Monday, February 16, 2009


Once every couple of months or so Leiya catches me on chat and asks me to look over her latest college essay and make corrections. I find this interesting because when she was in jr. high and had English compositions or English speeches she wouldn't let me near her papers. Nowadays having a mother who will edit seems very convenient to her.

I am amazed that both of my kids are able to write 5 or 6 pages in any language and I never dreamed that they would be able to write essays in English. Neither child much liked studying English though they understood it well enough and spoke it in a pinch. I used to worry that my kids would grow up, fly the nest and except for the telephone I'd never hear from them again because we didn't have a common written language. My efforts at learning the Japanese language lasted until I was fairly fluent in conversation but I sort of gave up at the reading/writing stage. I made attempts both times the kids went through 1st and 2nd grade but they left me far behind and I've never gone back to truly studying Japanese.

But now my kids write English!!! They write e-mails to me in English!!! And we "chat" in English too! So I wasted a lot of years worrying about whether I was going to be able to keep in touch with them someday (and who knew that the computer with voice mail and visual "chat" would be in the future.)

Back to Leiya's college papers.

"Mom, could you check this for me? I need it back right away. I have to turn this in today."

"Okay, let me look it over."

Leiya will e-mails her essays to me and although she's pretty good, reading through the paper, confirming some of her ideas and then explaining my corrections can take some time.

Before I get done Leiya will often be on chat saying,

"Is it that bad?"

No. It isn't. I'm very proud of Leiya and her ever improving English skills.

Today I turned the tables on her. I needed to decline an invitation to a local elementary school's event. I could have phoned and said "sorry, I can't come" but I thought it would be more polite to answer in writing. Ooh! Do I regret that I didn't study more Japanese! I find it amazing that I can speak the language but get hung up on all of the prepositions! This morning I sent Leiya an e-mail.

"Leiya, can you do me a favor? Do you have time to correct my essay?"

That got a laugh out of her! So I sent it and she looked it over and she had to confirm what I was really trying to say. I was running behind schedule and needed my essay/letter back right away.

"Is it that bad?"

Leiya I appreciate more than ever what a great job you are doing at college and all the language hurdles you've managed to haul yourself over!

And thanks for correcting my essay this morning!


Shasta said...

That's so sweet. My daughter used to ask me to correct her essays, but she hasn't in a long time. I used to proofread a lot for my coworkers in my former job too.

The Calico Quilter said...

I got a chuckle from your post and remembered something from work, years ago. My technical supervisor was an older Chinese gentleman whose spoken English was good, but he sometimes got snarled up writing in English. If he had to compose anything that was going outside the company, he would bring his letter draft over to me and ask "Does this say what I think it says?"

Anonymous said...

This is my first post to you but I just couldn't put it off any longer.

I so enjoy your blog and look forward to reading it each day. Love the diversity!

Keep up the good work of reporting on your life, loves and of course, the animals.

Have a great week.


Chocolate Cat said...

Isn't that a great example of how things can move full circle....Glad you can help each other!