family, latvian, parenting, second language

Biz Biz

No not show biz.  Quite simply, little kid Latvian Camp.  For 4 years, M has attended Biz Biz.  It is a camp for Latvian American children.  Some speak little to no Latvian.  For others, Latvian is their first language.  Our kids fall in the middle.  They understand basic Latvian and communicate in simple phrases.

Biz Biz is about the Latvian language, heritage, folk customs, and music.  In many ways it is a traditional camp.  But when you listen, really listen, you are immersed in the language and culture.  The crafts, stories, and music are folk influenced.  Where else would kids bring home a handcrafted mushroom?

Garezers is the home away from home for so many Latvian Americans.  When you walk the grounds, you are entering a Latvian sanctuary.  A treasured haven.  My husband and I have traveled around Latvia two times.  I remember the woods, trees, sights, and smells very well.  Wandering around Garezers, I experience similar wonders.  It is a beauty.

I may not understand the words around me, but I know the strong feelings, beliefs, and traditions that accompany them.  Our children will too.  Recently as we waited to “board” the Titanic exhibit, there before us was a large mural of immigrants waiting to board the 1912 maiden voyage.  My husband took the opportunity to remind M that his grandparents were also immigrants.  This led to questions and a great mini history lesson.  In a few short weeks, M and E will be back in school(s).  Yes English school during the week and Latvian school on Sundays.  For us, life is more than just the four walls around us.  It is here, there, and everywhere.  We, yes me too, learn about the life all around us two times.  Two ways.  Two foods.  Two words.  Two languages.

Some day the two shall become one.  Where the lessons lead to fluency, the haven will be like home, and our hearts will be there, whether by geography or pure love.

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