Several days ago, KidTwo got an email from someone asking if she was the [KidTwo] who went to such-and-such school for kindergarten. The sender was a girl whose family I have been looking for online for years--picture all of us, both families, thrilled.
The family was from China and I had been looking for them under the father's Chinese name, which he had changed since moving away from town here. But, KidTwo has an uncommon name and her former playmate was able to track her down. KidTwo sent me copies of that email exchange, then I found an email address for the former playmate in a google search, then that playmate sent me her family's phone number, and I spent a wonderful hour on the phone with my friend from seventeen years ago, the daughter, and the newest daughter, whom I knew of but had not met.
With some people, you just connect. Language barriers don't matter so much, cultural differences don't matter so much, you just connect on a fundamental human level. That was how it was for that family and mine. We parents were friends and our children were friends. The evening after that wonderful phone call, I could not stop the Cheshire Cat grin on my face--I was so happy to have reconnected! Thank goodness for the internet, and for uncommon names.
Here is a funny story about KidTwo and this particular playmate, FriendYY. KidTwo had gone to kindergarten in a private school when she was four, this because she was just ready for it. After that year of kindergarten, I had the option of putting her in first grade a year ahead of her peers, or having her repeat kindergarten in the public schools. Either class would be in Spanish, as I was enrolling her in the Spanish Immersion program here.
I sent out for family advise on what to do and got back three answers, one from my dad, who had been put ahead in school (started high school at twelve), another from a cousin who was similarly pushed ahead, and yet another from a cousin who had been a teacher for decades. All were dead set against pushing KidTwo ahead because of the social issues involved.
So, I told KidTwo she had to go to kindergarten a second time because the first time was in English but she needed to go in Spanish, too. KidTwo knew her paternal grandparents spoke Spanish and so was okay with repeating kindergarten in that language. She didn't get upset until she found that FriendYY, her best friend ever, was not going to be in her kindergarten class. I pacified her with the explanation that while she needed to go to school in Spanish so as to learn that language, FriendYY needed to go to school in English as she needed to learn that language (somehow KidTwo and FriendYY managed to be best friends without much of a common language). That made sense to KIdTwo and, while she wasn't thrilled about it, she understood.
Then KidTwo went to play with another Chinese playmate, FriendA. FriendA was bilingual, as she had been born in the states. KidTwo came home that day with smoke pouring out of her ears. "Mommy, [FriendA] gets to go to kindergarten in English, BUT [FRIEND-A] ALREADY SPEAKS ENGLISH!!!!"
The world can be full of injustices when you're five years old.
Thank goodness for the internet, bringing us new friends and helping old friends track us down.