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Blogger or Brand?: What?! It’s got an ‘Online Identity’?

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Well, let me explain.

It’s Thursday morning. And since I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, happened to stumble upon a quote from one of the WordPress dailypost editors, Michelle W.: “Some of us have purely personal sites where we discuss the day-to-day, while others are trying to create an online presence around our blogs or use them as a springboard for other projects. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not just a blogger: you’re a brand“.

So… is this blog a brand??

Brand (n): a particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product

I guess so… and to confirm the assumption [suggested by the original writer], I continued reading the ‘inspirational post’ , and found:

“In terms of a blog, your brand is:

  • Your site’s personality.
  • Your name, tagline, color scheme, and design (including your logo).
  • A promise you make to readers about what they’ll find on your site.
  • The way you represent yourself and your blog in other spaces online.
  • The thing that differentiates your blog from the seventy zillion other blogs on the internet”.

Now, it begs the question: for this site/blog, is all that true? Does it behoove me/the writer/the ‘mind behind the curtain’ to create a distinct personality and consistent experience for this blog’s readers, reinforcing why 3rCultureChildren is worth reading?? Tough question, right? I’ll also see if i can answer that… through future posts… not today… just getting my creative juices flowing! :o

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

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18 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2013 in post a day

 

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It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World!

Image Credit: http://tumblr.com

Image Credit: http://tumblr.com

Today, trying to answer the intriguing question proposed by the Daily Prompt:

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

 

Humm… how differently do I communicate online when compared to communicating in person?

I guess I’m part of a minority group when it comes to texting [or messaging, whichever new word has come up to describe the attempt to quickly deliver your thoughts within the cyber-world!]. I’m sure many over here have heard [or read] about the ‘new language’, a new way of expression, the so-called ‘Weblish’, defined as the shorthand form of English that is used in text messaging, chat rooms, twitter posts and other forms of microblogging. So, how much do I [personally] rely on this particular language form, which has gained the unconditional support as the ‘urban grammar’ used as a slang for online conversations? Not much, I’d say. [Is it a bad thing??]

I love interacting with people, you know, the real kind of interaction, the one you need to vocalize the words in order to establish a conversation? Yeap, that kind. I’m a blogger, and being so, I’m completely open to using any and all social media tools that become available.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against networking, the social media tools [when well used!], and I tend to blog the way I write. I write the way I believe it’s possible to give my thoughts a voice. I’m a chatty cat, if allowed! ♥

Back to the social networking ‘channels’, I not only admin and maintain a photo/travel journal blog, but also, a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page. Shocked?? By now, many are probably wondering: is this hypocritical woman gonna make any point with all this ‘nice talk’?

Again, I’ve got no intention to put down all the research years that have brought the internet [and all its related content, mechanisms and pathways] to where we are, right now. And I’m grateful to all the advances in technology that make possible for me to skype with family around the world, send and share images/videos of my growing children, offer and receive support from other expats through blogging/microblogging.

But, I have to say, I’m a bit nostalgic. I remember the days I’d correspond with people using letter mail. I remember the great feeling of receiving a birthday card from a family member, getting an expected phone call from a good friend [remember when we didn’t have caller ID?], or a paper note from that special boy at school, with handmade drawings… :o

These events have a dear place in my memory, and it saddens me to think they may be gone by the time my children would be ready for those experiences. I feel that now, things are moving a bit too fast, and unfortunately, we, as a society, tend not to allow ourselves to spend a little more time interacting with each other…

I’m a believer. I believe in TEXT. The real kind, the one where words [not signs, not smiley faces, not words without letters] are used to express our true thoughts, feelings and emotions I’m believer, what can I say? And since I’m a bit older than many here [pushing 42, right now…:o], I’ve survived without the internet, but now, it’s a critical part of my life; I feel like I can have my saying…. I’m old-school, and if I need to text, I’ll do so, with no regrets. But if the message gets a bit longer than I have the patience to type, I just write: “Need to touch base. Will write you an e-mail”… and all my problems are, magically, solved! :o

texting... Humm???

Image Credit: http://facebook.com

What about you, are you like me, or completely different? In any event, thank you all for sharing! TEXT-TEXT TEXT/ [pingbacked to other bloggers, sharing their takes on the theme!]

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2013 in LANGUAGE, post a day

 

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Why I write? Why I share? [My personal Space]

Today’s Daily Prompt is Personal Space.

When I stop to think, ‘why do I blog?’ or ‘why do we share stories about your family experiences, our travels, our difficulties and joys while raising kids?’, I come back to the same answers:

I blog because, to me, it’s a personal experience. I have no ambitions to use the blog as some sort of ‘marketing springboard’, although, since along the years, it has become quite a forum for other expatriates, traveling families, members of the foreign service community… a safe place where I can express my views and takes on life, share our questions, seeking for answers and/or advice from others facing similar situations…

I’m a parent, and with my husband, we’ve built an interesting lifestyle for ourselves and for our growing children. We are diverse. We share different backgrounds, cultures, knowledges and lessons learned. We share our learnings with our kids. We speak different languages in our household… and everyone has to try all the different types of food mom and dad were brought up with! :o

We share the joy, the sad moments, the adventurous decisions… We share the concerns and we look for solutions. Among ourselves, within the expat community. We look for input from other families in the foreign service. We try to enjoy life, snapping shots along the way, and sharing those beautiful and unique images here. Hopefully, this ‘live journal’ will one day be useful to our kids, our worldly citizens, growing up as products of hybrid cultures – and if that happens, I’ll be very proud! ♥

That’s why I blog. I makes me happy to share, and at the same time, it keeps me going. It helps me cope with difficult situations, it helps me assist other families, and it gives me the so much needed reassurance that, despite all challenges, we are not alone. And we’ll never be alone… that’s one of the beauties and positive sides of the cybersphere! :o

And you, why do write, blog, share your very own ‘personal space’ with other bloggers, keeping the ‘blogsphere’ active and spinning? :o Some others have done their part, and, as expected, given away their reasons [see below]… thank you all for sharing!http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/

 

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Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…

“Are you curious?” We are! :o

**UPDATE: Follow-up post discussing thoughts on Diversity & Raising Children as Expats

I often talk about the challenges of parenting, especially considering the difficulties placed by language and culture, one of the many issues associated with moving to a different country, every couple of years. That said, I took a look back at the posts published in 2012, mainly on parenting & language, and found one that generated a very instructive feedback; working as a sort of a ‘discussion forum‘, that I plan on exploring/expanding at length, some time this year… [Another one of my New Year's Resolutions... Like everyone else, I know there'll be a great deal of 'procrastination' before I'll be able to cross tasks off my 2013 to-do list!]

Oh, well, at least, I’m taking the time to revisit thoughts/facts/articles… it’s the first step for the beginning of a good research! :o

The post that got me thinking was one related to a simple question: “What type of multilingual parent are you?”, pointed out by the Mumsnet Bloggers Network for 2012; that had been initiated by a clever quote about the experience of raising bi/multilingual children:

“…raising multilingual children is an adventure you share together – one that is a lot of fun, but for which you will need quite a lot of patience. Sometimes, linguistic development will not progress in the way you hoped. That is fine, and everything will eventually work itself out. Sharing my language with my children has been about sharing my heritage more than anything else. It might be difficult at times, but it is a gift that will last a lifetime“.

Last year’s blogpost provoked a very positive reaction, expressed through the number of visitors, and especially, throughout the comments, coming from parents, consultants, educators, expats like ourselves, or simply, other parents who echo our opinions about how challenging, adventurous and/or never-ending this experience should be.

Learning should never stop, and teaching our kids through example is the best way to keep ourselves current! At least, that’s the hope! :o

Here are some of the comments, and based on their [shared] experiences, it could be YOUR TURN to answer – what type of multilingual parent are you? Or, even better, what type of [multilingual] parent you hope to become?

But first, let me thank all the visitors/readers who shared a comment, or who sent me a message [with your opinion/suggestion] regarding this topic. It makes the blogging experience much richer, more productive, and way more enjoyable! My deepest appreciation to all of you! ♥

VisitorMy husband is a German TCK growing up in Taiwan, and thinks in English most of the time. He is fluent in German and can read fairly well – though he is more comfortable in English. We are living in a Chinese environment and have been since we’ve been married. We had high hopes of me speaking English and him speaking German, but that didn’t work out. I’d say mainly because he didn’t think in German when the oldest was born – he rarely spoke German to anyone. So, remembering to speak it at home was difficult. He did better speaking Chinese to them.  On top of this, his family all speaks English fluently, so there was no pressure on us in that regard as well.
 I do have a question, though that I’m wondering. Will you continue to educate your children in all three languages through middle school and high school or focus more on one language? I’m just really curious about this. You seem to be really doing a great job with them right now so that they master both written and spoken of the three. Great post to ponder on… 

           
Visitor  
In our house we speak English, Spanish and Dutch and the boys seem to know all three languages equally. My five year old is a dynamo with languages. He can switch, translate and think in all three. My two year old understands all three but is not as talkative as my five year old was. We lived in Mozambique with the older one until the age of three and he was able to speak 4 languages when we lived there. It is curious to see how the different children take to the languages differently. I thought for sure my two year old would be the same since we haven’t done anything really different, but I noticed he is taking longer to use his words, although you can see he understands all three. I call Dutch the secret language in my house, because only the boys (not me) speak it. So basically this is how it works: School = English, Language we speak as a family = English, Mommy = Spanglish to the boys (more spanish), Daddy = Dutch to the boys, Empleada/Nanny = always Spanish. The boys will also take Dutch lessons once or twice a week. It is definitely challenging, but so worth it. We don’t really think about it… just the way we live our life.
                        
      
Visitor Enjoyed your post! All the more so since /multilingual-multicultural life – as mentioned by Sakti above – is part and parcel of life in India! I think it is an advantage more than a challenge, an opportunity to broaden horizons!


 
Visitor I am probably not looking at it from a parents’ perspective.  My challenge is to make sure some of our less spoken languages – that includes my mother tongue, that my grandkids can not speak! – do not become extinct!
 

      
VisitorVery interesting. I am from India and we have a different challenge as India has more than 2 dozens of official languages. I studied a different language (Odia) than my mother tongue (Bengali) and now staying in a state, which speak another language (Gujarati). Everybody in India speaks English and Hindi. So my kids (both below 6 years) now have almost learnt to speak and understand all the above languages. Yes it is a challenge.


 

VisitorThanks for the mention of our upcoming session on Emotional Resiliency in Foreign Service Kids that will be held next week (*). Even though you won’t get to see it live, AFSA will upload the video to their website for worldwide viewing. 
I wish I could comment on what kind of bilingual parent I am…. but mine would be more of what I failure I was! When my daughter was 2, we left Portugal, where we had spoken Portuguese in the home when our housekeeper was around. The housekeeper only spoke to my daughter in Portuguese from infancy, so our daughter understood Portuguese as well as English. When we left Portugal, I tried to continue the Portuguese with her, only – at the age of only 2! – she wouldn’t answer me in Portuguese and finally admonished me to “stop speaking like Dolores!” I finally gave up on it.
 

           (*) Please refer to original post for the full text, and more details on the 2012 AFSA initiative.

 
Visitor I’m inspired to speak spanish at home more now. My kids’ dad all speak Spanish and I beg them to speak Spanish to the kids but they haven’t. My mom was raised bilingual, I was until they couldn’t accurately diagnose my infant-aged hearing issues because they couldn’t tell if I didn’t hear them or didn’t understand them so they told my mom to stop speaking Hungarian to me and she did. But she still wishes she’d have kept up with it. Other countries are so great with this and the US doesn’t do enough!
 

           
VisitorThis is so interesting! We also got “moderate parent”. I try to speak spanish to them most of the time but sometimes forget. I also read to them in french and english is the main language in the household. I’m taking them to a spanish speaking playgroup in hopes Evan will be motivated by seeing other little kids speak spanish! Great post!




 

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A look back at 2012: why people came to this blog? At the end, we’re all stats junkies!

2012 will be over in a couple of days!

A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say ‘hello‘ to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we’re happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia

Expat Blogs

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the ‘retrospective’: popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums… good discussions… Good therapy, some may say – and I’m glad to agree :o – when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments… work… expatriate and family daily life…. So, why visitors, readers, commenters, came to this blog? Most of them are expatriates, like our own ‘nomad family’, some belong to the Foreign Service community, and are well familiar with the challenges faced by the 5 of us. Others, are parents, travelers, adventurers, looking for images, photos, tips about travel options, or simply… curious eyes in search of a good reading, or a funny/intriguing/amazing image from our travels and/or not-so-fantastic daily life!

Now, I find myself with some time after the Christmas holidays, and with a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey! A big thank you to all!

For a ‘visual summary‘ of 2012, please hop over to this other post, especially crafted for WordPress‘s weekly photo challenge, the last one of 2012: A year through images!

For all the ‘fellow stats junkies’ out there [don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about! :o] here it is, this past year, through numbers… Who came in, looking for what, and the most popular posts… 

Top visitors {countries}: 

United States

Brazil

United Kingdom

Canada

India

Australia

Popular Posts/Articles

Highlights of 2011: Blogging one day at a time… Thank you for reading!

About us

UPDATED: “Moving is the 3rd most stressful life event”…

Why “3rd Culture Children”?

Scientific investigation during Carnaval 2012…

The Supermoon and Cinco de Mayo

2012 displayed an average of 246 blog comments/month, averaging 186 views a day.

Here are the ‘top commenters‘ [thank you for the very positive interaction!] :o

journeyman1977 – Lucid Gypsy – colonialist – eof737 – fgassette – travelgardeneat 

And which ones were the most commented posts? The ones with the strongest human interaction? [Again, my deepest gratitude for all the feedback received!]

Post/Page

Comments

about us

157

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

86

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

77

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

70

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

67

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

66

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

64

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

63

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects [as one composition]

60

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

59

See you all back in 2013! Let’s all have a great, peaceful and successful New Year! :o

Thanks for stopping by!

************

…so, the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “3rd Culture Children” (TCKs, more information here) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth. 

Travels in Brazil, posts related to outdoors activities, cultural events, such as attending the world’s largest open air theater for the Re-enacting of the Passion of Christ, as well as the ones showing scientific investigations and natural discoveries, seemed to be quite popular! 

‘Adventure‘ popular posts:

Visiting the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, swimming along with marine dolphins (Brazilian Atlantic coast, World Heritage Site, according to UNESCO)

Builiding a Hanging Garden using Recycled PET Bottles – teaching the importance of respecting the environment.

I’m grateful to Ruth Bailey, for the recent nomination – the 7 x 7 Link Award, where one’s supposed to highlight 7 recent important blogposts. Many thanks to Cyclingrandma, for offering the Good Apple award.

Nominated by a couple of bloggers in 2011 & 2012

Thank you, ClaudiaJohnson, for the nomination!

For a working mom, juggling with the work-life balance, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I’m honored. I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, the beauty and excitement of traveling, exploring nature (I’m a biologist!), languages (we’ve got Spanish, Portuguese and English in our household!), social/cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“ – imagine hauling this family of 5 around, raising multi-language TCKs, and keeping the passion for photography and story-telling?! 

 
 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2012 in expat, foreign service, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Getting ready to look back at 2012, remembering the most popular post in 2011!

2012 is almost over! A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say ‘hello‘ to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we’re happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the ‘retrospective’: popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums… good discussions… Good therapy, some may say – and I’m glad to agree :o – when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments… work… expatriate and family daily life….

Before I get a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey, I remembered last year, WordPress came up with a great initiative for all bloggers and readers: the year in blogging… That said, I thought it could be a great way to get ready for this year’s review. Post write-up is both in English and Portuguese, since we were living in Brazil, at that time… Maybe, if I’m gutsy enough, I could try to prepare this year’s review post in English and Spanish (Bolivia’s official language)?? :o

************************

Here’s this blog’s ‘first year’s review’ [2011], according to WP: [Anxious to know what's in store regarding 2012's review, as well as the plans for 2013!]

For some reason, according to the WP blogging annual report (shown/posted yesterday), today I’m sharing the post that got the highest number of unique views (over 2,500 views in one day, September 2011), surpassing the one that’d been Freshly Pressed (about children and folklore in Brazil).

I had no idea that “directing” the photo shoot of my husband jumping into the paradisiac Blue Lagoon in Jericoacoara (Ceara, Brazil, one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, according to the NY Times), could be so intriguing! :o

Anyway, thanks for checking it out, and here it is: The Blue Lagoon: Executing his best jumping, flying and diving moves!.

[Portugues] Depois que o jornal Washington Post, em 1994, incluiu Jericoacoara entre as dez praias mais bonitas do planeta, a pequena aldeia de pescadores, 300 km ao norte da capital do Ceará, mudou bastante. Jericoacoara não é simplesmente encantadora pelas suas dunas, praias e lagoas, mas também pelo seu vilarejo tranqüilo. O lugar era uma antiga vila de pescadores e até hoje conserva as ruas de terra, a arquitetura antiga e principalmente a paz de uma cidade que se esconde atrás de enormes dunas. O nome Jericoacoara deriva do tupi-guarany: yuruco (buraco) e cuara (tartaruga). Buraco das tartarugas, que seria uma referência a uma praia onde acontece a desova das tartarugas marinhas. Além de tudo isso, Jeri, como é chamada pelos moradores, oferece diversas opções para prática de esportes como windsurf, vela, trekking, cavalgada e outros.

 

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Updated: Thoughts on ‘what type of multilingual parent are you?’…

“Are you curious?”  We are!

Blog Hop: I’ve talked before about our family’s cultural settings – husband and wife coming from different (but not exclusive) cultures/languages, raising our 3 TCKs, all now 7 years of age, and under; as well as presented thoughts on the Creative Flow of a TCK. This past April, AFSA hosted a panel discussion on emotional resilience in third-culture kids (TCKs) with a particular focus on the Foreign Service experience, during the first week of April. Experts on the issue of TCKs are expected to discuss the issue, taking questions from the audience – too bad we´re a bit far from DC, but we´re looking forward to reading about the discussion. The main question under discussion will be why some kids adapt very well to life in the Foreign Service while others struggle [check the AFSA website for more information].

Phonics & Math: let’s get the family together to help!

From my/our end, we are trying to do our part of the challenging task that is raising worldy third-culture children. And we´re doing it through language. It’s already known that speaking several languages fluently increases job opportunities, makes international travel easier, and enables you to communicate with a lot more people a lot more easily. There are various theories on how to best raise multilingual kids. “One parent, one language” (OPOL for short) is popular, and to some extent that is what we’re doing in our family.

One thing we’ve learned about raising TCKs: reading is a magic tool!

We’ve found out we’re “moderate” multilingual parents… At least, that’s how we tested, according to the Multilingual Living Quiz. Which is the best “group of multilingual parents”? Hard to say, they’re all different, and unique in their own way. There’s no magic formula when it comes to raising children in a multicultural setting. I’m always talking about our multilingual household, the challenges of trying to keep up with Spanish, Portuguese and English, while assisting our 1st grader on his (now!) English homework assignments, as well as with his homeschooling English/Spanish tasks! [Note: our son had started first grade in Brazil, last February, attending a Brazilian Montessori School, and had English classes three times a week. We moved to our current post, La Paz, Bolivia, in August, so, he could begin the American School year, as a first grader...] And our oldest child is just one of the examples: there two more on the line – his younger sisters (now aged 4,5 and almost 2) are a lively part of this multilingual/multicultural environment….

Looking for “help” from flashcards, when it comes to linking the sounds to the words!

Challenging, but exciting. And we’re very satisfied with the outcome: our oldest children are capable of communicating with both sets of grandparents, watching bilingual TV, having play dates both in English and Portuguese, and, offer very positive feedback to their dad when talked to/read to in Spanish. :o Recently, I stumbled upon a great quote, about the experience of raising bi/multilingual children: “raising multilingual children is an adventure you share together – one that is a lot of fun, but for which you will need quite a lot of patience. Sometimes, linguistic development will not progress in the way you hoped. That is fine, and everything will eventually work itself out. Sharing my language with my children has been about sharing my heritage more than anything else. It might be difficult at times, but it is a gift that will last a lifetime“. Couldn’t agree more! :o 

Remembering bed time stories: from mom, in Portuguese… From dad, in English!

Helping our oldest children with their homework in Portuguese, having them practice English phonics with their native-speaker father, seeing the children have routine conversations with their dad in Spanish and English; and reading bed time stories in … who knows what!

We’ve been very fortunate regarding the kids school back in Brazil (they get both Portuguese and English), and we were thankful for the opportunity to use the educational allowance for homeschooling our 1st grader when it came to supplement his English language.

All in all, it’s working, and we’re pleased with the current results. Based on the explanation for each “group of multilingual parenting styles”, the Moderate Parent has found the golden middle way of bilingual parenting. Well-informed about bilingual issues yet know that ultimately they have to make your own rules and decisions that suit your family the best. Have a healthy dose of commitment towards your bilingual endeavour, a reasonable amount of self-confidence in what you are doing, and have no problem in bending the rules when necessary and when it’s in your family’s best interest. the “moderate parents” have chosen a model, are committed to it, and don’t give up easily when troubles arise. Acquainted with worries and problems but can ride through rough times by getting the right support from certain experts, their online group and other bilingual parents.

[Test originally published in Multilingual Living Magazine]

After all that, now it’s your turn to answer: “What type of multilingual parent do you think you are?” Take the quiz and find out! Here are examples of the questions:

“When you are on the playground with your child, you…”

“When your child speaks to you in the “wrong” language, you…”

“When it comes to literature on bilingualism, you…”

“Your reaction to the word “OPOL” is…”

“Your aim is for your child is…”

And there are many more questions/concerns/curiosities… Take your time to check it out!

So, how do you think you did?

Click Here to calculate your score and find out the results! We had a lot of fun (and learned a lot!) doing this little exercise! :o thanks for coming along!

 

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