和2岁女儿环球慢游10个月,我学到了什么

(图:我们的环球慢游10个月总体线路图 | 折腾君)

此文为公众号折腾君来了的原创文章。欢迎转发分享。如需折腾转载请联系授权并注明公众号。

前前言

三年前的今天(20131217号),我们开始了旅程。我在自己的公众号刚开通没多久的时候,分开上篇和下篇发表过,这次为了配合在我喜欢和欣赏的’奴隶社会’公众号发表,整理成了一篇并略作修改。

文章发布后不到24小时,阅读量就超过4万(大号真不是盖的!),有不少的朋友关注了我的公众号,在此谢过。有的朋友留言问是不是连载/连载有没有结束。是的,我在整理旅途中潦草但是每天都做的笔记,现在正在慢慢整理成文,目前才到了第8,不知道要写到第几结束。我给自己的目标是每周一篇,工作养娃柴米油盐的同时,虽然觉得有点挑战,会继续下去的。谢谢大家的鼓励!

以下是‘奴隶社会’版的全文。

这是奴隶社会的第975篇文章,来自公众号‘折腾君来了’(ID:i_zhetengjun)。欢迎转发分享,未经作者授权不欢迎其他公众号转载。

作者俞茵,又名‘折腾君’。流串于中国法国澳大利亚间,在中英法三语间,在500强和创业间,在职业人和母亲身份间,快乐地折腾着。

 

前言

三年前的这个时候,我们一家三口离开了悉尼的家,开始了为期近10个月的环球慢游。 

 

下面这篇文章,是我在回到悉尼家中没多久用英文写的,原文在20141010日首次发表在我个人英文博客trilingualfamily.com上。加入了一土终身学习社区后,我分享了一下英文原文,没想到被一诺看到并且邀请我写一个中文版的给奴隶社会。我受宠若惊得答应了,也算是为我把三年前潦草的旅行笔记整理成文开了个头。

 

正文

201312月,我和小庞带着我们即将满2岁的女儿小南开始了环球慢游。逛了一大圈,回到悉尼的家中是在2014年的9月底。回家后的第10天,稍觉安顿,我写下了当时的一些心得。

 

旅行总是让人有感悟。这次旅行,除了时间较长,最关键是与一个小人同行,感悟和学习自然不少。这篇文章里我试图记录的是那些回到现实生活中也挺有用的心得。

1/ 一切皆有可能 …… 除非你已决定不可能

 

当初我们开始萌发环球旅行想法的时候,我们自己也被吓了一跳,更别提双方长辈的反应了。毕竟,小南在出发后的一个月才过了2岁生日,而我们计划要去的地方包括世界上一些最不发达条件最差的国家呢。

10个月后,我们毫发未伤得回到了原点,小南茁壮成长。此时我想我可以负责任得说,真的,一切皆有可能。

282天。12个国家。3大洲。64张床。18程飞机。不计其数的巴士轮船。这些数字看着有些可怕,特别是带着个2岁孩子,这些数字就可能显得更加张牙舞爪。但其实,抛开数字,就不过是一日三餐,晚上有片屋顶在头上,有一张(或者两张)床可以睡觉,从这点上来说,其实和日常生活无异。和日常生活最大的区别就是地点场景看到的东西接触到的人不同罢了。

世界比我们想象中的其实要小,虽然同时也比我们想象中的要生动和多样。

梦想是一个很危险的东西。梦想也是个最有魔力的东西。

有好几次,我们碰到正在环球旅行的年轻伴侣,聊起来后他们告诉我:人人都说要是想长期旅行,一定得趁着有孩子之前去完成。现在看到你们,知道有了孩子其实也一样可以旅行的。有点受启发呢。 这样的评语算是对我们最好的鼓励了吧。

 

2/ 只有开始,才知道能走得多远。

 

刚上路的时候,我们对于小南能承受多长时间的所谓长途巴士心里完全没底(在悉尼出远门基本都是开车的,或者就是短途公交火车)。第一次长途巴士是在南美的乌拉圭,整整2个小时。小南上蹿下跳,当时我有点绝望,感觉那是我生命中最长的2个小时了吧。

 

一个多礼拜后,我们不得不上了一辆3个小时的车。结果,居然,还行!

 

然后是4个小时,也坐下来了。

 

在玻利维亚一段极其颠簸的山路上在极其简易版的公车里坐了整整6个小时后,我感觉我们已经到达了一个不可超越的巅峰。小南居然不想下车了还想继续乘!

 

好吧,过了一阵,她就如尝所愿了。在哥伦比亚我们坐上了过夜巴士。16个小时。在出发前,我怎么也想不到我们居然会到达如此境界,而且还能活着写那些故事。

 

而回报呢?是我们有幸在一些最不寻常的地方一些我从来没有想象过会带着幼儿去的地方见到了一些委实慑人心魄的风景和遇到了一些不可思议的人和事。

 

随之而来的,还有对自己和对孩子的信心。有些事,只有开始做了,才知道自己能走得多远

3/ 大道至简

 

我们出发的时候,一共就带了1个大箱子1个大背包 (坐飞机的话这2件属于托运行李),2个日常背包,和1个儿童推车。要把10个月的生活装进这寥寥几个行李里,还真的不容易啊。

 

我给自己带的东西清单是:3件短袖T, 3件长袖上衣,1件外套,3条裤子,1条短裙,2双鞋,1双拖鞋,几件内衣袜子。所有的衣服我都挑最轻便最容易干的那种。作为也算对自己有点要求的女生,我,真的尽力了。

 

当然啦,我们在纽约那家餐厅时,我的确恨不得把朋友的衣服扒下来套在自己身上,才不会显得那么格格不入。不过,除此之外,我们从来没有因为东西带得少而烦恼过。

有一天,在阿根廷和玻利维亚的交界小县城,我们上了一辆小巴。所有的行李都得扔到车顶上,我们就抱着2个日常背包进了像沙丁鱼罐头的车里。我的腿2个钟头都没怎么挪过地,可还是得腾地方出来塞背包。

 

还有一天,我们在哥斯达黎加和尼加拉瓜的边界赶去搭一条船,要拖着所有的行李,走在那条小泥路上。小南那天死活也不肯坐儿童推车。那条小泥路仿佛怎么走也走不到尽头。

每当那种时候,就恨不得把行李再扔掉些才好。

在回到悉尼家中后,我们开始把出发前打好包收起来的东西翻箱倒柜拆开来。结果越拆越觉得有太多多余的身外之物。衣橱有一半的衣服可以直接捐掉/送掉/扔掉,也不会觉得少了什么。不会再看的书可以处理掉。租客把我们大部分的毛巾都带走了?没事,算是帮我们处理了多余的那些。我们的家不大,以前一直抱怨储物的地方不够。现在好了,把一个储物柜都直接扔掉了,剩下的柜子里还有不少地方空着呢。其实我猜想,大部分人在家里环顾一下,估计都会发现不少的东西都是至少一年没动过的。

 

拥有的不必要的身外之物越少,需要为它们而花的心思也越少:不用想着放哪里,不用经常擦洗维护,不用为他们烦恼。那多出来的心思就可以放在更重要的事情上了。身外之物可能会不见,会变旧。而内心的东西和自身的经历,是永远不会消失也不会被夺走的。

生活的质量,不应该由身外之物的数量来界定。这大概是我切身体会到的最重要的一课之一了。

4/ 眼见为实

 

每次我告诉别人我们去了哥伦比亚,通常的反应就是你是疯了还是傻了,还带着孩子?!那种眼神。

其实哥伦比亚一开始也不在我们的行程里面,因为我也觉得那是一个是疯了还是傻了的地方。好像关于这个国家的新闻里都是毒品啊人贩子啊枪战啊什么的。去了,看了,回来了,我现在可以很肯定得说,哥伦比亚和其它南美国家的安全系数基本一致,甚至可能更高一些(当然你硬要去亚马逊丛林三角地那块的话,那就另当别论了。不过那远着呢,不想办法还去不了)。

我们在哥伦比亚碰到了好些无比热情好客有意思的人 (暂时按下不表,将来另开一篇)。我不可救药得爱上了一个叫Barichara的山间小镇如果以后真要移居南美估计就去那里了。哥伦比亚有出乎意料的丰富的历史,文化,和自然景观。从经济上来讲,哥国也是南美游下来最贵的国家之一(当然这一点,对于我们的钱包是个非常不幸的消息)。

 

我觉得很幸运,在合适的时间有好几波人给我们提到了哥国如何值得去,而让我动了心思做了些功课。而我们为了去哥伦比亚而花了(和我们当时的预算比起来)不菲的价钱临时修改了事先定好的环球机票,事后也觉得绝对是改对了。每次有人问我此行印象最深刻的地方是哪里时,哥伦比亚总是其中之一。

我们常常会因为缺乏认识,或者被一些片面的信息,而阻碍了我们的想象力。我们也常常会任由别人的看法来主导自己的决定。

所幸的是,事实往往比那些片面的信息更有魅力。做好功课,去眼见为实一番,那,才是正道。

5/ 一切都会好起来的

 

出发之前我有个非常非常长的to do list (琐事清单),基本都一一被勾掉了。可是一直没有勾掉的是把房子租出去那栏。房子租不出去,就意味着按揭没着落,就意味着我们的预算里又得再去掉一部分。我们的中介一直唠叨,你们就租9个多月,而且又是带家具租,市场太小众了,很难租。出发前的那个周末我们和朋友们告别趴踢,房子还没找到好人家。临近圣诞节市场很淡,我们虽然觉得该做的都做了,不过也做好了最坏的打算。

突然间就峰回路转了。我们出发的那天,第一波租客准时到家里,我们把钥匙交到他们手上嘱咐了一番,把行李搬上车,直奔机场。在整个旅程中,虽然换了3波租客,可全部无缝对接。最后一波在我们回家前的10天撤出。简直完美。

 

长期旅行的人基本都经历过一个症状,就是所谓的travel burn-out,翻译过来大概叫旅行疲劳症吧。在一个意想不到的时间一个意想不到的地点,我也第一次体会到了旅行疲劳综合症

 

旅途到了5个多月的时候,我们到了哥斯达黎加一个以度假闻名的山间小镇,住着的小小旅店有茂盛的热带院子和一个带吧台的游泳池。在这个被很多人认为是人间天堂的地方, 我却只觉得疲惫和不安。我再也不想必须无时无刻都不得不做决定:决定去哪里参观,决定参加什么活动,决定下一顿吃什么,决定下一站去哪里,决定是坐公共交通还是租车。当时我什么也不想,就想无需思考得度过余下的时光。

 

最后我们决定‘无所事事’得过几天。我们真的什么也不想得过了几天。

几天后,再次出发的时候,我对世界又重新充满了好奇和热情。而自此以后,自己似乎也更加平和了。

把该做的事情做好,一起都会好起来的。把一切在自己可控范围内的事情做好,然后把剩下的交给老天。老天特别眷顾努力而又愿意相信它的人们。

这一点,我总是有幸一遍又一遍的体会到。

又一遍又一遍得提醒自己,特别是在境遇略显艰难的时候。

旅行再长,也有结束的时候。终点又回到起点,不过终点永远也不可能和起点一模一样了。

10个来月的慢游,小南太小估计什么也不会记得。不过我会记得,我们怎样在慢游的时候,看着她慢慢成长。

 

或者说,我们怎样在慢游的时候,和她一起成长。

Invite Your Child to Speak Your Language – It Really Works

img_2330Nina’s language pattern has seen a dramatic evolution in the last three months or so.

About the time when she turned 4.5 (three months ago), she totally switched her language preference at home.

Up till that point, she would speak Mandarin with me, and French with Nicolas, 100%.

Then one day, suddenly, she switched to English, 100%. Just like that.

Nothing had changed at home: I still used only Mandarin when speaking to her, Nicolas only French. The only plausible explanation is that her English had finally caught up through her pre-primary schooling experience. Perhaps she felt confident and more comfortable to express herself in English. Perhaps she started to have more English vocabulary than in Mandarin and French.

Anyway, although we were a bit shocked and puzzled initially by the sudden change, we acknowledged that it was something to happen sooner or later. After all, many experts say that most of us need one dominant language, and that usually is the one that the child is schooled in.

However, we continued to speak Mandarin and French respectively with her at home. She would understand totally and reply in English. So officially we had three languages all spoken at home, for the first time since she was born.

Then two months down the road, things started to change again.

She started to speak Mandarin with me again. Initially only when I invited her to, but fairly quickly she would initiate conversation with me in Mandarin. However, she continued to speak English with her dad, even though Nicolas never switched to English.

It got to me think why. Then I found one, and perhaps only one possible, explanation.

I invited Nina to speak Mandarin with me, after about one month following her switch to English. Sometimes I would just casually say: ‘I would love to hear you speaking Mandarin with me’, or ‘Could you say it in Mandarin please?’. Sometimes I just repeated what she said in Mandarin. Sometimes I needed to help her with a particular vocabulary. Sometimes I would make a fuss ‘wow, I love how you said that in Mandarin – it’s perfect!’.

Don’t get me wrong – I never pushed her. If she continued with English after I reminded her, I didn’t insist her switching to Mandarin. I knew it would have only pushed her to be rebellious. I never pretended that I didn’t understand her – because she knew that I understood English perfectly so there was no point to lie (and I didn’t want to teach her that lying was ok). I would happily carry on the conversation, even if she chose to reply only in English. For me, the fact that we are communicating is still much more important than in which language we communicate. 

But I persisted. I carried on reminding her – about twice or three times a day when I felt she’s receptive. I continued to praise her efforts – every single time that she made an effort and spoke in Mandarin. I remained relaxed. I focused on the quality of our communication rather being frustrated by it not happening in Mandarin.

Then I noticed her throwing in more and more Mandarin, two months after her switch to English! Initially she would say something only upon invitation or being prompted. Then she started to initiate conversation in Mandarin.

It’s now three months after her switch to English. She’d use Mandarin when speaking with me about 2/3 of the time. And it’s definitely trending positive. Sometimes even in tantrum, she would speak Mandarin! I consider that pretty good (minus the tantrum part!).

In comparison, she hasn’t really switched back to French as much, yet. She’d still speak just English with Nicolas, up till about two weeks ago, when I had a conversation with Nicolas, sharing my observation and my technique of ‘inviting’ Nina to speak Mandarin. Nicolas just never really invited her to speak French up till that point of time. Nicolas since then has started to use the same trick – reminding her, inviting her, repeating in French, helping with her vocabulary, and praising her efforts. And I’m happy to report that Nina has started more French when speaking with Nicolas. I am hopeful that we would hear more and more French from her too.

So the message?

Invite your child to speak your language – it really works!

 

A Fun Way to Introduce Reading Chinese Characters through Bingo Game

I am embarking on a new venture – creating reading and writing materials in Chinese for Nina! Who would have thought of that 😊

Nina, who turned four a month ago, is now really showing interest in understanding what she’s reading/been read at. She would point at the characters / letters and ask what they mean (in all three languages). She also points at the signs of the shops/restaurants and asks me to read and explain. This morning, when she picked up her socks she asked (in Mandarin) ‘Where did you buy the socks? What’s written on the shop?’

So I figured she’s ready to learn how to read.

This is validated when I went for an observation at her pre-school earlier this week – she was playing the number bingo and letter bingo games again and again with her classmates. They are the very basic version of bingo games created by her Montessori directress – number bingo is when one child calls the number from one to ten (Arabic numbers), and other children need to see if they have the same number on their 3×3 sheets (with just one random number missing). Whoever gets all 9 numbers will shout ‘bingo’. Amazingly kids seem to all enjoy that again.

So I created the Chinese Number bingo game at home. It’s really easy to make. In word, I created a 3×3 table on an A4 page, each cell with a random Chinese number between 一 (1) and 十 (10). I created 3 such tables (so up to three person can play at the same table, but i can easily do up more for mor players). Then I also type all 10 characters separately. I printed out all 4 pages, cut the 10 individual characters into smaller individual pieces. Voila, ready to go!

Nina had a blast playing. She particularly wanted to be the one calling the numbers out. Or when she plays, she gets herself two pieces of pages and look for the called number on both pages. She has recognized eight of the ten characters, but funnily was still trying to figure out six (六)and nine (九). She asked why the 6 & 9 ay school would look the same if one is turned upside down, while the ones in Chinese won’t!

This game can be easily adapted to introduce learning to read any characters in any languages really. I already started to think of other characters that will be easy and fun and useful enough to get onto that 3×3 magic table.

 

Always Be A Little Kinder Than Necessay

I saw this standing in front of an op-shop today on my way to the train station. I couldn’t help but stop to take a snapshot.

It’s a timely reminder.

In a world that sees some senseless crime, we need to be kind and a little kinder to other human beings.
In a world that puts so much pressure on others and ourselves to be successful, to be the best, to be achieving, to be fast, to be efficient, and to be everything, we need to be kind and a little kinder to others and to ourselves.

In my sometimes seemingly confined world of trilingual parenting that I often feel a lousy parent, I need to be a little kinder to myself.

Always be a little kinder than necessary.

@trilingualfamily

10 Things Parenting and Start-up Share in Common

There are amazing similarities between parenting and starting up a new business. Here are 10 things that they share in common.

1. There is no user-manual that guarantees the proper function and the success.

2. Everyone will have an opinion.

3. Your routine suddenly changes, dramatically.

4. No one pays you. For a potentially long time.

5. It’s a 24/7 job. No sick leave. No paid holiday.

6. You often wonder, how come I work so hard but I’m still doing such a lousy job?

7. The support from the partner and family makes it so much easier.

8. You need to take a break, even if it’s difficult to arrange.

9. It’s a lonely journey, as most of time you don’t even know where to start to explain.

10. You’ll never fully know what it’s about until you actually start the job.