“Mucho más rápido, Daddy!”

I’m trying to get Little Dude ready for his nap, and he’s running around the apartment shouting in Spanglish.

“Mucho más bed!”

“Mucho más blanket!”

“Mucho más Bunny!”

I scoop him up and try to wrangle him into a pair of sweatpants. He giggles hysterically.

“Mucho más Daddy!!!”

Gracias a Dora the Explorer – as well as Janice, our awesome Filipino part-time nanny – the little guy is actually picking up a fair amount of Español here in China. Today, his favorite phrase is “mucho más rápido.” Last week, it was, “muy bien, Daddy. Muy bien!”

Even more fun is the counting. As he continues to learn his numbers, he seems to prefer Spanish to English. When he’s in the groove, he can make it all the way to veinte, and he knows his colors in both languages as well. He’s constantly asking me to teach him random words, and I’m excited for his bilingual education to continue when we get back to San Diego.

For my part, I sometimes beat myself up for not putting more effort into learning Mandarin. I’ve become the guy you want around when you’re ordering Dim Sum or negotiating for knockoff electronics. But beyond that, my Chinese skills remain pretty limited.

On the other hand, living in an expat bubble has allowed me to brush up on the languages that I have dedicated my energy to over the years. I can’t help but introduce myself to everybody who I hear speaking Italian, and I haven’t used French this much since the year I worked harvest at Trévallon. Thanks to Little Dude’s buddy Gustavo and family – not to mention the delicious churrascaria that we frequent – I’ve even upped my comfort level with Portuguese.

When we came to China, we wanted to expand our horizons and learn about the world. But we never said that it was all going to happen in Chinese.

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