12 August 2015

She's Hungarian!!! (I mean, she's German!) Bilingualism Blessing my (grown) Babies!

Today I got a very sweet postcard in the mail. It's from my 20 year old daughter, Michaela, who is currently serving an 18 month mission for our church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in Germany. Link to Michaela's Mission Blog. She has been serving the people of Germany for almost a year now. She loves Germany and she loves the German people. Today's postcard is one of those letters that warms a mother's heart:

Dear Mommy,
You are the best! I'm being completely honest. Mom, you are really the best. I could never say thank you enough that you spoke German to us. This special ability that I have--to speak German (which you gave to me)--has opened many doors and hearts. You never served a full-time mission, but you are serving next to me every day--because every word that I speak is a word that you taught me. I love you so much, but right now I don't want to be anywhere else but here. I cherish every moment here on my mission. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (3 Ne 13:21). 
Today I had a funny/awesome experience. While we were on the train, I met an older lady. She was completely taken aback when I told her that I was an American. She was 100% sure that I was German AND she studied languages (she was a female version of Henry Higgens). After that encounter I had to laugh because I had that funny tune going around in my head from "My Fair Lady."  ..."She's Hungarian!"  You know? That point where Eliza passes her language test at the ball. Well, that's what I felt like today. 
From the bottom of my heart!
Your Michaela

First off, I have to say that I have not taught Michaela every word she knows...because I had to look up one of the expressions she used in her letter: "Ohrwurm im Kopf haben". I didn't know that meant to have a catchy tune stuck in one's head. But, what a gift that she is able to write the letter in German! This letter is precious to me. I am so happy that my grown children feel so grateful for the gift that we worked so hard to give them: the gift of a second language.  I am so touched by the fact that our efforts to raise our children bilingually have not only blessed the lives of our children, but also (through them) the lives of many others, as well! What a blessing! Once again, I am totally blown away by the unanticipated blessings we have received because of our decision to speak German to the kids. When we started this funny language experiment over 22 years ago, I never would have thought that it would have brought this much joy! What a wonderful journey this has been...with some amazing results and rewards!

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Bilingual Baby Dream Team

Going on 20+ years of raising our bilingual babies...
I'm so grateful for a sweet husband who was willing to give this whole experiment a try and and that he was willing to speak German to our kids, even though his German exposure had been limited to a few semesters of college German. It's been one of the most fun and rewarding things we've done. The fact that our family speaks German has given us our own identity and helps the kids feel like they are a part of something special. And anything that helps your family feel special and connected is a good thing.