I’m always bragging about it. People ask me where my kids go to school, and even though only Maitane gets to attend the Ikastola anymore (Andoni is too old now), I make sure whoever asked gets an earful about how awesome it is. And yet, I hadn’t thought about dedicating a couple of minutes and a little space on my blog to it until I read about Hesian and their song to the best preschool in Boise.
What? Are you saying I’m bias? Of course I’m bias! If you want a more objective take on it and some history, get back to the article. But for Pete’s sake (I know, it does sound weird when I don’t cuss), I’m from Bilbao and I got to send my kids to the Ikastola, 8000 kilometers away. Pretty amazing, if you ask me. However, they are totally oblivious to their good luck. As an example, last summer the kids and I spent 6 weeks in Ortuella with my family, and I was able to send Andoni to the Udaleku, which is all in Basque, knowing he would not have any problems understanding the teachers or the other kids. Fine, his Basque might not be perfect. Neither is mine. But it’s way better now. You see, when I started my kids on the Ikastola I also started myself. Little by little the three of us got better at it. And now we all speak it like the Basque-Americans we are (“Noiz jango dugu ‘snacka’?”).
Being part of the Diaspora is not easy. Regardless of how strong the Basque community is here, Boise is still in a foreign country (to me). The Ikastola makes it possible for our kids to grow up a bit like in the Basque Country. It is not just about teaching Basque; it is a place to make friends for life (Mara, Irune); it is a place to meet some of the most wonderful people ever (Rosa Mari Arrubarrena, I mean, she is just so cool…); and it brings Euskadi to Boise in the form of their teachers (Bakarne, Andoni, Itxaso, Irune, Ohiana, Beñat…). Along with Pintto Pintto and Ikusi Mendizaleak, my kids learned that their mom is really not weird, she’s just Basque. And that, honestly, is invaluable.
- Urte Berri On
- ETA’s Truce