Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Things we mispronounce

Not to brag or anything, but my streak on Duolingo is so incredibly large that...I honestly have never quite noticed how streak freezes work. But my children who have made goals to keep their streak on Duolingo this year are acutely aware that if you use a streak freeze your streak does not break but it also doesn't count toward your number of days practiced. 

It just so happens that Alexander has an 85 day streak today...which means that Rachel has a streak of 84.

88 days have elapsed so far this year. But we didn't make our goals for this year until January 2 (for FHE) so Alexander and Rachel have only been working on their streaks for 87 days. Alexander has used two streak freezes this year. Rachel has used three and she is very bitter about it.

She also can't say it. 

Every time she tries to say "streak freeze" it comes out as "freak streeze."

And every time it's hilarious.


This evening at dinner Benjamin said something (I can't remember what) and ended by saying something like "...and that would make it rather media core."

And we all just looked at him because we weren't sure what "media core" was. 

Finally Rachel said, "Mediocre?"

And that was the word he was after.


We've been working on passports, apparently an absurd process in some places (such as here) where the post office doesn't seem to ever have appointments available. Most of the post offices here have appointments for April 26, if that works for you. If you want an appointment in El Cajon, California, you'd April 19 is your day. New York, New York, is also a relatively difficult place to secure an appointment.

But if you want a passport in Provo, Utah, or Wichita, Kansas, you can choose pretty much any day of the month???

I can't decide whether it's that the appointments are all full because so many people live here/there...or whether the post offices simply...don't process applications all that often. 

Seems weird to me because I feel like I've always just been like, "Today sounds like a great day to get a passport!" and then...I got get a passport. 

I, personally, have applied for a new passport 3 time in my life, I think (once to get my Canadian passport, once to get my American passport, and then again...why? Because I was getting an adult one? Because I was changing my name?). And then I've gone through the process with Rachel and Miriam twice already (this is their third go-round), and one time with the other three kids who aren't Phoebe (this will be Phoebe's first go-round). With kids you always have to apply in person and I don't remember it ever being such a hassle to find an appointment.

We tried the library, but they were like, "There's an hours-long wait. You can leave to get lunch...but if your name being called're out of luck." And we were like, "But how can we just...hang out at the library for an unknown number of hours with a baby??"

And, further, how do both parents have time to take off the entire day to wait to get passports processed? And we left Rachel with the other kids thinking we'd be fairly quick.'s literally a ten-minute process??

So...anyway, we hadn't taken pictures of the children for whom we're seeking updated passports. We figured the opportunity cost of taking our own wasn't worth it, given that we just wanted to get this done, already. But then...the opportunity cost of waiting in the library for an unknown number of hours didn't seem great, either.

We went home, took our own pictures, and found out that Georgia State University has a passport agency. They offer appointments in 15-minute intervals pretty much every day of the week (except Wednesdays) and also take walk-ins (except Wednesdays). So we made an appointment with them—and saved $45 in picture money. 

And since we had all of our equipment out, we went ahead and took passport pictures for the rest of the kids, too. We'll be applying for Rachel's first 10-year passport after she turns 16 this summer. And then we'll get the boys' updated sometime soon. I am trying to get all my ducks in a row to fly up to Canada for my nephew's wedding this summer (with Miriam, Zoë and Phoebe), which is why we're focusing on their passports now.

I used to think it was smart to do everyone's passports all at once so that I would never forget anyone's expiration date and let it lapse's so much money to do everyone all at once and it's not like the process is easier for children if you let their passport lapse or not because you have to jump through all the hoops every time you get a 5-year passport, anyway (when you renew a 10-year passport, you don't have to go to a passport agency in person, for example, but for a 5-year children's passport you always do).  

Anyway, we were talking about passports at dinner, and where people might want to go on missions, and Benjamin mentioned that he wouldn't want to go foreign but maybe he'd like to go to England. Someone pointed out that England is foreign. 

"But at least they speak the same language!" he said.

Not that we're opposed to learning other languages (see Duolingo, above).

"Oh, the Cummings' daughter, Nic, just got her mission call," I said.

"What?" said Andrew, letting his spoon clatter into his bowl (tomato soup and grilled cheese tonight). "She should"

"I know, right?!"

The Cummings were in our branch in Cairo. Nic...was eight.

"She was called to...Micronesia...I think...yeah. English speaking. So, just another foreign place to go where they still speak the same language."

"But they speak, like, New Zealand English," Andrew pointed out. 

"It's Micronesia?!" Miriam wailed. "I thought it was Mike-RON-sia!"

"It's Micronesia."

"You're sure it's not Mike-RON-sia?"

"Definitely Micronesia."


  1. I missed this one! You must have done two at once! Glad I found it. (Thanks to Susanne's comment.)