Little by little. It's a phrase that I hear quite often here. Whenever I start a conversation in Spanish I often precede it with, please forgive me, my Spanish is very bad (lo siento, mi espanol es muy malo - probably not even saying that correctly) and the response is often "poco a poco". I feel like it's a phrase that has become the core of my life abroad... poco a poco. Relax, little by little, it will happen.
The people here are very patient with those who don't speak Spanish fluently - at least they see you attempting to speak the language, no matter how much it's butchered. It's the effort that counts and there is no doubt, I always make an effort. And so based on that, once again I have enrolled in Spanish class. I was incredibly tempted to convince my friend Gina that we should just go for information and not really go to class but my conscience won out and of course, we went to class. After all there will be no poco a poco without some effort on my end.
But poco a poco doesn't just reference my ability to speak Spanish which is coming along, albeit slowly. It's also about the way our lives are progressing. Poco a poco... little by little. Every day, things get a little bit easier. The challenges that we used to face seem easy now when we reflect back even though at the time they were difficult and overwhelming. Poco a poco we have immersed ourselves into a new life, a new culture and a new language - something that will have an impact on our lives going forward.
And it's not just progress in acclimating to life in a new country which yes, after 2 years, we are still doing. It's also about taking life a little slower. Poco a poco - little by little, slow yourself down. For instance, we don't do tennis lessons at 8AM on Saturdays anymore because the rest of our weekend has been overscheduled and let's just get it done and overwith early- that was our old mentality. We have a nice lazy morning just hanging out with each other before we even head out to class, no rushing. And the class is now at 11 and then we go for a nice leisurely lunch just the four of us. We spend more time together as a family and find that we aren't going at mach 6 to get things accomplished. It will happen, poco a poco, or you know what, it might not get done at all... and that's ok.
We are checking things off our must see and do list - poco a poco. We won't see everything in our time here, it's just not possible. But poco a poco, we are making plans and checking things off. Last year we travelled at least every six weeks if not more often depending on the time of year (the entire summer was spent on the road). And we recognize that when travelling with children we won't see every single sight on our list, but we'll see the ones that are important to us and poco a poco, it will happen. And if we are lucky, the kids might someday appreciate it too :)
Academically things are starting to happen for Aidan - poco a poco. He really struggled there for a while and we were pretty concerned. But this year, he's coming into his own. He's just moved up a level in his Spanish class (at least that's my understanding), he's reading like a pro, he learned to ski last week, just earned his grey belt in jiu jitsu and goes back to tennis lessons this weekend after a month hiatus. It just shows that poco a poco, it will happen when they are ready and not a moment sooner. Now if we could just get Liam out of pull ups at night, things would be perfect with the two of them... I know... poco a poco :)
We are trying to reorganize our lives, make it less cluttered. We live in smaller space here and we have less material possessions. Poco a poco we have learned to live with less and appreciate the things that we have here. We have managed without a car for 2 years now and to survive and thrive in a large metropolitan city. It hasn't happened overnight, but poco a poco, it has become home.
It is said that you should take time in your life to smell the roses. I agree... but life often time gets in the way of the opportunity to slow down. And so I'm incredibly appreciative that we get the chance to take things here poco a poco and not just smell the roses, but to also watch them grow.