Monday, May 30, 2011


On Saturday evening I was prepared to write about our monumental mountain hike that lasted 4 hours.  By Sunday at 7 PM I had changed my mind and wanted to write about our amazing day at Everland (a Disneyworld wanna be).  But by Sunday night at 8 PM I knew I had to write about Anna.

Our daughter is in third grade.  She's a whiz at language acquisition.  We've known this since she was three and switched languages from Russian to English in just three months.  At that time we marveled at her ability to pick up a new language so easily.   Later it was the beginnings of Spanish (and even a little German) in kindergarden through second grade.

Now we are in Korea.  We've seen it all year long.  She more than anyone in the family has embraced the new language, permanently replacing Mom with Almeony and What time is it? with Myatsheayo?  She gives ME vocabulary quizzes over breakfast and tells me how pathetic I am that I can't remember the vocabulary from one day to the next. (Which is true, more or less.)  I'll try to communicate with a vendor and have them look at me with a blank stare.  She'll say the same thing (only apparently with better pronunciation) and they'll go "Oh, sure!"  All this may seem impressive . . .

But after the 35-minute ride home in a cab the other day, my husband and I will never see her the same again.

She'd been a bit carsick on the way to Everland, sitting in the back.  So on the way home we decided to put her in the front seat.  As always, the cabdriver was smitten with her open nature and blond-hair.  He knew a few bits and pieces of English but not much.  By five minutes into the drive home, they were talking full-out in Korean.  He'd ask a question and she'd reply.  She'd ask a question and he'd reply.  He'd ask a question she didn't know, would point and gesture or give his own response or try a little English and she's say, "Oh, now I understand" and off they'd be on a new strand of conversation.  They discussed everyone's ages, family relationships, where we lived, all the things they liked and didn't like.  I'd have to say every bit of vocabulary she's learned from her 2x/week Korean teacher was put to use.

We sat in the back amazed.  She was polite, laughing, asking questions, answering questions like a . . . grown up conversationalist!

We began to wonder if she'll have a future using a second (or third language) rather than in art.  How does she do it?

Meanwhile, I sat in the back desperately trying to keep up, using my Essential Korean Phrases book.  I DID learn that the months of the year are quite straight forward (essentially something like 1-month = January, 2-month = Feb. and so on).

So there you have it.  Anna wins the blog story this week.


  1. There may be a career in linguistics or interrupter for her. She’s always impressing me on the Skype calls. see you all in 25 days

  2. Totally amazing!!! Go Anna :)


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