Thursday, October 29, 2009


Morning Pichincha

I decided to look at another school possibility for Maya and visited 'Academia Cotopaxi' on Tuesday, which is the choice of Embassy employees and diplomats, from the United States and from many other countries. When I initially looked at schools for Maya last January, I never considered any English instruction schools. I was convinced that if we were to live in a Spanish speaking environment, immersing Maya in the language would ensure quick and easy language acquisition. I never imagined that Maya would not simply adjust quickly, make friends, find her place here.

I resisted looking at alternatives until now. I learned that Cotopaxi was having an open house, and was able to show up at the end of the day without an appointment. I was warmly received and given a tour. The school was up on one side of the valley with a lovely view, extensive grounds, and the children looked happy and well taken care of. When I talked to the admissions officer, I was assured that the school was accustomed to accepting new children at any time of the year, that Maya could visit within a few days, take an exam, and start school shortly thereafter. The transition would be smooth and easy. All instruction would be in English, with an American curriculum, and one hour of Spanish a day. I ran into a teacher who I knew, and Bianca, who we had met at Hacienda Cienega, and Nicole, the Canadian ambassador's daughter, all who greeted me warmly. Only after my tour did I learn that the school cost about double that of Alberto Einstein, which is already at our limit.

Halloween Ballerina

I went to pick Maya up at her school, where she was playing soccer with the boys. She was comfortable and was clearly enjoying herself. I talked to her teachers who felt she was doing better. As we drove to ballet class, she happily told me about the boys that liked her.

I was desperate about Maya last week. Now I wonder if in fact things are turning around for her, that my expectation that she will settle and adjust may actually happen. She was invited to a Halloween party tonight. A group of teachers from her school had arranged to receive a group of trick-or-treaters, so Maya dressed up in her cat outfit (which she had rejected initially, then agreed to wear the suit but not the mask, but warmed to the costume and by the end of the evening liked her mask) and Lucia's parents drove the children to each of the houses to pick up treats, which included candy, toothpaste, apples and pears.

Halloween Cat

Maya, a secret smile on her face, told me today that she is speaking Spanish. I have yet to hear her say one word in Spanish, although she will tell me every phrase she has learned in her French class. For weeks she has refused to speak any Spanish at all, although she dutifully conjugates her verbs nightly. We were advised not to push the Spanish, to be relaxed about it, just let it happen when it happens. I wonder if it is happening now.

I hope this is not wishful thinking.

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