Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I've been meaning to share something from my own story of adjusting to the life and language here in Chile ... it helps me to keep some perspective on what is happening with my girls right now. If we are practicing "tough love" with our kids, it's in part because "tough love" was practiced on us (I'm thinking specifically of my sisters and me) as well - and in the end, it really was in our best interest.

My friend Angie mentioned this in her comment, and I would have to say the same for myself as well - when I was Eva's age, my personality was probably similar to hers. I vividly remember the drive to first grade at the MK school when we had just arrived in Chile. Another MK who lived close by and who would eventually become a lifelong friend, was carpooling with us and we were going to be classmates. I was too shy to make eye contact with her, and we even spoke the same language!

One memory in particular that stands out to me is the week my parents sent me away to camp with my sisters. I could not have been much older than Eva, and I did NOT want to go. It was all in Spanish. My one and only Chilean "friend" was a young adult who was a counselor that week and I wanted so badly to be in her room, but I was told I had to room with the other campers. I remember feeling so alone and out of place.

At camp they served semola for breakfast and I thought it was so disgusting (we never had it at home) but the rule was that we had to eat it. I remember sneaking to the cabin where one missionary family was staying so that I could speak English and have some of the dry cereal they brought with them! To top it all off, I got very sick that week with a really high fever. I have vague recollections of being carried to my friend's room (I got my wish after all! and I specifically remember that it was the first time I ever received medication via suppository (TMI, I know!)

Needless to say, it was rather traumatic and I did not go back to camp for many years ... but, I did continue to be pushed into Spanish-speaking environments by my parents. Even after I had a good grasp on the language, going into new group settings was hard for me (which is why I can still empathize with my daughter) but I truly grew to love Chile, its culture, language and people.

And I am confident my children will, too. :)

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