The last time Dahlia and I were in USA, my good friend Kaitlin asked if we wanted to have a girls day out. Being in Saudi and away from my closest friends and family, I would never reject an offer for a girls day out. When I asked what she had in mind, she told me there’s a park she wanted to take us to. We could go swimming in the lake, and afterwards we would go to the docks so Dahlia could see fish. How could I ever say no? A day full of the lake, sunshine, and a good friend honestly sounds like it could be a perfect day.
And it mostly was. We had some car seat issues, and got trapped in a massive storm, but otherwise it was a perfect time. Dahlia loves Kaitlin, and likewise, Kaitlin loves Dahlia, so it was great. After we played in the lake we headed to see the fish. Kaitlin told me beforehand that there was a lot of fish, but that wasn’t enough to prepare me for how many fish there really were.
Guys, there were literally HUNDREDS of fish, one right on top of the other. It was almost unnerving. Kaitlin kept giving Dahlia fish food so that they would all swarm to us. Dahlia was loving every moment. She kept squealing “Fish! Fish! FIIIIIIISH!” Suddenly, she stopped saying fish, and started saying “semeca” which is the Arabic word for fish. I stood there for a minute, too stunned and proud to say anything. Dahlia has always been much better at English than Arabic despite my efforts. I feel a bit bad that I can’t help her improve her Arabic skills, so I try to compensate for it by only letting her watch Arabic TV, asking my bilingual friends to only speak Arabic with her, and sending her to her family as often as I can so they can help her with her Arabic. Seeing the moment when something in her brain just clicked and she understood how this word worked in both languages just sent me over the moon. “She just said it in English in Arabic!” I screamed. I am so sure Kaitlin thought I was crazy at that point, but I didn’t care. Nothing could have made me contain my excitement. We went out for ice cream afterwards, because what else should you do when your kid has her first bilingual moment?