When I was fourteen, my dad decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International, an organization that aims to release children from poverty and to enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults. Actually, my dad chose to sponsor three children so that my two sisters and I could each be paired with a child, writing letters to update and encourage each other every few months. My child--a girl from the Philippines--I and corresponded through my college years and into my early married years until she grew up. Now I sponsor another Filipina girl, Angielyn, and it's been a delight to watch her grow through annual photos and bi-monthly letters.Read More
Joyeux Noël, les amis! Yes, Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas! I have a little gift for you if you listen to podcasts and are interested in traveling as a family to help you or your children improve your bilingual skills! You see, Marianna DuBosq at Bilingual Avenue has just released the 100th episode of the Bilingual Avenue podcast, and in this episode, Polish mama & translator Hanna Cheda and I share about how we took our families overseas for amazing language immersion experiences. I give details about how we saved money for the trip, how my children handled the experience, and how I enrolled my daughter in a French school. Hanna shares about locating affordable family housing and finding free immersion experiences for children. I hope you love what you learn!Read More
Oh it was a heartbreaking weekend, wasn’t it?! The news of the Paris attacks was just shocking and sickening; to learn of Parisians being targeted with such intentional cruelty brings us all to a standstill. During my time in Paris this last July, my husband, children and I stayed just blocks from the Bataclan—it’s in an area of Paris that has been gaining popularity with its up and coming restaurants, not far from the iconic Place de la République. On Friday night, Facebook’s safety check system was quick to show that my friends in and around Paris were safe, but the unraveling news stories still cut to my heart as it became apparent that young people were targeted and that French culture itself was attacked.Read More
Bonjour les amis! Je m'excuse--I've chosen to focus on homeschooling and homemaking lately, and I took an unforeseen break from blogging. Nonetheless, I missed writing and I definitely look forward to the times I get to reconnect with you. Today I want to answer a question posted on Intentional Mama's Facebook page about exactly how I managed to enroll my three-year-old son in public preschool while we lived in Lyon, France. We were only there until the end of September, but attending French school was an opportunity I didn't want my son to miss! I can't promise that you or your friend would be able to enroll your child based on these two steps, but honestly the process was far easier that I expected and it's worth trying!Read More
La rentrée has arrived: today marked the first day back to school for the vast majority of French students. My two oldest children went to school for the first time ever, since last year we homeschooled my daughter for kindergarten and my son was too young to attend. Here in France, however, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity for my children to be immersed in French, make friends, and experience school in another country. Here's how I enrolled them for a month and how the first day went:Read More
I'm writing you with a full stomach and a contented heart because we've just spent a week in Bretagne (Brittany in English). Bretagne is on France's northwestern coast below Normandy, and it's a popular vacation destination for Parisians who want get out of the city. It's an area with Celtic culture that can be seen in the age-old erected menhirs and dolmens--great Stonehenge-like monoliths that you might recall from Asterix comic books. We didn't see those rocks, though we enjoyed hiking among similar ones with my distant relatives. Actually, I should say my probable relatives--we haven't proved we're related, but genealogy suggests we are and we share a variation of my maiden name. I enjoyed staying with this retired couple ten years ago, and this past week my husband and children got to join me in experiencing their amazing hospitality.
Halló from Iceland! We're in Reykjavic on a five-day stopover before we continue on to France. Did you know you can stopover in Iceland for free when flying Iceland Air to or from Europe? This is our first time doing so, and we've had an amazing experience. We exchanged homes with an Icelandic family through HomeExchange.com and staying in their home has been one of the best blessings of our stay. We've also had a chance to visit one of our former exchange students and her family, so we've truly had a great time! In case you get a chance to visit here or know someone who will, here are our tips for a great family vacation in Iceland:Read More
When my husband and I hosted high school exchange students, they told us about the repeated conversations they had with American students during the first few weeks of school:
American: "So you're an exchange student? That's awesome! Where are you from?"
Exchange student: "I'm from Bolivia." [or Hungary, etc.]
American: "Really? That's awesome! So . . . where's Bolivia?"Read More