Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reading, Writing, and Listening

Since we've been here, I have had a lot of time to read and write, which I love. The kids have had more time to read as well, and we've started reading a couple of chapter books with them. They also found a couple of Danish books here on the shelves, so they've been reading those with Jeff. Tuesday evening we read the second chapter of Charlotte's Web, and we're also a couple of chapters into Little House in the Big Woods.

Jeff is teaching a course on classic American literature (hence Charlotte's Web and Little House in our list) and has been spending a lot of his time reading as well. This week he's spending time with To Kill a Mockingbird. He also discovered how much his students enjoy ending each class with a poem, so he's been reading some of the essential pieces of American poetry as well.

I generally take time to write each weekday, and perhaps on the weekends. It's a nice habit to get into. I remember how much I loved having to do that for various composition classes when I was in school. Now that it's not required, it's a bit harder to remember to do. That's actually what one of the books I'm reading now is about -developing and keeping habits, and how it's hard even if it's something we want to do. I will need to figure out a way to keep up my daily writing when we return home and get back into a different schedule again.

Ah, listening! Sometimes we learn so much about the world around us by listening. The boys, definitely, have learned a lot of Danish already by listening when others are speaking. They claim to not know much, but then they are asked to do something, or get something, or whether they have their lunch, etc. and they answer right away. So, clearly they are understanding! It's very fun to see and hear. I hope that they continue to learn and understand, and that when we get home they don't forget.

I am picking up a few things here and there -we laughed at the irony the other day at lunch when one of the teachers who is there infrequently asked me, in Danish, whether I understood Danish and I was able to answer "nej" -so, apparently I understood at least that much! So much depends on context, though. If I can understand the context, I follow the words much more easily. Other times I don't have a clue. We were at the thrift store the other day to pick up some yarn for me, and Jeff had said that at the store, I can just look at the amount on the cash register to know how much to pay. In general, yes. However, the woman tallied up my purchases on a little notepad with a pencil, then told me in words, before she entered anything into the cash register. I heard "fier" and then started thinking..."ok, four times what is reasonable for what I just purchased?" I settled on giving her 100Kr, knowing that was more than necessary. It turned out to be 80. Four twenties was what she'd said.

Speaking of listening, the littlest one seems to think that listening (and its corollary obedience) isn't really necessary to her life at this stage. She will be 18 months tomorrow, but has already readily adopted a 2yr old attitude. Mostly she is sweet and kind and funny and silly, but she's also started the phase of laughing when you tell her "no" (or "nej" -she dislikes it just as much in Danish as in English) and screaming just for the fun of it. Tuesday night we had to leave dinner early; Jeff and the boys stayed and Svea and I went home. She wanted to watch Miffy, and I told her that she was being naughty so we weren't going to watch Miffy. She wasn't impressed, but stopped asking. Then we had some yogurt and granola since we'd missed most of supper, and then the boys came home. She started practicing her high-pitched scream, and I told her that if she did it one more time, she was going to bed. So she did, and she did. Again, not too impressed. But she was in much better spirits this morning after two long naps yesterday and a long sleep over night.

Nearly one month in, and we blew the first fuse in the house. We were told that the fuses get overloaded easily, and we've been very careful about only running one appliance at a time. Forgetting the dryer was on, turning on the vacuum proved to be a bit much. Jeff went upstairs to fix it, and called down "how do I figure out which one it is, and how do I change it?" then about 30 seconds later, he came down with the blown out one. "There's a sticker that says 'probably this one' and it was. Just pulled it out and put the new one in." So, no worries there. I'm proud of us for making it this long.

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