Friday, October 25, 2013

Lifestyle: Bilingual parents - make sure your child speaks your native language.

I know several people who speak English as a second language. When their children are born in the US, they speak to them in their native language for the first few months, or for a few years after the child is born. Then, they tend to switch to speaking English only. Consequently, the child forgets the parents' native language or loses interest in speaking it. Throughout the years, I've tried to understand why bilingual parents fail when it comes to having their children speak their language. Let's examine some of the reasons I've gathered from friends:

1. Some people think their child will develop a foreign accent when speaking English, so they don't even try to teach or speak in their native language with the child (without realizing they're speaking English with an accent themselves, thus teaching English with an accent to their children);
2. Others believe being exposed to more than one language at an early age will confuse the children and prevent them from speaking or learning either language well, or alter their language development speed;
3. Others give the ever so common excuse that once the children go to school, they will forget the other language;
4. There are also those who think it's a hard job to teach their children another language and don't feel up to it - basically it's easier to give in.

My child, though, speaks my native language as fluently as if she had been born overseas. And her English is perfect, because she was born in the US and has been going to school here. So, how did I accomplish that? I didn't let those excuses get into my way of raising a bilingual child. I believe it's important to learn another language, and it's even better if the language comes naturally and easy when you're speaking at home and the children don't feel like they're "learning", but just going with the flow.

It's fun to speak your native language to your child when you're bilingual. Don't give up. Remember, if the child learns both languages at an early age, she will speak with no accent in either language. It's important to speak another language; it's an added skill that will serve them well in the future. One bilingual mother I know regretted profusely not speaking to her daughter in her native language. When the girl grew up, she met a guy from her mother's native country and got married, but when they moved back to his country, she didn't know how to speak the language and had a very hard time finding a job and relating to his non-English speaking family! It was such a shame. If her mother had only spoken to her when she was a child…

Don't forget what to do:
1. Always speak to your child in your native language;
2. Read books in your native language to your child often;
3. Watch videos in your native language;
4. Institute the language law in your home: only your language can be spoken!
5. Don't engage in conversations where both languages are spoken back and forth: use your language only!

I'm sure if you insist and realize the benefits of speaking to your child in your native language, the rewards and benefits will be abundant in your lives!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book: Money - A Love Story by Kate Northrup

Book: Money - A Love Story by Kate Northrup

I really struggled with this review. At first glance, I was excited to read a book that would give me good advice on how to handle money and be debt free. I had never read a book about financial advice before, so this was something new that I wanted to try, and this book seemed promising. However, I felt that some suggestions given were not very realistic to the average population who is already struggling with debt and money issues, specifically the advice about getting help from a financial adviser. Not that the advice is not a good one, most definitely I believe it is, however it doesn't seem practical for me, for example, to spend money on a financial adviser monthly when I have real bills to pay.  

The book is basically a workbook with several exercises, which I also found annoying at times. I would have preferred to read it without the interruptions of the exercises - maybe if they were at the end of the book, they would not be so distracting, in my opinion. The love money quiz at the beginning of the book was very good and an eye opener, though. I also enjoyed reading the suggestions at the end of the book about self help, seminars, sites to join, research, and the pros and cons of exploring the financial freedom freeways of residual income possibilities. Overall not a bad read, as there are really some very good suggestions and advice, but the format didn't quite work that well for me. 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Location: Petronas Twin Towers - a view from Malaysia

Location: Petronas Twin Towers - a view from Malaysia

The glass looking towers illuminated at night
Kuala Lumpur, the vibrant and colorful capital of Malaysia, is the home of the world famous Petronas Towers, double skyscrapers that holds the title of the tallest twin towers in the world. The towers are 88 stores high and 452 meters above sea level. Although they were completed in 1998, after seven years of construction, they were officially inaugurated on August 31, 1999.

The Sky bridge gives tourists a great view of the city
The building is spectacularly beautiful and at night, it resembles pointed spires of a giant glass castle. The lights are usually turned off around midnight. It is breathtaking to take a peak at the city from the towers, and visitors can go to the observatory platform on the 41st floor, half way through to the top, where a sky bridge unites both towers. Besides being an observatory deck, the sky bridge also serves as an escape route in case of emergency. The ride used to be free, and you had to spend a considerable amount of time in line waiting for a chance to get a ticket. For that, you had to go to the underground level of the Suria KLCC shopping mall, a high class shopping mall at the foot of the towers, the biggest in Malaysia, where you find the booth that distributes the daily tickets. Lines used to form as early as 6 am on the weekends, as the tickets were distributed on a first came, first served basis to 1,000 tourists per day.

Interior of the Suria KLCC Shopping Mall, located at the foot of Petronas Towers

The 20 elevator trips to the sky bridge are still distributed to the maximum capacity of 20 visitors per ride, with the last ride being around 4 or 5 pm. If you are traveling by yourself, you have a higher chance to fill one of the earliest rides. For example, when I got there around 8 am, the line was already curving around the corner of the room, and by 10:45 am, although the next available slot was not until 3:15pm, I was able to score one at 1:45 pm, because I was by myself and they needed one more person to fill the elevator to its maximum capacity. For the last two years, the tickets are now being sold to the public, however the touristic demand to go to this architectural masterpiece is high and queues are still an issue. 

It's advisable to stay around the area waiting for your ride,so don't go wandering around too far. If you get there late for your elevator slot, you won't be able to take your tour and will have to try again the following day. You can enjoy your time walking around the shopping mall, browsing through the hundreds of specialty shops or finding a place to eat and have a fresh fruit smoothie while you wait.

Another beautiful view of the magnificent skyscrapers
The ride is fast and non stop. Once at the sky ride observatory, you get the chance to walk around and take breathtaking pictures of the city down below, which is well worth the wait. No trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without visiting the towers. It's a must see in the Malaysia capital, and probably the most famous attraction, since the towers symbolize the city and the country.