Thursday, March 29, 2007

A book, a talk and a visitor

My book was published in May 2004 and I had a talk booked at the international mothers group, ibu, for the beginning of November in a local bookshop. My father was visiting and brought over some extra copies of the book. It was on a Tuesday, a busy day for coffee mornings and activities, so I was expecting a small crowd, but more and more women arrived and in the end there were about twenty. I was nervous and it was hard to distil a book into a thirty-minute lecture. I explained the seven strategies and the types of child bilingualism. It sounded rather boring and more like a university talk and the all looked rather sleepy, so I concluded earlier than planned and asked if anyone had any questions.

That opened a floodgate of queries, comments and discussion. It was a wonderfully mixed crowd, some Malaysians women married to foreigners, and several expat English, Dutch, German, French and Australians curious to know more, or who wished to bring up their children bilingually after seeing the success Malaysians have had. We discussed schooling, parenting and how to have more input in the weaker language. At the end I sold four books and promised to start a monthly group in the new year, so we could meet regularly and discuss more. It seemed they wanted to talk and share advice and experiences. After Dad and I went to celebrate with lunch at a local Japanese restaurant in Sri Hartamas.

Grandpa stayed two weeks in KL with us. He was bitten badly by mosquitos but apart from that loved Malaysia. He adventurously tried reflexology, rode on an elephant at the sanctuary, climbed over a hundred steps to visit the Hindu Batu caves temple and sampled all the cultural foods he could. The kids loved having him around and after school would rush to tell him about their day. One evening I found him reading through Marc’s French homework with him, I was touched because it must have been rather disorientating to see the children studying in French rather than English, and although he might not have understood everything he was making an effort and that’s what matters in the end.

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