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Aprovecha el día

Contributed by: Cortney Housman

I vividly remember sailing through the air and plunging into the crystal clear water in Kauai while cliff diving on my adventurous honeymoon with husband Dan, seizing yet another escapade in the alluring Aloha State.  Before springing from the arboreal platform, my husband gave a clear and firm direction to avoid the area to the right because of the shallow water and dense log obstacle. My obedience was vital in order to maximize my enjoyment and thrill vibes for the day.

There seems to be a similar theme of possibilities at the intersection of adventure and obedience emerging in the story of our new second-grade Spanish immersion teacher at Crown Point Christian School. Teresa has been obedient to the Lord and His calling to relocate, along with husband Miguel, to Northwest Indiana after living in Spain since birth.

I overheard my husband exclaim while perusing Teresa’s Facebook posts “Wow, Teresa and Miguel are seizing every tourist opportunity in Chicago and Northwest Indiana!” This is true; from Purdue football games, to the “Bean” at Millenium Park, to monster truck race spectators at the Lake County Fair, these two fearless Spanish natives are taking and breathing it all in. Watching Teresa and Miguel seize adventure and possibility in an entirely new culture is extraordinary. Our family had a mission to invite them to dinner.

While prepping my three children, Bryn (age 10), Spanish immersion student Olyver (age 8), and Henry (age 4), for our dinner guests, Olyver exclaimed, “I wonder if she will give me a peck on the cheek when she sees me because that is how they greet each other in Spain!” Olyver has been granted an amazing opportunity to be engaged in a daily classroom community learning about the Spanish culture that shapes and nurtures Teresa. One particular entertaining cultural activity that Olyver has been discussing and demonstrating during our family dinners is the art of Flamenco dancing with palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping).

Olyver developed an immediate liking for his new second-grade teacher from the first day of school when he proclaimed in the car after school that “Miss Teresa is always smiling and she talks excitedly about everything!” This is a reflection of a person running passionately in their lane of life, seizing opportunities to use their gifts. Frederick Buechner once coined the profound statement that “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Olyver has adopted “Miss Teresa’s” infectious enthusiasm in other ways. He jumped in to help Teresa communicate with a non-immersion student on the playground recently as he sensed she was unable to recall the proper English word for the command.

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
– Frederick Buechner

Our family sensed a warmth and immediate acceptance as they graced our outdoor patio with their presence and their contagious conversation centered on family and Spanish customs. Listening to them share the traditions and habits that have been so meaningful to their lives was inspiring and life giving. The hospitable souls even invited us to visit them in Spain someday.

These two beautiful people on their North American adventure are opening our eyes, along with those of many others, to  the intimate culture of Spain.

Filed under: dliparents, Spanish Immersion

About the Author

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Kristi Van Dyk is an immersion parent who is passionate about offering dual language immersion as an educational option to all schools and districts. The opportunity to raise bi-lingual children, despite her family’s lack of second language proficiency has expanded the dreams she and her husband have for the future of their children. It is this passion for real life change that Kristi brings to all of our new partner schools. Kristi’s educational training began at Hope College in education in the areas of English and Mathematics for elementary. Kristi pursued additional training in brain based curriculum development through the Midwest Brain and Learning Institute as well as an M.A. in educational administration from Western Michigan University. You can find Kristi connecting with new potential partners, sharing experience with new parents and assisting with training of new teachers.

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