Summer fun! Back to Spanish and more!

Summer is here!  School is out!!  Hurrah!!

Guess what!  The girls will not be making their 4-6 weeks trip to Taiwan this summer, as we just moved last summer and started our new jobs a few months ago.

Instead, it is back to homeschool, with lots of fun added in of course 😀!!  (I can almost hear my DDs cringing in the background! 😂)

DD#1 “Charlotte”, who just finished 9th grade, will have her hands full with online Chinese IV (to get it out of the way for some Spanish), some science and SAT prep, guitar-band, babysitting, and tennis league games.  She is also working on two summer projects, writing and illustrating her own Chinese-English children’s books, and preparing a speech in Chinese on her own bilingual upbringing.  She will be going to a creative writing camp also.

Charlotte loves art and here is her first summer sketch.  She imagines herself to be the fox and her taller friend (a girl) in real life, the smaller owl, touring Italy on a scooter! 😄


DD#2 “Georgia” (funny, since we moved to the state of Georgia last summer) who just finished 6th grade taking either 7th grade courses or gifted courses, have her hands full also.  We talked about her taking 8th grade math over the summer so that she can just move onto Algrebra I/part of Geometry sequence next year, as she has done some pre-algebra already.  But, what’s the hurry?  According to that sequence in this state, she will finish Calculus B/C in 10th grade and will take two years of college math afterwards.  But, she “only” wants to follow our footsteps and, really, few physicians need that much math background – ever.  I know, since I majored in Chemical Engineering as an undergrad and took much more math than I ever needed later and nobody cared!!!

Instead, Georgia will have a broader summer experience.  Yes, she will do some math, but not as much.  She is jumping back to where we left off five years ago with our Spanish program.  At that time, they read Spanish with our Colombian au pair and later a few South American babysitters.  So, we took out those same books and she is now reading them with their part time summer Colombian “babysitter”.



Georgia loves to learn more cooking and baking.  So, the “babysitter” is showing her how to cook Colombian and Dominican cuisine and bake as well.  Two days a week, an Indian American college student will come show her how to cook Indian food also, plus checking on their academic progress.

Here is Georgia preparing ingredients under the babysitter’s supervision.  You can see that she loves reading her Doraemon comics still!



arroz con pollo…..img_0469.jpg

…. and cooking some Chinese food under my supervision when I have the time.img_0460-e1527741038329.jpg

So, this summer, lunch and dinner are on DD#2 Georgia!  Hurrah!  She wants to learn how to cook and we need to eat!  ¡Perfecto!

At the mean time, Georgia will continue her Saturday Chinese classes as well in extra-summer sessions, focusing more on cultural topics, I think.  She continues taking guitar classes and will try out voice lessons as well, for her role as a lead singer in our band!  Then, there are the tennis practices and time for the pool!

At the mean time, both girls will read and discuss Chinese novels and cultural and contemporary topics with a tutor at home twice a week.

Lastly, we try to practice as a band every night.  Here, Charlotte recorded her part for the song we are working on, so that I can practice bass without her.  Can you guess what Chinese song we are working on?  Hint: it is one of 蘇慧倫’s all time hits, a cover of a song by a German band!

So, that’s that for our summer plan, so far!  I hope you are having a blast oversea or in the US!  Travel on!


More volunteering and band performance opportunities

So, we continue to provide the girls with opportunities to use their Chinese for volunteering and performances.  Last Saturday, almost 15 year old DD#1 “Charlotte” volunteered as a check-in person for the “Minced Pork Rice” 滷肉飯 cook off near Atlanta.  A good percentage of the folks spoke Chinese checking in.  Charlotte also got to meet many second generation young professionals 10-15 years her senior.  Her co-volunteer here is a Malaysian American professional.  She had so much fun, but too many cups of milk tea!

As for me, I tasted no fewer than nine to ten styles of minced pork rice and I was stuffed!!


As for our band, my girls received a gig invite to play at a dinner banquet after a local golf tournament event this past Sunday.  In trying to come up with a Chinese band name, DD#2 “Georgia” proclaimed that we are “獨一無二“, as in unique.  Charlotte and I immediately looked at each other and she shouted out “杜ㄧ無二”, replacing the first character of the expression with our last name, which has the fourth tone instead of the second tone.  So, there you have it, the name of our family band!

For our performance, Charlotte played and sang 周華健‘s 「朋友 」again, as that was the song requested by the organizer.  It is simply a classic song suitable for most gathering.  It was very well received.

Then, Georgia performed Malaysian singer 四葉草’s 「好想你」.  However, this was the biggest sound stage that we have performed in so far and, given our band newbie status without any coach, we weren’t ready for the fact that the sound we heard was reverberated, delayed, and distorted reflections bouncing from the rear wall of the venue.  When we were doing our initial sound set-up, we kept telling the AV guy to turn off the echo effect to no effect.  So, that was what was happening.  So, without stage monitor speakers directed toward Georgia, she couldn’t hear the sound correctly and was singing off tune.  After a few tries, we couldn’t get it right.  So, Charlotte and I performed Ben E King’s “Stand By Me” instead and that went very well.

So, here is the video of our performance, with Georgia’s rehearsal video as the replacement for her part.  All the practices that went into it, including Georgia’s intro, are fantastic in consolidating their Chinese, both in terms of their proficiency and psychic.



Lastly, summer is coming up!  I have been invited to speak at a southeast regional Taiwanese American summer gathering on, what else, raising English-Chinese bilingual children in the US!  I will be asking members of my FB group to provide me pictures and videos of what they have been able to accomplish to include in the talk!!  Guess what, I am going to let my girls do part of the presentation, ’cause they are the presentation!

華人醫學會年會表演 – 2018

We were invited to perform for the first annual conference of Chinese Medical Association of Atlanta (亞特蘭大華人醫學會), which was first established almost thirty years ago with just a few members. The turn out was great for such an organization and there were a number of good educational talks.  The event lasted the whole day, from 12:30-10PM.

After afternoon’s educational talks, family members joined the physicians in a buffet style dinner.  The evening’s performances started after dinner and there were about 8 performances.

For us, only DD#1 “Charlotte”, almost 15, and I performed this time, as I haven’t had more time to work with DD#2 on her song with my new work schedule.  As I started learning bass guitar only a few months ago, I have had more time to work on it since our Chinese New Year’s performance.  For her first song, Charlotte performed 周華健‘s “朋友“ again, as this is a different crowd.  This time, I have learned enough to play the bass accompaniment for her.  Then, she played Ben E King’s “Stand By Me”.  It is such a simple but beautiful song and the bass accompaniment is pretty cool to play.  Our performance was a hit and we got so many compliments for it.

As before, Charlotte is the only heritage child (well, teen now, besides DD#2) who really spoke and/or sing anything in Chinese.  We typically get such good feed backs from the audiences afterward.  I think seeing her hard earned Chinese proficiency put into such good use again and again this past year reinforces Charlotte’s willingness to continue learning the language and truly accept it as part of her heritage.  Chinese is now part of her skill sets that she can use to socialize, perform and entertain, and reach out to the local Chinese community for volunteering and service opportunities.