American Sisters

There's this adorable American girl in my class, complete with the cutest blonde bob you have ever seen. From my first day in the class, I have felt like we are kindred spirits, solely based on our mutual Americanness.

She, of course, speaks to me in English which is helpful in a classroom full of Spanish speaking students. Though I understand all of my students, I think of my American friend as an informant. She can quickly replay the latest fight or argument without a language barrier from either party.

During snack time, all the Peruvian students take out what I would consider to be a full fledged lunch. Sandwiches, fruit, yogurt and chips crowd their desks. No wonder these children don't eat their huge school made, Peruvian lunch. Their little tummies have to be stuffed from their oversized snack. The American girl, however, eats more my style. Juice and Chex Mix. Or juice and those delicious, but over processed orange crackers with peanut butter filing. Mm, mmm good. By just looking at her snack you know, "This girl isn't Peruvian."

After a recent trip to the States, she came to school everyday with Gushers, Chex Mix, Goldfish and Cheez-its. I thought, "Where is this jackpot of American goods and how can I get there?" I enthusiastically asked her mom where she buys all those little pieces of America and she told me that everything was brought back from their trip. It's the small things that bring you comfort. Like Gushers and Cheez-its.

What I adore most are her child-like interpretations of Peruvian culture. Last week she told me, "I don't really like it here because people just throw their trash on the ground. That's bad, they shouldn't do that."

I feel like she and I have a unique relationship since together we are exploring this strange language and interesting culture. She's a brave little six year old, speaking Spanish with her friends and struggling through the mistakes. When she is scared and frustrated, she hides behind me in part comforted by our shared cultural heritage. And then I tell her, "It's ok, I'm learning Spanish, too. Let's learn together."