A Wonderful Visit
By Pat Goltz
Timothy is now 18. I have more stories to tell, and I'll fill those in when I get a chance.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with my family. This included my mother, my sister, her husband, and Timothy. The visit lasted two weeks. We had a wonderful time!
Before getting to this visit, I have a little background to tell you. A few weeks earlier, Becky, my mother, and Timothy came to visit the family in Arizona. One of the evenings we were there, we all went to a Chinese restaurant. As we sat there, Timothy asked how to say "Thank you" in Chinese. It turns out that Allen and I knew the answer, so we told him, "Xie xie" (pronounced shay shay). So when the waiter came back, Timothy told him, "Xie xie" and he nodded his head.
I had recently learned how fascinated Timothy is with foreign languages. One evening when I was talking on the phone to Becky, he got on the phone and said, "Aloha!" He picked that up from watching TV. So I taught him "Mahalo," which means "thank you". I think that is his favorite phrase. He also knows how to say it in Spanish, German, and sign language. Well, I am getting a little ahead of myself.
Anyway, one of the things I knew would happen when I got there was that in the evenings, Timothy and I would play UNO. Becky changed the rules a little bit so all the cards are laid out on the table and everyone can see them. This meant that Timothy could use strategy in his play. And he beat me a few times. It was great fun!
One day, we went to the waterfall. Becky didn't want to hike around, but I wanted to take pictures, so I went a short distance by myself. We also drove around in the car quite a bit, and took pictures of the spring flowers, of which there were lots. And I took a funny picture of a horse who had his head through the fence eating the grass on the other side. You know, "The grass is greener on the other side of the fence."
Timothy also participated in a program called "Horse Play" while I was there. We went every Monday. The first time he went, he was really afraid of the horse. It didn't help that the horse didn't like him. So we talked them into getting him another horse. We weren't sure he would want to go back, but it turned out that a girl from his high school he had a crush on was there, so he was interested in going back. I watched him develop from a person who really was afraid of the horse to someone who had a lot of fun. He's not an equestrian yet, but he's getting there. He even patted the horse. I was jealous that I couldn't ride with him.
The other main thing we did together was work on languages. He wants to learn Spanish, and Becky wants him to learn German, so we worked on both. Mainly, we would sit around the supper table and name various things. Since my mother, Becky, and I all know some German, it turned into a lot of fun. By the time I left, Timothy was already speaking to me in phrases in German. When we played UNO, I would count the cards in one language or the other, either Spanish or German. I also taught him the colors of the cards.
While we were there, I took them out to eat at the local Chinese restaurant. Again, Timothy wanted to tell the waiter "thank you" but instead of asking how to say it in Chinese, or remembering how, he said it in German. So I told him he had to say it in Chinese, and reminded him of how to say it. So when the waiter came back, Timothy said "Xie xie" to him. And he responded by talking rapidly in Chinese to Timothy! I wish I knew what he said. But it was quite a thrill that the waiter responded that way!
I wished I could spend lots more time teaching Timothy, and I'll have to make it a point to teach him over the phone. It is so much fun for both of us. I love languages. Of course, anybody who has been exploring on this web site has certainly figured that out already!
In any case, the visit was way too short. Timothy keeps surprising me at all the things he can do. I should know better than to think he can't do stuff, but I still have to shake all the conditioning I have gotten over the years. Suffice it to say that he certainly is very bright, and hopefully at some point, he will be on his own. The only trouble is, Becky likes doing stuff for him too much, so he's not learning things as much as he should. But he'll get there.