I’m a kid at heart; so, I guess it makes sense that my two new best friends are age seven and eight.
This week, I babysat my host mom’s grandchildren, Tamar and Cleo. We had met earlier in the year at Cleo’s birthday party and once at one of Tamar’s guitar lessons, but I had never spent time with the girls by myself for an extended period of time. I had no idea what to expect. How would we navigate the language barrier? What if they weren’t able to communicate an immediate need? What if some strange cultural differences got in the way? I felt as though my life had suddenly become a comedy TV series – The Babysitter (the Danish edition.)
Turns out, Danish children are a lot like American children. Much of our time was spent playing games that I would’ve played at home in the U.S. Think slide-down-the-railing and monkey-in-the-middle. Cleo even pretended to crack her nose by making a twisting motion with her hand while flicking her thumbnail against her tooth, a trick I learned in second grade.
Charades and Google Translate aided in communication. I’m taking Danish Language and Culture I, but my language skills are not yet at a conversational level. I also struggle immensely with Danish pronunciation. Cleo and Tamar would often look at each other and giggle at my attempts to speak Danish. They’re especially amused by my pronunciation of the town I live in, Hillerød. (I sweat every time I see those pesky ø’s.)
While stomping in puddles and kicking ice across the pavement, I forgot Cleo and Tamar had grown up in a different country than I had. We didn’t speak the same language and we didn’t come from the same culture, but we were able to connect, simply by being human.
Babysitting was a nice reminder that kids will be kids.