Sunday, June 21, 2009

“Socialization” and Foreign Studies

Um, yeah.....gotta love the "s" word.   This week, I had an "e-conversation" with my best friend concerning birthday parties and how we usually do family parties, but next April (there I go planning again) I was thinking of doing a girlie party for Olivia and a few friends, and I said I'm hoping that Olivia makes some close friends this year at the co-op we've joined.  And the "s" word was whipped out at warp speed.  "That's the problem with homeschooling, the girls don't get to socialize and build relationships....."  (insert the sound of nails on a chalkboard).   Yeah I guess their friends from ballet, Awana and Sunday School are chopped liver?!

So the next day the girls were invited to tea by our dear neighbor Ms. Kay.   Ms. Kay is a lovely older lady who exudes warmth and graciousness.  She's originally from Luxembourg and is a pure joy to sit and talk to.   Olivia and Lindsey were incredibly excited about being asked to tea and were quick to put on their bonnets and white gloves (although, Olivia's bonnet came up missing and she had to improvise).

Ms. Kay set out a grand tea for us!  The menu consisted of heart shaped finger sandwiches (pb&j no less); chocolate covered strawberries, cream puffs, cupcakes, Dutch windmill cookies, and Belgian chocolates.   The girls shared a pot of hot chocolate and Ms. Kay and I shared a lovely pot of tea.

Ms. Kay even used her antique tea set from Luxembourg.  I was a bit nervous to be honest, with a 3 year old and antique anything the results can be disasterous.   But, Lindsey as usual excelled beyond her 3 years and handled the precious cups and saucers with the utmost care and consideration.  Olivia made sure to hold her pinky out as she sipped her hot cocoa.  The really were tooo stinking cute.  Olivia said the blessing, and thanked God for the food, and for Ms. Kay, and for the tea party.

As we had our tea and treats, the girls asked questions about the various things in Ms. Kay's dining room.  She has a great many items from her native land and she is always willing to answer the girls questions (and mine too).   One thing in particular caught the girls interest was a little porcelain bird whistle called a Peckvillercher.   These lovely whistles are part of the end of  Easter week celebration in Luxembourg.

Here are photos I found from the internet to better show how they are made.

And here is Olivia practicing with Ms. Kay's Peckvillercher...

Growing up, Ms. Kay lived in a home in what is now the "historic district".  She showed us photos that show her childhood home.  We learned about where she was standing when the first bombs dropped on her country.  She showed us where the bomb shelters were, and how to get to them from her home.  We saw the palace of the Grand  Duke and Duchess.  We learned about the exile of Grand Duchess Charlotte who was exiled during the German occupation of World War II.

The girls and I spent 2 hours or so with Ms. Kay.  During that time, they listened to her, and asked questions like "did you cry when the bombs exploded?"  "what are these people in costumes?" (looking at festival photos).   "Was your husband a soldier, do you miss him?" (she's a widow)   Lindsey saw an American flag in a photo and recited the Pledge of Allegiance without prompting, and asked Ms. Kay what the flag of her country means.   They listened to Ms. Kay as she spoke to them in French, German and Luxembourgish and tried to figure out what she was saying to them.   They heard about her trip to America, alone (her husband was in the military), late into a pregnancy and not speaking any English.  Again questions "were you scared?"   "where did you go?"  "how did you get help?"

Ms. Kay is going back to Luxembourg in August.  She has taken on the mission to find Olivia an orange Peckvillercher and Lindsey wants a pink one.  Regardless of the color they end up with, the girls will have gained a better understanding of a far away land.   They brought youth and enthusiasm and a sense of wonder to a lovely older neighbor.

Yeah, I guess they really should "get out more" and be more "socialized".  I digress.

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