I have a niece who turns 11 tomorrow. She is just the sweetest thing in the world. She has never travelled, has never ventured more than a few miles from her birthplace across the sea and her native language is not English.
What is so curious about her is that if you speak with her she can speak at length with you in English, quite properly, actually, and with an adorable accent. What is really curious about this is that while she does take English in school, it is really from watching television that she has learned English. And even more curious is that she not only speaks, but her cultural references are purely American. She knows all the stories of all the latest shows, American Idol, 90210, etc.
Her expressions are not different from an eleven year old here, “Great!” she says with enthusiasm, when I ask her if she’d like to come visit this summer. I hope she can. There is nothing more interesting than seeing our own lives through the eyes of another, especially through the enthusiastic and innocent lens of a wide-eyed adolescent.