Thursday, December 3, 2009

La Niña

My Spanish family is very endearing, and after hearing some friends' stories about the Spanish families they are staying with, I appreciate mine even more.

The little boy, Jaime, is an absolute treasure. Like his grandmother said, "Con Jaime, todo es siempre bien." He gives up his candy for his sister Ana and then she pulls his hair. He puts himself last in order of turns when the three of us play "Memory." He seems to know intuitively when I am uncomfortable because Ana isn't listening to me, and he will try harder to show me that he wants to learn English. If I had just him, my teaching life would be a bit too perfect.

And so — enter little Ana.

My relationship with Ana is a bit like a non-functional romantic relationship. It is filled with anxiety, emotional ups and downs, occasional compromise and random destruction of property.

Today, Ana not only spilled water on my computer, she then broke a glass in the bathroom and danced away as Jaime started to clean it up; as I ran into the room to help he cutely said, "Please shoes!"

One evening, she stole sunflower seeds from my room without asking, and I told her not to. She scowled, and ran away, still eating them. Then I hear my iPhone alarm going off, and as I went to turn it off, the funniest thing happened... the alarm started moving. I followed it out to the living room, where I found it in Ana's hand, as she was about to hide it inside an umbrella bin where I never would have found it if it had stopped making noise. At this point I spoke a lot louder than before and told her to not ever take my $360 iPhone again.

We didn't talk for two days after that.

But then... my door was open one night and she came in, thought for a minute, walked back out, closed it — and knocked.

"...come in?" I said.

"Tienes pipas?" she asked.

And I gave her some sunflower seeds, and she said "thank you." And I smiled.

Of course, the next day I saw her with more — meaning that she went to where she saw my hiding spot was and got herself more.

And to this I say: Jaime is here to remind me what angels children can be... and Ana is what Spanish wine is for.


  1. Cute punch line. Glad you're having such a great time there.

    If/when you ever make it back to Boulder, I have a great pole dancing story for you.

  2. @Derek - Thanks. Interesting, you might have to tell me this story over e-mail!

  3. Hi, Amy. From your description, it sounds like Ana is an 8 in the Enneagram personality typing system ( ).

    I know a mom whose 6-year-old daughter was an 8. It was indeed very challenging! It might be educational to scan up and down the levels of health for an 8 off of that webpage. This is not something personal about the girl, and it's certainly not something personal about you.

    The bad news is people are the type they are, and it doesn't change. The good news is the same thing. Challengers are amazing people when they find their place in the world, and you can help cause that to happen.

    I don't know if you have ever examined the Enneagram before. There are some great resources in Boulder around it. That website has an amazing amount of information; the book "Wisdom of the Enneagram" takes off from there.

    Good luck!

  4. I'm curious what your relationships with their parents are like!

  5. Me too. I'd love to hear more about your interaction with the parents!