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When I was a kid in the 1970s, we never took a foreign language in school. I guess we Americans figured we’d rule the world with our Walkmans and romantic “Love Boat” adventures.

But by about the 6th grade, someone realized Japan was kicking our Pacific Princess cruise ship ass and that we better bring more to the table than Captain Stubing.

It was time to learn a foreign language. And of course, I picked Latin. In fact, I went on to take six years of Latin.  This was perfect because after high school, I planned to get into my time machine, go back to AD 79 and tell the good people of Pompeii in my fluent Latin that they were about to get flattened by the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvious.

But in case no one had yet invented the time machine, I was hoping a base in Latin would at least bring me some stellar SAT scores.

That didn’t really pan out either.

Thankfully, I still went on to college where I was required to take three semesters of a foreign language.  I figured this was an excellent opportunity to finally learn a language that people actually spoke. You know, people that didn’t die in AD 79.

So I picked Spanish.

Then I spent the first semester of my junior year in Spain. This did not go particularly well. First of all, I still didn’t really know how to speak Spanish. I kept saying things like, “Caecilius est in tablino” which is Latin means, “Caecilius is in the study” but that will get you nowhere in Madrid.

And I also lived with this Spanish woman Maria who spoke no English but would yell at me for eating American cereal because this for some reason was a complete insult to her entire culture. She would scream at me and I shouted back, “Caecilius est in tablino.” Boy, did that shut her up.

I came back from Madrid and sadly realized that I was never going to be fluent in any language despite my best efforts.  I had gotten too late a start.

But my children still have a chance. My first grader Dylan began Spanish this year and every week she can recite more and more words. It’s really exciting to watch.

I told her if she teaches me a little bit of Espanol, I’ll introduce her to this awesome new show called “The Love Boat.”

mama bird notes:

This post was sponsored by the Intel AppUp Wired to Learn contest.

I wanted to write about something my schooling lacked. But in many schools today, it’s technology that is missing or out-of-date.  My first grader Dylan adores every moment she spends at the computer at school, having fun while she learns (a seriously genius combo).

The Intel AppUp℠ center, your source for PC apps, wants to help three deserving schools with their technology by donating tech packages worth $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000 in the Wired to Learn contest. The Intel AppUp center is also giving away a Netbook each week.

So go over there and enter your school today or vote for a school or enter to win a Netbook! Just don’t mention that “Caecilius is in the study” because they will seriously think you are crazy.

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kelcey kintner