This was another laid back week with our family. We played mancala once again, but this time with a difficulty. The littlest one kept picking up the marbles and counting them and putting them back wherever she wanted, this was very frustrating to her older sister. We laughed and worked on counting with the marbles until the little one was bored and then her sister and I played on, she won almost every game.
We then worked on homework and drank some amazing chai, it was just a relaxing and normal day. I feel like my non-verbal communication skills are really improving and we are finding ways to communicate with each other that we were not aware of in the beginning. I am hoping to bring a new game to play next week and I am also going to bring my mom to visit them as she will be in town. They are looking forward to it and so am I!
For our fourth visit, we decided to take Penny to the park to enjoy what we figured would be the last day of nice weather before winter starts to set in. (Turns out we were right, for the most part.) We played tag for about half an hour before it started to get dark (convenient timing, considering both Sarah and I started to feel like a couple of old ladies after being chased around that tiny little park).
After we brought Penny home, we set to work on her homework. I was impressed yet again by how well Penny can read English, though I found it funny that there were random words she either didn’t know the meaning of or didn’t know how to say, but she was able to sound-out some of the words that many native English speakers have trouble with easily. Penny’s mother brought out her notebook, which appeared to be where she takes notes and journals for her English classes. She read to us some of what she had written and asked questions about pronunciations and spellings.
Aside from the park adventure, this was one of our calmer visits. Instead of the whole family being home, we had some one-on-one time with Penny and her mother, which I feel was very beneficial.
We ended the night by watching a Hindi translation of a Barbie movie. Sarah and I were probably just as enthralled as Penny was – we didn’t even need to understand the language to follow along. Though I suppose that’s more of a testament to how predictable Barbie is more than anything.
Sarah bought some pumpkins and I brought a couple of carving knives, and the kids went wild! It was a bit nerve wracking carving the pumpkin, especially with 4 small and curious faces all trying to crowd around to get a better look. I had to tell them multiple times to back up – this was the first time I had ever been the “responsible adult” in a pumpkin carving situation. All through my childhood my dad had always been the one to do the actual carving…all we did was empty the seeds and gunk and draw faces for him to cut out. After a tedious experience of cutting the top off the pumpkin without accidentally harming anyone, we let the kids draw a face and Sarah cut it out. Meanwhile, we kept the little ones preoccupied with a couple of baby-pumpkins and a marker. They went to town drawing every variation of a face they could think of. Sarah finished the jack-o-lantern, but we realized we had forgotten a candle. Thankfully, some little birthday candles were left over from Penny’s party, and I somehow managed to wedge it inside and light it with a cigarette lighter without burning my hand off. End result: a pretty awesome jack-o-lantern and a room full of awe-inspired children.
I saw my family on Saturday, Nov. 5; I hadn’t gone to visit them the weekend before, as I was out of town, and I was surprised by how much I missed them. When my partner and I arrived at their apartment, only the mother and children were home. The father had gone to run some errands. We sat in our usual spots around a small table in their living room, and talked about various things, such as the mother’s hopes for a confirmation that she had been accepted to a job she’d applied and trained for. The daughter, I’ve noticed, is no longer the shy, quiet little girl I had first known. She has become comfortable with our presence and is always eager to translate to us what her little brother says, and enjoys dancing for all of us as well. She LOVES the “Go Fish” game we brought for them on our first visit, so we all played it.
On Thursday I went by myself to visit the family and to help out the daughter with her homework (my partner was too sick to go). The mother’s sister in law was there as well. The homework was about measurements, and it was good to see that the daughter has a strong understanding of it. After we finished the work, and as we waited for dinner to finish cooking, the mother started to open up about her past. She talked about how she and her family traveled by foot (and occasionally hitchhiking on trucks with the help of kind strangers) in order to find safety in Nepal. She and her husband have been through so much and I find my respect for them grow day by day.