Favorite family memories seem to revolve around travel for me. The thrill and excitement of exploring a new place and discovering different cultures is always a great opportunity for unexpected family memories.
A couple years ago we were fortunate enough to be able to take Dylan & Em to Costa Rica for a couple weeks. We had never been on an international trip as a family so this was kind of a big deal. Both of them had taken Spanish in school, but we live in northern Michigan and there really isn’t any place to practice the language outside the classroom.
Although you can speak English just about everywhere in Costa Rica I really encouraged them to practice their Spanish language skills while we were on vacation. Ordering in cafes and shopping in stores were all excellent motivators for practice.
My favorite moment occurred while we were sitting at a small open air cafe in La Fortuna. Up until this point Dylan & Em had both been very hesitant to use any Spanish. A foreign language can be intimidating and all I could do was encourage and hope they would at least try. The waiter came over to take our order and Dylan & Em both ordered in Spanish. Now, for a lot of people, I know this is a very minor thing, but it was my favorite unexpected moment of that day. Watching my children try something that I know was scary and then seeing them succeed was awesome. The best part–seeing the realization on their faces that they could speak some Spanish AND understand it. As the trip continued their skills were honed a bit more and they became a little more confident in their abilities.
I hope they travel extensively throughout their lives and I hope the memory of this trip will give them the encouragement they need to learn and practice more foreign languages.
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