While chillin' in Fort Lauderdale during their layover, a man decided to chat it up with Ella. (First mistake?) He asked her, "Are you going to Guatemala?"
Ella looked at him. "No, no," she said. "I'm going to wat-te-mah-lah." I imagine at this moment he probably stared at her dumbfounded. Naturally, she continued. "wat-te-mah-lah is Spanish. goo-ah-tay-mall-ah English."
When Billy recounted this moment to me I was giggling hysterically and horrified in the same moment. "What did the man say?"
Thankfully, this U.S. gentleman was gracious and laughingly conceded, "Yes, that's true." He then asked Billy if she was bilingual and offered some super encouraging words about that endeavor.
Ella has also zeroed in on my monolingualism recently. If she hears me speaking any Spanish, she asks me to stop because you don't speak Spanish. But then she keeps asking me, "Do you speak Spanish?" so the verdict's still out.
Putting her to bed, I called her Gabriella. She responded, "Mom, don't call me Gabriella in English. Only in Spanish." Pause. "Say it in Spanish, Mom." So I garbled the r's and the ll's because I can't pronounce them correctly in Spanish. But she nodded approvingly.
Bless her little bilingual heart! Trying to figure all this stuff out with a papa who tries to speak solely Spanish to her, but also speaks a lot of English. And a mom who says she only speaks English, but occasionally busts out the Spanish, and is often the gringa with the accent. Good times!