!



xxx

[deleted account]

Hi Lindsay,

My husband and I work for an international telecommunications company. My 2.5 year old goes to our company daycare, which is trilingual (French, Flemish, English). They primarily speak French to her at daycare and she will start at a French speaking school next month.

Catherine - posted on 01/28/2009

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Hi Lindsay,



By the way, you have one CUTE little one.  I had my kids in the States and moved back here when they were one year old.  I came to Japan in 1991- cannot believe it has been that long.  In my neck of the woods, there are only Japanese schools so my kids get Japanese all day long.  English has been up to me too.  I am a bit strict in that, while I can speak Japanese,  I only speak to them in English. Other than going home each summer, one of the best things I have done is enroll my kids in an intensive reading and writing program over the summers.  Universities that offer Master's in Reading programs seem to need guinea pigs.  As for regrets, I can be lax when in comes to having them read and write.  I should do it more.  Always something to feel guilty about :)

Lindsay - posted on 01/28/2009

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hey catherine. have you been living in (how did you put it...) west nowhere japan their whole lives? do they go to japanese schools? i think about biliteracy (or triliteracy) often because it will probably be up to me to have lucia relatively literate in english since the two main languages here are spanish and catalan. her dad speaks gallego too, but i don't know how we'll maintain that one if we don't live in galicia. what advice do you have (or things you wished you'd done) to develop her english literacy?



and, hey rebekah. been in spain only about a year and a half... what are you all doing in belgium? and will your 2.5 yr old be in daycare or are you taking care of her at home?

Catherine - posted on 01/28/2009

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That is a great question.  Honestly, I never really thought about it when my kids were little.  Then their Japanese reading skills took off.  While they can read in both languages, their English is a couple of grade levels behind while their Japanese is right on target. 

[deleted account]

Belgium gives 15 weeks paid maternity leave. My little was born 6 weeks early and spent 3 weeks in the hospital and her hospital stay didn't count against my leave. You can take up to 6 months maternity/paternity leave but I'm not sure if you get paid. We will hopefully be here another 4 years.
How long have you been in Spain?

Lindsay - posted on 01/28/2009

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how long is the belgian maternity leave? spain's 4 months is incredible... france does 6 months... and in austria you can take up to 2 years!! (paid a percentage, but still...) how long will you be there for?

Lindsay - posted on 01/28/2009

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bilingual and biliterate are two different things aren't they? do your children read in japanese? english?

[deleted account]

Hello All, my husband and I are from the US. We have been living in La Hulpe, Belgium for just over 1 year (we are living on the Fracophone side). We have two girls ages 2 1/2 and 9 weeks. I'm currently enjoying / appreciating the Belgium maternity leave.

Catherine - posted on 01/27/2009

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Hello, Lindsay, Lesley and Susanna,  I am just jumping in here from west no-where Japan :)  I have three kids- they are 11 and it the 5th grade.  I cannot believe that they will be in the 6th grade come April.  Anyway, I am from the US and my husband is Japanese.  I speak English to the kids and he speaks Japanese.  While bilingual is okay, biliterate takes more work... oh well,   they are getting there.  

Susanna - posted on 01/16/2009

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I guess they do have an extra hour in the morning, but they still have the same number of hours per week as they would in France. They had to change Wednesday to a half day this year because they had to many hours (French law dictates the number of hours for the schools). Our house in France is in a small town (5000 people) about 120km south of Paris. Hopefully we'll go back there, but it depends on my husband's job.

Lindsay - posted on 01/16/2009

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It will be interesting to see how the girls' French changes over time - as an English Language Learner (ESL, ESOL, EFL...) teacher myself, I know the benefits of speaking whatever mother tounge it is at home. Not just for the kids, but for you! They truly do get 'enough' French at school - and as they get older, it's important to find tutors to help in subjects that you can't... and other activities that support language development, but eventually it all works out! It's also amazing what an extra hour in the morning can do... I worked at a school that started at 8, and now I work at a school that starts at 9, and it honestly changes everything. I also am lucky - the day-care my daughter will go to is right around the corner from my school, which is only a 20 minute walk from our apartment! When I start back in March, I have a feeling it will make EVERYTHING easier. Where are you going to live when you move back to France?

Susanna - posted on 01/15/2009

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Yes we speak English at home. We got a lot of disapproval about that in small town France! ("How will the kids tell the teacher they need to go to the toilet?") So refreshing at the French school in Shanghai to hear, "Of course, you must speak your mother tongue at home!" My oldest had a hard time her first few months and used to hit or push the other kids because she was frustrated. Both girls are doing fine now, but don't speak unless asked a direct question. The most difficult thing is not the language, but the fact that we have to leave the house by 7:00 to get to the bus by 7:20 to start school at 8:00. I really miss the daily contact I had with the teacher and the other kids & parents when I walked my oldest to school in France. Here it's so much more difficult to know about the day to day happenings in their classes.

Lindsay - posted on 01/15/2009

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Hi Susanna - Germany, France, and Shanghai... and returning to France next year. Sounds like wonderful adventures. Do you speak English at home - and has it been difficult for the kids to go to French schools?

Susanna - posted on 01/15/2009

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Hello! My husband and are Canadian (English speaking). We lived 2-1/2 years in Germany and then 7 in France where our children were born (ages 5 and 3). Currently we are in our second year of living in Shanghai. Our kids go to the French school since we plan on returning to France next year and, for now, it's the only place they get any French.

Lindsay - posted on 01/14/2009

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I'm guessing your kids get a lot of practice with French seeing as how they're enrolled in French schools... and yes, focusing on being together is more important. I know many couples in which one person speaks English almost all the time and the other speaks Spanish all the time - and their kids do use them both. In those couples though, both adults speak both languages. Roberto doesn't speak English, so I speak Spanish with my daughter (and him) when he's around, and English when he's not. I figure I'll use mostly English with her while she's growing up, and Roberto will learn it too! I figure she'll also lean Catalan quickly because it's everywhere and she'll have to take it in school, and if we move to Galicia, everything will be in Gallego. When I was living in the US, my best friend and her husband spoke Spanish only at home, because they figured their kids were getting enough English outside the home. I guess that's parallel-ish to your family with English & French. What languages do your kids speak?

Lesley - posted on 01/12/2009

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My husband speaks English at home but I would prefer that he spoke French at least at a certain time each day for the practice (maybe dinner)...I think he's home so little that we try to save time and focus on just being together w/o the homework...I do know someone who speaks her native language at home 100% while her husband speaks his, all at the same time (question in English and answer in French) so there are constantly two languages floating around and mingling w/each other...their children have always heard both and can use them interchangeably! how cool is that?

Lindsay - posted on 01/12/2009

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That's excellent to hear about the family-friendly community - it must make a huge difference. What kinds of extra-curricular activities do your kids do? And you, what kind of extra-curricular activites do you try to find time to do? :) I have a question I've been thinking about a lot... how did you and your husband work the English/French languages with your kids? Since Lucía is only 2 months old, I figure we have time to work it out, but I'd love to hear about your experiences with language acquisition.

Lesley - posted on 01/12/2009

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I'm a SAHM for the moment...love it but am eager to get back to the world of adults. I was a TEFL teacher but am ready for a change! Looking forward to exploring some possibilities! The maternity leave is better, of course...I find most things are much more family-friendly here...school, daycare, health care, even extra curricular activities for the kids...with a big family like mine, it helps cut down on a lot of the stress. My husband is French and we live just outside of Toulouse in a petite village with lots of other families. The children attend school here and my oldest in the next village, French schools - so they're totally immersed! So, what's your story? I've visited Barcelona...absolutely beautiful! I know it's difficult to go back to work at first! You'll be ready when the time comes...and your beautiful baby will smile when you see her at the end of your day ;-)

Lindsay - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hi Leslie - welcome! Four kids - and one of them not even a year old! Are you working or are you a full time mom? I heard France has excellent maternity leave - 6 months paid and the last month and a half of your pregnancy you get 'medical leave'... we get 4 months here in Spain, which compared to the 6 weeks in the US is amazing. I work at the American School of Barcelona, and go back in March. It seemed fine 3 months ago, but now it seems too soon... What brought you to France? Where are your kids going to school?

Lesley - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hi! I've been living in Toulouse, France for 3 yrs now. I have four children 12, 9, 7, 11 months. There's an active expat scene here but I'm so busy with my litter of children, I find it hard to make time. Trying to make an effort, though...going kinda crazy without English! Can't wait to meet some 'virtual' friends to get my English fix and maybe some good advice!

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