Thereza of A Path of Light: for some time I was goth, almost got suspended in HS for drawing the anarchy symbol on top the school’s logo in my uniform, tricked all passengers in a coach bus pretending to be the ticket collector, and other stories! But what’seven better is that I already told my kids and we evaluated those choices together.
Frances of Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: I wanted to be nun. I was so determined that I went to the convent for a two-month retreat. On the 2nd day I knew that it wasn’t my calling. I called my mom, and she picked me up the following day. 😉
And mine? For me it would be that I once dyed my hair green and used to have a nose ring. Perhaps some of you would be surprised to know this too!
Wow, amazing that I haven’t done one of these since October, but it has been a busy fall and winter! So happy to bring this series back for a special New Year’s edition, looking back at the best posts of 2013 from our Multicultural Kid Blogs members!
What are favorite fall treats in your part of the world?
Rina Mae of Finding Dutchland: At the start of September, supermarket shelves line up with speculaas (spiced cookies), kruidnoten (mini spiced cookies), pepernoten (small aniseed flavored honey cookies), marzipan, almond filled pastries…all for a special Dutch holiday that comes in December. And they start appearing in Dutch homes the moment they’re available.
Leanna of All Done Monkey: Here in California we are enjoying apple pie and pumpkin bread, and I also look forward to my husband making atol, a yummy oatmeal drink from Costa Rica.
Alyson of World Travel Family: We don’t really have anything special for autumn in the UK, I can’t think of anything. In our part of Australia we don’t even have autumn, we just have The Dry and The Wet.
Ute of expatsincebirth: In Italy we use to do “castagnate” (chestnut roasted over a campfire) and make cakes with chestnuts (torta alle castagne), jam with chestnuts, ravioli with chestnut filling etc. and we have the delicious marrons glacés…. And: all the dishes that involve mushrooms (especially in Northern Italy and Southern Switzerland) – risotto ai funghi porcini, pappardelle ai funghi etc. – In Switzerland: we use to eat the cheese fondu or raclette when the colder season begins, in the Grisons (Swiss region in the South east) we eat a “Bündner Gerstensuppe” (barley soup) and Pizzoccheri.
Olga of The European Mama: In the Netherlands: appeltaart (Dutch apple pie) and what Rina said. In winter, we also eat erwtensoup pea soup- not really a treat, but only available in winter! In Poland, we also have szarlotka (apple pie) and my very favourite yeast plum cake with streusel!
Farrah of The Three Under: The La Trappe fall beers I have yet to find a ‘treat’ here in the NL that I love. The appletart just isn’t the same as apple pie. I did have a good pumpkin pie yesterday at a patch- but it was really, really gooey. I’ll have to find some of that soup Olga is talking about. I love the NL to the hilt- but not the food.
Annalyn of Travel Turtle: I love the variety of marzipan that starts showing up in the shops right about now. Ann-travel turtle.net
What are you proud of accomplishing this past year? What is a goal of yours for the coming year?
Olga of The European Mama: I gave birth, got some sponsored posts, got more readers for my blog, my little girl started walking, my big girl went to school. I am also very proud of the fact that I write for World Moms Blog! As for the new year: get more readers, more sponsored posts, get some time for myself, and for my children…
Jennifer of The Good Long Road: I am proud that my husband and I self-distributed and released our latest award-winning film, SMUGGLED, and that I have been able to get some incredible press coverage for the film, like a feature story by ABC/Univision and that we are now successfully reaching out to universities/colleges and community groups to share the film and its message. My goal for the coming year involves securing funding for our next film project and for our Spotlight on Hope Film Program to become an ongoing program that provides free film classes and other digital arts classes to children with cancer.
Ute of expatsincebirth: Well, this last year I discovered the bloggosphere and really got hooked. I did publish several guest posts and got some offers to publish on some interesting sites. I did work a lot as language trainer and was very involved at school (but for this year I decided that I’ve done enough) – I’m working on a book project (not yet decided if it will be an e-book or not) and I’ll become an expat counsellor/coach soon. Something I already do, but that I want to become my main profession.
Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane: We took our 2 yr old across the world & visited a country none of us had been to before and where we didn’t speak the language. Goal for next year: I would like to do a triathlon (sprint).
Rina Mae of Finding Dutchland: Overall, I’m really proud of being able to finally sleep a solid 7 consecutive hours almost on a regular basis after surviving on only two to three consecutive hours of sleep for solid 8 months (this is not an exaggeration). And most recently, finding my own voice and finally taking the jump to become a “writer”/blogger. As of this weekend, a post of mine, inspired by this group, has gotten quite a bit of attention. I might just get somewhere with this. Goal for next year: Continuing my pursuit of writing. Pipe-dream: To have an article published on the Huffington Post. One can dream right? Even if I never get there, I love trying anyway!
Jonathan of Dad’s the way I like it: Proud of becoming a dad in April, goal for coming year is to succeed in achieving work/life balance than enables me to spend as much time with my wife and son as possible.
Leanna of All Done Monkey: Most importantly this past year we welcomed our baby boy, and our older son became a big brother and started preschool. And of course, Multicultural Kid Blogs was born! This coming year I would like to see this group grow even more at the same time as I find a way to get more sleep!
Jaime of Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails: Might be silly but I am proud that I figured out how to go to the store with 3 kids under the age of 5yr by myself. And I hope to be able to start doing even more fun outing with all 3 of them in the up coming year. Hopefully once baby becomes a toddler it might get easier to say take them all to the park by myself and play with them:)
Natalie of Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Great question. This year I underwent a pretty agressive treatment for a chronic condition. It was difficult, but I am hoping that in November I can be declared “cured”. Next year I am hoping to find a new job and continue a juggling act as a full time working mom and a blogger.
Cecilia of Spanglish House: Teaching kids at home, working from home, blogging and loving it. For this coming year probably I want to keep teaching, working, I want to write more, smile more and see my parents!!!
Amanda of Expat Life with a Double Buggy: I’m proud that this year we had the courage to stand up to my son’s school and act in his best interest and when we were met with deaf ears to find a new school that listened. It was a lot of stress, a big change for a little 6 year old – but we’ve all come though it happier and stronger. I’m proud I followed my mother’s instinct! My goal for the coming year is to start writing my book!
Frances of Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: My proudest moment has been listening to my child speak to me in Spanish, and I love the “short” conversations that we have in Spanish. My goal for this year is to continue with our bilingual journey, and some day have “full” conversations in Spanish with him.
Heidi of 2 Kurious Kids: Over the last year I overcame my fear of speaking in public…. I spoke to over a dozen elementary schools in CA – one group over 400 students! It is such an amazing experience being able to encourage children, parents & teachers to learn about different cultures and inspre kids to follow their dreams. I am looking forward to speaking to even more schools this year!
Annika of Be Bilingual: Last year I wrote and published my book on bilingualism and put my heart and soul in it. It was something I just had to do and when it was done I felt great! I still do, knowing that hundreds of people have read it already and having met so many new multilingual families both online and also face to face at the places where I’ve been asked to speak about the subject. I’m more excited about bilingualism than ever!
Lina of Best 4 Future: This make me proud: I raise my three girls healthy and happy.They make a good progress in learning Chinese. And I got hired as a Chinese school teacher and go to Chinese school with my oldest daughter. A goal for next year: a healthy and happy family with more progress in children education and my personal career.
Varya of Creative World of Varya: What makes me proud: I have 2 girls who are healthy and happy and grow to become true global citizens. I have lovely real life and online friends. I am finally what I like to do. New goals: I hope everything stays in balance as it is right now
Multicultural Kid Blogs is about to celebrate our First Anniversary, so this week we ask…
What are your family’s birthday traditions?
Natalie of Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Well, in our family we never celebrate early – it’s considered to be “bad luck”. On an actual birthday we start the day with birthday candlelight breakfast and presents. And we have a “birthday interview” for our daughter to ask her questions about the year that passed and the year ahead.
Varya of Creative World of Varya: I can’t say we do or don’t have traditions. We like throwing surprise tea parties for adults in our families. For kids, if we don’t have an actual party, we definitely have a cake and invite our closest friends over. My husband and I don’t really give each other presents but if we buy something special (e.g. a new laptop or a new phone), we do it in the name of an upcoming birthday (which may be months away!) or the one that just passed. I guess we are a bit more practical when it comes to our own gifts. For kids we usually have 2 presents – 1 before birthday, another one – on actual birthday.
Jennifer of The Good Long Road: We seem to be, inadvertently, starting a tradition of going to a baseball game for our youngest sons birthday. His birthday is in August, and we’ve done it for his only two birthdays, and the whole family loves it, so it might become a tradition!
Leanna of All Done Monkey: In my family my dad started the tradition of having cherry cheesecake for birthdays. The birthday kid even got his/her own cheesecake! I come from a big family, so having something just for yourself was a big treat. In my husband’s family, they always make arroz con pollo, plus there is the tradition of smashing the birthday person’s face into the cake! We have started a tradition of adding to a special memory book for each of our kids. On their first birthdays we create a time capsule for them to open when they turn fifteen.
Jody of Mud Hut Mama: We also do an interview with the birthday child and we always make a pinata and a chocolate cake – the icing color is the choice of whoever’s birthday it is but the cake itself has to be chocolate.
Annabelle of the piri-piri lexicon: We now have to have a crown as it apparently is a German tradition and our daughter adopted it straight away. In my family as a kid, my dad used to bake us a swiss roll with homemade strawberry jam.
Heidi of 2 Kurious Kids: We always serve pancakes or waffles for breakfast with candles in them:)
Ute of expatsincebirth: We have a nice breakfast with candle for the birthday-kid/adult and I always bake a cake in the afternoon (and for the birthdayparty). Somehow I missed this part of German birthdays, we never used to have crowns… don’t tell my kids, please.
Jonathan of Dad’s the way I like it: When I was a kid, I used to get to open all my presents at breakfast before going to school. I’d then often have a party after school. My favourite sort of birthday cake growing up was gingerbread with marzipan icing.
Johana of Mama Tortuga: One donut with candle in the morning, of course a party with cake and birthday song!!!
Natalie of Afterschool for Smarty Pants: In addition, I want to teach my daughter that even though bad things happen, the best response is not to be intimidated by then to the point of changing your way of life. This is what terrorists want, and that’s something that we, as a society, must resist.
Sheila of Pennies of Time: For the past year, we’ve been teaching our kids how to be the helpers in times of disaster. We are trying to teach them how to help those that are far away and affected by disaster and help in our own community during a disaster. Here are a couple of posts:
Jennifer of The Good Long Road: I think for me, given that I was just starting at Middle East Studies program in Boston when 9/11 happened, one of the most important things for me is to teach my sons to never judge an entire group of people by the acts of a few. I knew so many colleagues in my program who were very loving, caring and patriotic individuals who were treated so poorly because of the way they looked or because of their religion. I also had professors who shared stories of their children being bullied at school for the same reasons.
Here are some great articles on talking to Muslim children about September 11:
Annika of Be Bilingual: I was on maternity leave and at home (in Finland) with Emma, 6 months. My husband called me from work to tell me to turn on the TV. Just as I did the second tower was hit. I will forever remember how I stood there in front of the TV, holding my baby tight and crying. I was still there when my husband came home from work many hours later.
Kim of Mama Mzungu: First week of grad school. We were waiting for a stats class to begin but it never happened. We all, new friends and classmates as well as our teacher, sat huddled around the television all morning and absorbed the tears and lent shoulders to our classmates from New York. There was an immediate intimacy amid the tragedy. Slowly, we all flocked away from the city center fearing that Chicago might be next.
Annabelle of the piri-piri lexicon: I was in the UK, in a doctor’s surgery’ waiting room. There was a TV on and as we saw the images everybody fell silent. Nobody moved, coughed or dare say anything.
Leanna of All Done Monkey: We were in the airport, getting ready to fly from Costa Rica to the US. I overheard some other passengers in line talking about a plane crashing, but we had no idea what was really going on. I’ll never forget one of the agents standing up on the counter and waving his arms to tell us that all flights to the US had been canceled. My brother-in-law came back to pick us up, and we ended up spending an extra week there. We were all glued to the television. Everyone was very sweet and extra considerate to me, as the American, since they knew I would be particularly affected.
Olga of The European Mama: I was in the cinema with a friend. The film started exactly when the planes crashed into the towers.When I came back home, my parents were watching the news and the whole world was holding the breath waiting for Superman to appear. He never did 🙁
Miwa of cranes and clovers: I was at my parents’ house in Connecticut. I was supposed to go to Japan the next day to start my sophomore year in college. We got a call from my grandmother in Japan, telling us to turn the TV on. Moments after we did, the second tower was hit. I was able to get a flight to Japan a week and a half later, but I felt torn about leaving the US.
Becky of Kid World Citizen: I was living in London, the first day at my new job teaching in Barnet College. All of the instructors were in a meeting and someone came in to whisper something to my boss. As soon as she announced the a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center I thought of terrorism and asked what the airline was (my dad was a pilot). We continued our meeting and later found out more details. I didn’t have a TV, and my neighbor knew I was American so he brought over his TV for me to watch- it was awful! I couldn’t call the US because the phone lines were all busy from UK to US. Also my husband was in Paris on business so I was alone that night, watching the terrible scenes on the borrowed TV.
Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane: I was asleep when the first plane crashed. Woke up and all my college roommates were watching the news. Most of my classes were cancelled but the one I did have showed me exactly how crazy the reactions were going to be. People were already calling for blood and others for forgiveness. No one knew what to think.
Natalie of Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Ironically, I was supposed to be on assignment in Pentagon, but it was switched to Dallas at the last possible minute. I was asked to go to Dallas for a day, fly back to New York on Tuesday morning and go to Pentagon on Wednesday morning. I saw the news just as I was leaving for the airport and watched the second plane hit. I still remember the feeling of denial and shock. I was stuck in Dallas for days before I was able to fly back to tri-state area.
Kim of The Educators’ Spin On It: I was in the middle of teaching a room full of Kindergartners in Orlando when my neighboring teacher peeked through our shared closet and said “Turn on your tv we’re under attack it seems.” In secret I watched in horror as the second plane crashed. It was a very long day in front of 18 innocent 5 year old that I couldn’t show my reactions to so that they could discuss the horrific events with their own families. My husband was in Washington DC at the time for work and all phone lines were down. I remember rushing home to my son who looked at me when I picked him up at after school care and said “Mommy why are all the grown ups crying today?”
Stephen of The Head of the Heard: I was sitting in the cafe/pub at the language school I was teaching at in Brazil. We always had CNN or BBC news on the TV in the corner so I saw it all live. We didn’t get much teaching done for the rest of the day.
Giselle of Kids Yoga Stories: I was teaching at the American School in Guatemala, and another teacher came into our room to turn on the TV. There were eight Grade 3 students with me in our Gifted program. We all watched in disbelief and didn’t really understand the impact of the events. It took a while to sink in as to the global impact, as we felt so far away living in Guatemala. The American teachers working at the school kept us informed over the weeks following the disaster. We were also consumed with the ongoing threats and challenges of living in Guatemala.
Stephanie of InCultureParent: I was in NYC, running late to class at grad school that morning. I quickly turned on the TV to see the weather and heard an announcement that no trains were running. That’s when I changed the channel and saw the images. It was so unreal. Then I looked out my window and saw all the smoke–that’s when it became real–that didn’t cease for days. And I started panicking about all my friends, as so many trains pass through that area. Luckily everyone I knew was safe. In the days that followed I wanted to photograph everything (I was really into photography then) and was shocked by how much of a war zone it looked like–burnt cars, smoke, all sorts of crews teeming around there in chaos (sanitation, police, fire, military too if I remember right.)
Sophie of Hao Mama: I was in New York, on my way to work. A crowd had gathered on the corner of 6th Ave and 28th Street and I asked someone what they were looking at and he pointed downtown. I didn’t see anything on the streets. Then he pointed up, and I saw the gaping hole in the WTC and smoke pouring out from the second plane that had hit moments before. Every minute of the rest of that day will be etched in my memory forever, including the smell of burnt metal, rubber, and bodies that wafted over the city for days. I didn’t have children yet but one of my strongest memories is of being in a playground that afternoon, where my husband (then boyfriend) and I went to get some respite after waiting in line to give blood, and seeing the intensity on the faces of the parents who were pushing their children on the swings. The kids just seemed happy to have an unexpected day in the park, but every parent was intensely focused on their child in a way that was very powerful to witness. Since having kids I think back on that moment often.
Meera of Meera Sriram: I was home getting ready to go to class. I was in grad school in Boston then. My husband was at work. He called to tell me to turn on the TV. I still drove to school that morning and remember seeing the skyline. It seemed so sullen.
Andrea of ziezo: I was in a meeting at the University of Maryland as a graduate student. . . living on Capitol Hill, it was my partner who phoned me from home to tell me what happened. I spend the rest of the day at the university as it was difficult to go home, the metro system closed for several hours AND because a statistics professor did teach an evening class! I am not sure what he was thinking!
Carol of A French American Life: I was in a San Diego hotel, getting ready for a job interview I had scheduled that day. I flipped on the TV and sank to the ground in horror, completely disoriented and feeling like it must be a movie, because something like that could not have been happening. Alone and desperate for human contact, I called my family then headed to the lobby where I sat with the front desk clerk, both of us silent and watching the news.
Jenny of Spanish Playground: I was teaching at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. I had an beginning ESL class with students from all over the world. It started just after the second plane hit. The department decided that classes should meet, we should inform the students who didn’t know (most of them), listen to the news during class, and try to help our students as best we could. My students were 18 and had been in the US for only a few weeks. They were from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, South Korea, Mexico, France, Argentina. It was so hard to try to process what was happening and help them understand. I remember that in the days that followed, their parents called constantly, wanting them to come home. Some didn’t understand how far Wisconsin was from New York (according to the students), but I have to say I sympathized with the impulse.
What is your child’s favorite subject in school? What was yours?
Olga of The European Mama: Mine were always language-related. As for my children, I don’t know but my youngest starts school soon and then I’ll be able to tell you.
Ute of expatsincebirth: Mine were languages (German, French, Italian and English), Maths, Biology and Arts. My son likes languages, ICT and sports. One of my daughters likes maths and sports, the other one languages, maths and music (especially drama).
Carrie of Crafty Moms Share: Mine was math and arts. My daughter is too young to really know yet.
Leanna of All Done Monkey: I loved languages, history, and music, though math was not far behind. It’s too soon to tell with the boys, although my preschooler loves reading and anything mechanical.
Emma of Muslimas’ Oasis: My 8yo daughter is all about science. My 6yo it’s hard to tell yet, he’s still finding his way at school, if bugs were a subject it would be that or vehicles. Mine was art.
Kali of For the Love of Spanish: I liked art and reading/literature. I imagine if they had taught foreign languages at my elementary school I would have enjoyed that subject as well. My boys are not school age, but they both love reading. The oldest also seems to also like athletics; and with all the dumping and pouring and mixing of any liquids or elements he can get his hands on, the younger one might be headed towards being a scientist.
Natalie of Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Mine was Russian literature and, in later grades, chemistry, but I majored in computer science. Anna is in second grade, and they don’t have subjects yet. Her strongest “mini-subject” is certainly reading.
Annika of Be Bilingual: Mine was English – by far! My pre-teen seems to like everything except textile work (but when pressed, prefers French, Finnish and Maths), which again is the favorite subject of our 7-year old.
Jill of Moms Gone Global: My 9yo is obsessed with science, and also loves language learning. My 7yo loves math and all things art-related. My favorites were math, French and law courses.
Kat of Hapa Mom: Anna is too young for a favorite subject but mine were English and Japanese.
Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese: My 9-year-old boy loves science and math. My 7-year-old daughter loves arts and languages (Japanese and Chinese). My favorites were foreign languages and music.
Varya of Creative World of Varya: Art for my older one. Mine was French, Chemistry, Literature and History.P.S. I got Bs in final exams for all. I really didn’t like sitting through exams!!!
Amanda of Maroc Mama: Mine was history. My oldest (9) loves Math and Social Studies, my youngest (6) loves video games lol but seriously he really doesn’t care for school much – maybe art?
MaryAnne of Mama Smiles: My 7yo LOVES writing. I loved choir and drama.
Jennifer of The Good Long Road: My son is not quite 4 and just started preschool, so I’m not sure. But, what he always tells me about is the songs he sang at school that day (he doesn’t tell me, he sings them for me) and what activity he did outside. As for me, I loved history and music.
What are your favorite texting shortcuts from other languages?
Stephen of The Head of the Heard: kkk means somebody is laughing in Portuguese. pq is por que (why) and porque (because) which I like because I often get confused between them. Not texting related, but here in Brazil on menus the use ‘x’ for cheese, for example x-burger (cheese burger). The pronunciation of the letter x is very similar to the English word ‘cheese.’
Olga of The European Mama: DuWiPa- du wirst Papa! (you’re going to be a daddy!)- not the one I sent or got, but one I read about in a German magazine. Oh, and dubido (du bist doof, you’re stupid)
Cecilia of Spanglish House: I do not personally like or use shortcuts. I think they are helping to bring (many) languages down. But I have seen people write in Spanish TKM for te quiiero much (I love you), mi BF por mi mejor amigo (my best friend); ke instead of que (what). I like emoticons (shortcuts) the best!
Jenny of Spanish Playground: With iphones and keyboards, we user fewer shortcuts then we used to, I think. The autocomplete really helps too. That said, here are a few that are common. Using the number 2 for anything that ends -dos, like salu2; using just the letter when it has the sound of the syllable, like t xtraño, bso; bn-bien, tdo- todo, ntc- no te creo, ntp – no te preocupes, k-que, ps-pues. I don’t know that they are favorites really, but they are common. In terms of favorites, both my kids and I used the ¿ in front of English questions in our notes in meetings or class.
Becky of Kid World Citizen:We always sign off with TQM for te quiero mucho, but I’m not sure if that counts?
Jonathan of Dad’s the way I like it: In Welsh, some people use ‘9’ to mean grandmother as it sounds very similar to Welsh word for grandmother (‘nain’). Even since before the days of texting, ‘cassette’ has often been abbreviated to ‘K7’ in French (e.g. on shop fronts, posters). The letter K (kah) followed by the number 7 (sept) sounds like ‘cassette’.
Miwa of cranes and clovers:Since the Japanese language doesn’t use the alphabet, it’s hard to explain the types of shortcuts and abbreviations that people use here. Sometimes though, people use numbers instead of words, like 4649 (the sound of the numbers are the same as the word “yo-ro-shi-ku,” a word used as a greeting that’s hard to translate… but means something like “best regards” “counting on you” and “nice to meet you.”) In general though, Japanese people use complex emoticons much more often. Not sure if people use these in other countries as well though. For example, “orz” for a person on their hands and knees seen from the side. The “o” is the head the “r” is the arm and the “z,” the legs. Another would be m(_ _)m. The “m” s are hands and the “_” are eyes. It’s a person bowing.
Sarita of A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy: a lot of Italians use 6 (‘sei’) to mean ‘you’ because it has the same pronunciation. When italians sign off they might use ‘SMACK!’ which really confused me because I wondered where it had come from! Then I realized they were using smack as the sound of kisses!
What are your family’s favorite ways to stay cool in hot weather?
Stephen of The Head of the Heard: Open all the windows and strip down to the essentials. And we got a little paddling pool on the balcony for our son.
Jennifer of World Moms Blog: Ice pops! We make our own by freezing fruit smoothies, which means, yes, the kids can have them with breakfast!
Leanna of All Done Monkey: We have a kiddie pool in the backyard, plus our son loves to play with the garden hose (supposedly helping water the plants). Splash parks are also really popular here.
MaryAnne of Mama Smiles: Kiddie pool, sprinkler, and homemade popsicles!
Diana of LadydeeLG: We like water table, inflatable pool, sprinklers.
Annabelle of the piri-piri lexicon: Water play: pretend kitchen with plenty of water in jars, pots, pans, etc.
Amanda of Expat Life with a Double Buggy: We have a little pool which the kids play in – they love to use their slide to get in to it. The excitement of splashing & giggling is a real sign that summer is here!
Heidi of 2 Kurious Kids: The Pool for sure! We live close to the beach too:)