Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lukie Or Is It Now LUC!

You know it is my fault my son is in France. I started taking French in the 7th grade and it was my minor in college. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to do study abroad because I was in love and planning a wedding instead. Avignon was my destination but....sigh...I decided to give it up for the love of my life. I never lost the dream, however. My husband had an opportunity to do a sabbatical as a benefit of being a professor at UW. So for three years we planned our trip. I insisted that somehow we spend time in France to fulfill my desires of so many years before even though my husband speaks not a word of French.

In 1995, when Kaley was 7 and Lucas was 10, we packed up our belongings, rented out our Mukilteo house and settled in Lyon, France. We rented a house in St. Didier, a small village outside of Lyon which essentially had become a suburb in the same way Mukilteo, originally a small ferry town, has become a suburb of Seattle. Hubby took the bus to his work with the Cancer Research Branch of the World Health Organization in downtown Lyon while I home schooled the children. Every weekend, we traveled. My only regret was that we did not stay longer than 4 months; this was not enough time for me to become fluent nor was it enough time for the children to become integrated. Ever since, both of our kids have been determined to finish what we started.

But, the amazing thing that happened was the influence on my children's language abilities. I had both of them enrolled in private French classes through the PTA at our public elementary school before we left. Nobody spoke English in Lyon so we limped by on my terrible French but the kids heard French being spoken constantly--even on the TV we had. Furthermore, there were two children in our St. Didier cul de sac who impressed upon Lucas and Kaley the importance of multi-lingualism. The boy, 12, and the girl, 5, each spoke perfect English, Spanish, and French. One day in our house, I had six kids playing together--my two who only spoke English, two French girls, and the other two.

This was one of the most amazing days in my life listening to the tiny multi-linguists seamlessly flipping between French and English and translating so they could all play together. Lucas and Kaley have both followed up with taking French to this day and Lucas is motivated to learn Spanish as well. So when Lucas receives compliments on his accent, I feel proud and I know why!

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And there he is--pursuing his dreams!

Lucas also has Live Journal now where he is telling about his experiences. (Just a warning--my son doesn't censor his language.)