Every family has a Sunday routine, ritual that consists of everything from Church to sleeping in to family dinners. Our routine strikingly differs from most Americans. Our children do participate in a few familiar parts; breakfast, getting dressed, but this is where our likeness jumps track. Next on our agenda is packing lunches, doing homework, and loading up for our drive to Latvian school. If you are reading this and need a brief Geography lesson, Latvia lies along the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Lithuania. It is home to a few million people, most of which are in the capital city Riga. During WW2, thousands of Latvians fled a torn homeland only to end up in displaced person camps before gaining sponsorship to the United States. Arriving in the US, the families sought to preserve the heritage, language, and way of life.
Fast forward to present day. That preservation is still alive and vibrant in the form of centers, communities, churches, camps, and schools. My husband is first generation Latvian American. His livelihood was formed, developed, and nurtured through this Latvian roots. We are a home of that and for that which will encourage our children to keep the Latvian heritage alive.
Back to our Sunday ritual and tradition, Latvian School. While our children are immersed in the language in our home through my husband, books, videos and songs, direct language instruction is needed to support and nurture this complex endeavor. On every other Sunday we head to the Kalamazoo Latvian Heritage Center for our family Latvian immersion. Our youngest, along with the hubby and I, attend a play group for infants and toddlers. What’s a fun way to support the language, how about through song, dance, play, and crafts. I know I learn better through these and musical experiences! Meanwhile the older two are engaged in their own experiences of all things Latvian; the alphabet, colors, days of the week, and daily living words.
Every other Sunday will soon become every Sunday. And this will repeat itself through the 8th grade. A time may come when getting the kids to go may become a struggle of wills, missed sporting practices or events, or just not being able to attend life’s other events. When that time comes, we’ll cross that path and work to continue the routines of keeping the heritage thriving.
Last Sunday’s oldest’s QOTD – “Mama, I think Latvian is better than English. It’s just easier to understand.”
QOTD from the 19 month old – “mo’ sula (juice)”. Yes! Labi!