When we moved to Peru, my daughter was about to turn 5. She went to a bilingual nido (preschool- literal translation:nest) at the Anglican church. Since she was a natural mimic (or should I say auditory learner?), it wasn’t long before we heard her speaking in a British accent now and then.
She began learning some Spanish, but at home more than at school, as she spent time with our empleada (maid/babysitter), Victoria, everyday. She would sound as if she were speaking Spanish when really she was just babbling- but she had the rhythm of Spanish. She chose her words in Spanish well when she needed to- her constant plea for Victoria was “Mira! (look)” And she had no trouble remembering “Helado! (ice cream)” which would make the ice cream man pedal his ice cream cart over so she could pick what she wanted. She would stomp her little foot, though, whenever someone would use the Spanish pronounciation of her name, Miranda, and shout, “My name is Mi-ran-da!”
The apartment where we lived was on the tenth floor. It had lots of windows… no screens. I worried about that, imagining my little girl falling from so high. I was worried for the wrong reason. She found it fun to drop things out the window, starting with Victoira’s toothbrush. We had to replace more than one before we broke the hilarious (in her mind) habit.
She was the only one in the family who experienced riding the bus in Lima. After we found out Victoria was taking her on the bus, we always made sure Victoria had a little extra money for a taxi.
She learned some hot Latin dance moves from Victoria’s teenage daughter. Imagine a preschool Jennifer Lopez.
She loved that her dad was the pastor at church- she thought that meant the church was her domain. Every Sunday after church service, we had a coffee/tea time in our fellowship hall (shellowpip hall to her). She would have “coffee” every Sunday- actually a little tea, lots of milk and sugar. We had several watchmen who worked in shifts so someone was always on the church grounds, and they helped serve the coffee and tea. They really spoiled that little blond girl!
In October, the US Embassy sponsored a Spring Fling. The grounds were filled with bouncy houses, ice cream stands, clown and magic shows, and kiddie rides. Since her birthday is in October and that first year we were there the festival was actually on her birthday, she thought it was her birthday party.
She started kindergarten in Peru, with two classmates. They were both missionary kids. She was an angel in the school Christmas program, although she was the least angelic of the trio!
She was 6 1/2 when we left Peru. She did not want to speak Spanish anymore. And she did forget. She does have some memories of Peru… but she wants to travel to France… or Australia…