We've now completed three months of Whirls and Twirls and it feels like we are hitting are stride. The months have started to take on a routine. We start with a trip to the library to exchange the books from our previous country for ones about our new destination. We make a collage on the first day, introducing the new country with photos, maps and discussions about what we'll be doing. We fill the month will all sorts of fun activities, and try to involve local friends when we can. And at the end, we find a way to give back by donating to a organization that does good work in the country we visited.
I'm figuring out what kind of research I need to do in advance and trying to get supplies in order so that we are ready whenever there is a free afternoon or a rainy day. And I'm getting a better sense of what kind of activities are right for The Whirl Girl and her age group, trying to find the right mix of being challenging enough but not too ambitious.
Best of all, The Whirl Girl loves it. Many mornings start off with her saying: "Mama, I have an idea. We could do a project today!" I wasn't sure how her 3 1/2-year-old brain would process the whole idea of "traveling" to these different countries. And while I couldn't tell you exactly how her brain visualizes the idea of a "country," it's inspiring to see that she understands that they are different places and remembers things that we did months ago.
Peru was, of the three, the country that I knew the least about. There weren't any specifically Peruvian cultural events in Singapore to guide our travels. We had to stretch ourselves and get creative. Friends shared their expertise and their ideas. I learned right along with The Whirl Girl. Note to grown-ups: picture books make a fantastic introduction to new countries. They are filled with evocative illustrations and stories, and often contain easy-to-read factual information about the geography and culture of their subject.
Adios for now to the Western Hemisphere, we are off to....