Subtractive Bilingualism is - to totally paraphrase - the process of loosing a person's first language and learning a second language that becomes the primary language. This is what happens to a child who adopted internationally and must learn a completely new language.
So, Axel has been in my care almost 8 weeks, and hearing nothing but English since he came home 6 weeks ago. We really don't know how much he was hearing of Serbian, but we know he wasn't saying much in the way of Serbian words.
Today we met with our new friends J. and M. who moved here from Serbian 9 years ago. They were very anxious to meet Axel, and we were anxious to see how he would react upon hearing Serbian.
When we arrived, they said hello to him in Serbian, and greeted him with his birth name, Djordje.
He gave NO indication this was familiar to him. NONE.
I was both saddened and fascinated by this. I would think that if he'd been hearing Serbian, he would have given a reaction of familiarity, but he didn't. I think M. was a little disappointed because he was really anxious to to interact with Axel in his native language.
J. had made palachinca. These were my FAVORITE treat while in Serbia! They're like a crepe, and are filled with whatever you want to put in them. J. put chocolate in them. Ohhhhhh delicious! My favorite way to eat them while I was in country was with Nutella on them. When I came home I told Dean I wanted a crepe pan so I could make these, but today J. assured me I can make them without such a thing! (clearly J. doesn't understand my level of culinary ineptitude!)
Also, when I was in Serbia I had bought some stuff called Pavlica. It was used the same way we use butter here. I could never figure out exactly what it was, but it seemed like a blend of sour cream and cream cheese. It was just awesome! I've tried to find places here where I could buy it, but without luck. When I asked J. about it, she reached into her fridge and pulled out Daisy brand sour cream. "This is the closest thing you'll find to it here in the US." I was right that it's sour cream, but our sour cream is more sour than theirs. J. said Daisy brand is VERY close to what they have in Serbia. Guess what I'm gonna go buy tomorrow?
We got to talk about a lot of things. Dean and M. had some guy time in front of the game in the basement, and J. and I talked about more serious things regarding kids in Eastern Europe. She had never seen a child with Down syndrome in their home country. They were thrilled to see Axel thriving and living life!
So that was our fun day with new friends! I can't wait to get together with them again. I have a lot to learn from them, and they such incredibly nice people. Meeting them made me really miss being in Europe.