What’s good for the goose?

I recently got a huge response for my post about how my husband Aron doesn’t speak English, and thought I would add some thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a very nice woman — perhaps in her 60s — about some of the sentiments my family has had during our transition to life in the U.S.  I knew I shouldn’t have let it slip that Aron only speaks Spanish.  I ended up listening to her briefly inform me that it will be necessary for him to learn English, and that while he is working in the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant he will not get the opportunity to branch out and learn our language.

Sigh.  Instead of sarcastically complimenting her on her novel idea of cultural/language immersion, I respectfully bit my tongue.

I think this would be a good spot to mention that tomorrow we will be celebrating our first anniversary of entering the U.S. as a family!  Go us!!  This was a feat of sorts, but I will get into the details of that at another time.

So first of all, the reasons Aron works at a Mexican restaurant are these: the owners of the restaurant are great people, and the place is literally about 2 blocks away from our home — very helpful, since we only have one car, and Aron can walk out of the house four minutes before he has to be at work and still make it on time.  It was a chance for him to make some more money for us, and it was too convenient to pass up.  Oddly enough, Aron has actually been learning some English back in the kitchen because the food preparation information is all in English.  Go figure.  That’s not as good as being fluent, but I would not expect him to be fluent after a year anyway.  I wholeheartedly embrace those baby steps.

Aside from what I have discussed previously about our reliance on Spanish to maintain our relationship, and to  keep the Mexican culture flowing through our home, one thing to know about Aron and me is that we put our 3 year-old son D’s education on the front burner.  That doesn’t mean we sit down with little D and pour over a pile of flash cards every day for hours on end.  That does mean, though, that we are concerned about shaping his verbal, mechanical, intellectual, and social skills.  One of the main things we IMG_7406emphasize is the need for D to speak English and Spanish fluently, with an appropriate accent for each.  The amount of time we spend with D, along with devoting time to our grown-up jobs and normal life events, takes priority over what Aron and I do for ourselves.  That means it is more necessary for D to be listening to authentic Spanish in the household than for us to be focusing on Aron’s English.

Another thing I take into consideration when measuring our efforts regarding my husband’s verbal ability is that I know what it is like to be in a place that is far away from, and drastically different from, where I grew up.  Dissimilar cultural immersion can take a physical and emotional toll on a person.  Heck, I feel like I was on-and-off a crazy person the entire 4 years I was living in Mexico.  I felt relieved to listen often to music in English, to bond with friends who spoke English, and to watch U.S. TV shows; and I know I am not the only traveller who has experienced this.  So let’s ease off a bit on the language force-feeding.  It will come with time.  We may be able to scrounge up the money to get Aron into some language courses at the state college soon, but for now we are doing our best.

We are still working out the snags in our methods, but I really love where we are headed as a family.

Check out the link below for an easy-to-read brief (for those of us who are lazy or who don’t care to allot too much time for interpreting demographics) from the U.S. Census Bureau to find out more about the Hispanic population of the U.S.  Based on the trends, it’s interesting and exciting to think about how society will be changing over the upcoming years!

http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf

5 thoughts on “What’s good for the goose?

    • Thank you! What was your initial purpose for going to Mexico? We’ve not been to D.F. yet (I have friends who live/have lived there) but hope to do plenty more exploring as it becomes safer to do so. Any advice or further comments are welcome, as you see fit🙂

      • Gosh, I lived there from 95-97 right after the peso devaluation and it was crazy dangerous. A bus I was on was hijacked, the two apartments we lived in (I went with my first hubby for his job) were robbed, and we were held up at gunpoint a couple of times- but that was then- and I still loved it. I haven’t been back but would go if I had people to stay with who knew the current lay of the land. It is such a rich vibrant city with so much to see and do…but your safety is most important so if people still consider it sketchy, then you’re right to wait until it is safer. Sorry, that’s not much help! How is it where you are now (near Monterrey?)?

        • We are up in the U.S. now, but we plan to visit Mty for a few weeks next month! Well, Monterrey used to be the best place for tourists, and it is now considered one of the worst. There are a lot of wealthy entrepreneurs, etc. there, and with it being so close to the U.S. border it gets a lot of cartel traffic. There are good parts and bad parts of the city, like pretty much anywhere else. We haven’t had too much trouble personally, though there have been a number of scares — with extortion and threats, and violent crimes hitting very close to home. During my first year or so (2008) it was still pretty safe to wander about, but more recently it was getting so that we didn’t want to be driving too far if we didn’t have to. We used to drive 8+ hours to Tampico, Tamps and Veracruz area each year but it became dangerous to drive, and news media warned against it. It was a bit more nerve-racking with someone like me who obviously was not from there, and our son… so my husband and I became less adventurous:/ I definitely appreciate your insight. In the coming years I will have to plan a trip with some of my friends to see more of MX (when we have the money). It really is nice to have people who know their way around…

  1. Pingback: Criticism for speaking to my husband in Spanish | La Güera Pecosa

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