The apartment complex remined me of Guatemala: cleaner, but the homey smell and the kids running around barefoot brought back memories. My mind, of course, switched to Spanish, and I had to force myself to speak in English.
Not that English helped much: The family, dad and mom and eight boys, speaks little English. The oldest boy, Laurent, speaks enough to get by, and he kind of translated for us. He also speaks French - which the Jehovah's Witnesses also knew, and used to conduct a "Bible study" with him and some other teens that came by. I'll have to do some research on Jehovah's Witnesses - they were in Tijuana, too.
Later, I helped Albert, the fourth youngest at seven years, with some English homework, teaching him the letters and their sounds as he spelled words like "cat" and "fish." He knew which words the pictures represented, but he didn't know how to spell them. English is a hard language to spell in - there are so many different sounds each letter can have.
Anyway, Albert knew very well the letters A, L, B, E, R, and T. He picked up on C pretty quick, too; most of the others I had to demonstrate. Took me back to Kindergarten with Mrs. Mick.
I can't believe how much joy these kids seem to have - they'd probably never seen anything outside the refugee camp before they came here. That has got to be some serious culture shock. Yet they show a desire to learn, a vigor for life.
This is going to be a lot of fun.