Corresponding with a 4-year-old

Dear Aunt Steph,

Hello from Niles Beach! It looks rainy. I think it looks a little nice. I wanted to buy this card for you. I named the swans “Heidi” and “Aunt Steph” because they were hugging. And you guys are friends. I don’t see any swans on Niles Beach today. I need the binoculars. I see the sky. Now I see a boat that was far away. I think I see a castle. Actually, I think I see mountains. I see Boston! I do see Boston! One of those buildings is where my Dad is working.

How are things going at work for you, Aunt Steph? How tall is the building you work at? What are your students’ names? What are the students learning? Are you enjoying getting to know your students? Do they have snack time?

Today I went to Gymboree with Simon and Mommy. I learned how to hang on the monkey bars. I want you to come back soon so we can go together. If you’re going to see me do it, you might have to do it next year. I want to see you soon. I’m listening to music. I’m thinking of you. I am eating pretzels. I love you and I miss you! I hope you’re doing good!

Lots of love,
Madelyne

Dear Madelyne,

Thank you for your letter. I love getting your letters! You are a very good writer, especially for your age. Your drawing of the fireworks in the garden was also very nice. It’s hanging on my fridge.

I still cannot find the post office so I am writing you back here. I have an Easter present for you. Hopefully, I will find a post office before it becomes a Christmas present. I hope you like it. I got it for you when I was in Japan. You’d think it wouldn’t take a month to find a post office, but I have a saying I like to use over here that goes: “one thing a day”. Meaning, if I found out how to get my pants ironed today, you can bet your bottom dollar that’s all the excitement I can handle for another week or so.

Things are going fine at work, thank you for asking. The building has ten floors, which is much taller than any building in Gloucester, but is not as tall as Daddy’s building. Daddy’s building is very tall, one of the tallest in Boston. Ask Daddy how many floors are in his building. It’s a lot more than ten. I have students named Layla, James, Jenny and lots of Jessica’s. I had a student last week named Dragon, and I have one student named Madonna. She never does her homework. But those are their “English” names. They have Korean names but I have no idea what those are.

My students are learning how to memorize things in English. Some of my students are learning that they can charm me with chocolates and A-plusses, others are learning that I have little patience for text messaging in class and not doing one’s homework. My younger students are reading a book called Simon Simple, about a boy on a train. There is not a lot to that story, except all my students call Simon “Semen” when they read aloud. Ask Mommy why that’s funny.

My older students read better books which are actually teaching me a lot of things, too, like about the Salem Witch Trials, which apparently no matter how many times you go to the Witch Museum on field trips while growing up or perform “The Crucible” in middle school, you will not retain any of that information. My oldest class read a book called “Gross Body Facts” that you would really enjoy a lot. It’s about gross things like burping, tooting and picking scabs.

Yes, for the most part, I am enjoying getting to know my students. Some of them are so cute it hurts. Some are such a pain in the ass it hurts. So it’s a toss up. Do you remember the time I asked if you wanted to go sit on your chair and you said, “No I will not and YOU will go sit on YOUR chair” and I asked if you wanted to go play in traffic? Sometimes it’s kind of like that except they are teenagers which is way worse. But they can roll their eyes and hate me all they want because at the end of the day they will still have bad acne and I will not.

Yes, they do have snack time. We have two five minute breaks during their 3-hour class. They eat some snacks similar to what kids you know eat in the US, but some are very different. I haven’t seen pretzels at all. They like some pretty disgusting things like dried squid. They do eat goldfish crackers just like you, except their goldfish have spicy chile on them. Also, most of their chips are meat flavor. “Steak” flavored cheetos are very popular here and believe me, they are not the cheetos Aunt Steph enjoys. Most of my students smell awful after breaks.

I prefer the students that eat cookies during breaks, especially the ones that share. They smell fine.

I can’t wait to see you on the monkey bars. You’re right; I will probably have to wait until next year. Maybe you could have Mommy take your picture so I can see!

I love you very much, Madelyne. Kiss your brother for me and please don’t grow up too fast while I’m gone!

Aunt Steph

2 Responses to “Corresponding with a 4-year-old”

  1. emdot says:

    oh man. that was good. heartfelt good. make me smile good. sigh. that’s love.

  2. calvo says:

    ‘…all my students call Simon “Semen” when they read aloud. Ask Mommy why that’s funny.’

    I bet Mommy will be ecstatic that you’ve set her up with such a question!

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