This is not my normal type of blog post, full of ideas to be creative learning languages.It is being written selfishly probably for myself to put a marker in the sand on a day when I am dumbfounded about the referendum result.
Human kindness has always been part of my life.My mum's mantra was "if you are kind to others they will be kind back". Eveybody is a human being and to me the only difference can be that people use different sounds to express in different languages very similar emotions and thoughts.
My first contact with a "european" was an immigrant.A "German" lady we called Mrs Barton, who lived next door to my mum and I in Wigan in 1964.She had arrived after the Second World War from what then became East Germany and worked as an auxilary nurse in a local hospital .She learnt her English as she went along and sometimes it was entertaining for a little girl to hear her say "lug holes" and not "ears" etcetra.She was really hurt when her eldest went to school and called a picture of an "egg" the german word which is "Ei" (sounds like "eye") and the class laughed at him. She never spoke German with her 4 boys again! However her acts of human kindness to my mum will never be forgotten.When my dad died in 1964, it was Mrs Barton, who picked my mum up and helped her to step out from being a wife to an independent woman.Many are the times I remember her helping mum out , having me round to her house to wash boys socks or encouraging my mum to give driving lessons or a trip out another try!
It was because my step dad was a member of a local male voice choir that I had the best year of my life in Stuttgart as a young woman.If Herr von Jakobs hadn't gone out of his way to answer a written letter from my step dad to the partner choir in Stuttgart and take time to organise accommodation for me in his daughter's apartment ,then I wouldn't have spent a wonderful year as a surrogate daughter -always included in their family life.
Just recently my mum died of Alzheimers and there were as you can imagine many carers.One wonderful woman stands out in her care home who was Polish. She was organised and efficient but so patient and kind with both my mum and her very upset daughter(me!)
I work with a group of wonderful teachers. Some of whom are Spanish, French or German.They always help me and are generous with their time .Over the last couple of years they have helped to create resources and materials that we use with over 6,500 children a week in local schools.Much of what they do is more than can be expected of them and I see their support for our work as human kindnesss.
I want to say sorry to these people today and I question just what has happened today?