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Raising the Kids to be Bilingual

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

You might think that a pair of Canadians raising a child in Mexico means the achieving bilingualism is automatic – taken for granted. That was my thinking when we chose to have a baby. After 14 months, it’s proving to be more work than I thought, but not an impossible challenge.

We speak mostly English in the home with Stella, though reading time is a mix of both as we’ve collected an enormous library of children’s books written in both English and Spanish. I’ve been using select programming from Nick Jr, a channel carried on Sky (Mexican satellite tv provider). Dora la Exploradora and a few other programs that are 90% Spanish. We also have a nanny that watches Stella when both mom and dad are at work (about 40% of the year) and she speaks 100% Spanish. So, it looks like we have all the right tools in place.

Stella is not talking yet…a few words here and there, and lots of ba-ba-babble. I’m told that kids raised in a bilingual environment will normally take a bit longer to start speaking so no worries as yet. What I’m most impressed with is her ability to understand either language.

Whether it’s Spanish or English -though mostly English – Stella demonstrates a very understanding of what’s said to her. “Please bring daddy the ball” is answered quickly by her looking for the ball (among a mountain of toys) and bringing it to daddy. Using some Spanish like “donde esta la pelota?” is producing the same result.

It will be interesting to see what her first phrases are, beyond the yes/no, hi/bye, mama/papa words she’s already using. I am hoping it won’t be something like:

“Papa, here’s the pelota. Donde esta my bottle of leche?”

But even if it is, I’ll still be happy.

Clinton vs Obama on Mexico

Friday, September 10th, 2010

An interesting split between President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the problem of drug cartels in Mexico. As reported by the BBC.

Barack Obama

Obama says Mexico drug crime is not as bad as Colombia

President Obama has denied that rising violence is making Mexico more and more like Colombia at the height of its drugs war.

The remark is an apparent contradiction to comments made by his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

She said on Wednesday that the drug war in Mexico had begun to resemble the violence in Colombia 20 years ago.

But Mr Obama told a US Spanish-languange newspaper that there was no comparison between the two.

“Mexico is vast and progressive democracy, with a growing economy, and as a result you cannot compare what is happening in Mexico with what happened in Colombia 20 years ago,” he told the Los Angeles-based daily La Opinion.

Mrs Clinton made her remarks after a foreign policy speech at a think tank in Washington.

Drug cartels, she said, were “showing more and more indices of insurgencies”.

The traffickers were “in some cases, morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency in Mexico and in Central America”, she said.

I think I’ll agree with Obama on this one. The problems in Colombia have always included a serious political angle, in the left-wing FARC. In Mexico, the problems are purely drug related with no political movement working alongside it or in parallel to it.

Mexico’s Bicentennial

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
Mexican flags Big party coming up all over Mexico as it celebrates 200 years of independence. Every town and city should have big events happening at city centers (often called zocalos). has a write up of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Raising Children in Mexico – A Canadian’s View

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
[caption id="attachment_67" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Guy\'s daughter Stella"]Baby girl[/caption] 14 months old is my little Mexican-Canadian daughter...frijolera and canucka, all rolled into one little ball of joy and smiles. My girlfriend and I are ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hey, I’m Back!

Friday, August 27th, 2010
Hi everyone, and thank you for your patience.  I had a problem with this blog not being able to log in for over month. So I gave up.  Turns out it was a small technical error that I just figured ... [Continue reading this entry]

February Highlight – Oaxaca, Mexico

Monday, February 11th, 2008
With this entry, I begin a new series that highlights individual Mexican states...all 31 of them, each with its own culture, history, and TEFL job scene. I will try to bring some of each state's history and features into focus, ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Mexican Cop on a Diet

Saturday, February 9th, 2008
Amusing tale from the BBC.. BBC

Heavyweight police officers in one Mexican city could soon be offered cash bonuses if they slim down.

A diet of fizzy drinks, tacos ... [Continue reading this entry]

Thai Cuisine – Rat!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
Yes, I should be writing about Mexico, but this story caught my eye. BBC photo From the BBC...(and thank you BBC for eliminating my appetite this eve)
Thai fast food sellers are enjoying ... [Continue reading this entry]

7 Years Abroad

Thursday, November 1st, 2007
cake Today I celebrate seven years abroad in Mexico.  Man, how time flies when you're having fun.

Dollars, and Pesos, and Euros, oh my

Monday, October 29th, 2007
currencies The currency exchange market has been in quite a mood lately, spelling trouble for those traveling around the globe, or working abroad and trying to send home money. In the last few months, I've watched in horror ... [Continue reading this entry]