From the Forum – Language classes and Kittens at Parkwood and Holmead


Language classes:

“Any recommendations for affordable language classes? I’m primarily looking to learn Spanish, but I could also use a brush-up on ASL. Pretty much anywhere in the DC area, as long as it’s Metro-accessible, but would be great if it were downtown, Columbia Heights, or somewhere on the Red Line.”

Kittens at Parkwood and Holmead:

“Two very small, very friendly kittens seem to be living in a yard at Parkwood and Holmead. Anyone know if they are missing/have owner? Trying to figure out if they should be scooped up and given a home, or returned to their home.”

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33 Comment

  • epric002

    no mama cat around? please trap them/find a program who will so they can be a) scanned for a microchip (though i doubt they belong to anyone) b) spayed/neutered c) adopted or released. the washington humane society has more info on their program here

  • I’d try Global Language Network first; registration for their Fall semester should be starting soon. You might not be able to get in, and I’ve heard it can be hit-or-miss with the instructors, but I took three levels of Italian with an excellent instructor and it barely cost anything. Been trying to get into French ever since, but the more popular languages are harder to get!

  • Sounds like the kittens need a home – definitely need a home. Wish I could adopt but not in a position to right now.

  • Re: Kittens: The kittens are very friendly — and are always in the same yard. Have you spoken with the residents of the building associated with the yard? Is it possible that they are owned and fed by the residents of the yard — as “outdoor cats”? It would be prudent to clarify this before “scooping (them) up”.

    • Several people have made comments such as “No one lets kitties that small outside”. In the event, however, that you’re wrong, and decide to “scoop” up the cats from someone’s yard, and that someone responds to the theft — perhaps even violently, please don’t be surprised. Instead of making assumptions, and acting according to your assumptions, you might want to try a more prudent, more neighborly, and possibly safer approach.

    • Several people have made comments such as “No one lets kitties that small outside”. In the event, however, that you’re wrong, and decide to “scoop” up the cats from someone’s yard, and that someone responds to the theft — perhaps even violently, please don’t be surprised. Instead of making assumptions, and acting according to your assumptions, you might want to try a more prudent, more neighborly, and possibly safer approach.

  • The kittens are amazingly cute! I want them but am pretty sure that my 2 don’t. That said, I sure hope that someone adopts them.

  • No one lets kitties that small outside. And if they do, they shouldn’t have kitties. (I’m not a militant all-cats-belong-indoors type, but those are tiny babies.)
    If you can’t trap them and turn them over to the human society right away, keep feeding them and playing with them. Their chances at adoption are much higher if they trust humans. Everyone wants a kitty who comes up to the front of the cage, and who relaxes when picked up instead of freaking out.

    • And no one has packages delivered to their front porch. And no one leaves a bike in the yard. Or a cellphone or laptop on a cafe table while they use the restroom. All of your suggestions are wonderful if the kitties do, indeed need a home. But it would be prudent to check first — which no one seems to have done.

  • I’ve heard good things about USDA’s language classes. They’re geared at professionals, and take place in the evenings. Last time I checked, they were around $350 per session, I think.

    • I think the quality of the language classes at “The Graduate School USA” (formerly “USDA Graduate School”) really varies by instructor (and none of them were as good as language classes I’d taken at actual universities). My Japanese instructor was pretty good, but my Spanish instructors were so-so and the Portuguese instructor was a downright slacker.

  • If those kittens don’t have a home, I would really consider adopting them. They are so cute!

  • epric002

    since there seem to be people interested in adopting kittens, WHS is having a $5 cat/kitten adoption event on saturday:

    This Saturday WHS is having a $5 feline frenzy! With nearly 200 cats and kittens waiting for their forever families, all felines are available for adoption for just $5 Saturday, August 16, only.

    Browse our full cat-alogue online at then visit us from noon to 7 pm at 1201 New York Avenue, NE, and 7319 Georgia Avenue, NW. If your purr-fect match is staying with a foster family, just send them an email to set up a meet and greet, using the email provided in the online profile.

    All pets adopted from WHS go home spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. As always, our standard adoption process and consultation applies. Be sure to bring a cat carrier with you for safe transport home (or purchase a temporary carrier for $5 when you adopt). For more information, visit

  • Little kittens wandering unattended in a yard do not have a home. A home is where one is protected.

    • Isn’t it normal for the mother to go out looking for food though? Or sometimes she’ll move the kittens one by one to a new spot. So it’s hard to tell if there’s a mother around taking care of them or not.

      • But if they were born and are living outside, that makes them feral. They need to be, at a minimum, TNR’d. No matter what their ownership status, they must be fixed.

        • If they were born to a feral/stray mama, they are likely to become feral unless they’re socialized with humans now, while they’re still young. They should definitely be fixed, but it would be better for them to be adopted or fostered by humans so they’ll be tame and won’t be doomed to a life on the streets.

  • Was hoping for more comments about language classes and fewer about kittens.

  • DC Public Libraries does free ASL classes! The intro one is very basic (fingerspelling and about 200 vocab words; very little grammar) and I found the intermediate one was a big jump (basically a conversation group) but this was few years ago.

    For Spanish, Carlos Rosario School in Columbia Heights has Saturday morning classes, $275 for 16 weeks. I took them in 2012 and enjoyed the teacher and other students a lot! The advanced wasn’t very advanced (I placed into it after taking Spanish in high school and 2 years of college, then having a job where a fair amount of Spanish was spoken around me) but it was a nice refresher. I think there are also some good apps if you just want to drill grammar.

    • Also, if you live in the 20002 or 20003 zip codes you can enter the lottery for free ASL classes through Gallaudet. Don’t hold your breath on those, though. I signed up a year and a half ago and haven’t gotten in yet!

    • I went to the ASL class at MLK a few times, took an on-line class through Gallaudet then a class at the USDA Grad School (yes, I know the name has changed). The Gallaudet class was the most valuable – we made video tapes with responses to the homework and then had video calls with the teacher to review the homework.

  • Alley Cat Allies ( for the kittens or the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) ( can help or at least point you in the right directipon. Please please please do not leave them there and consider calling an organization that can help!

  • It is interesting the sentiment here is that the kittens are somehow endangered simply because they live outside. Feral cats in DC have very few enemies and an abundance of food. Just because you think your cat is better off living inside your studio apartment doesn’t actually make it true. I lived down the block from an abandoned house a few years back that had a whole slew of stray cats living there. They all seemed perfectly happy and stuck to their territory for the most part. Kittens and all. No one bothered them and they bothered no one.

    I do agree they need to be trapped, spayed/neutered, and released if possible, but I’m guessing they are being taken care of by mama cat somewhere around there.

    • I don’t even know where to begin with this comment….

      Feral cats have few enemies? Let’s try: dogs, other cats, RATS, humans, raccoons, opossum’s, and foxes (yes, we have them in the city). Not to mention- worms, rabies, and other diseases. You would be amazed at the number of maladies that can afflict homeless unvaccinated cats- some of which are very unpleasant and involve ruptured eyeballs, skin infections, and other such things.

      The cats should be trapped, vaccinated and assessed for placements in homes.

      • +1. Feral cats have short lifespans and hard lives. The ones that are truly feral (i.e., not tame enough to be pets) should be TNR’d and allowed to live out their lives on the streets, but it’s worthwhile to rescue the tame ones — especially kittens, while they’re still young enough to be socialized with humans.

  • I’ve taken a couple of Spanish classes through Fluent City-cheaper than some of the other options in town, and I liked the way the classes were structured.

  • Like you, I have been looking to take a Spanish class. I got burned by Spanish Now. They did not return my emails or phone calls after I realized I could not make most of the classes and I lost about $240 – they require you to attend the first class in order to get a refund (?!). I had never heard of such a policy. Recently, I started a class w/ Fluent City. So far so disappointed. The class meets in a room in a church – no desks or writing table. A flip easel for a chalkboard. Teacher seems nice enough but there’s a lot more to a class than that. They also list on groupon so if you are interested try to find it there. You’ll likely save $100. The problem with places such as Spanish Now and Fluent City is that they don’t have a fixed “school” and all communication is by email or phone. I don’t know about Global Language Exchange. Be sure to get a good understanding of the cancellation policy before forking over any money. Good luck.

  • For language classes I would check out some of the cultural meetup groups. Not Spanish, but I took an Italian class through the DC Italian language meetup group Passatiempo and it was great. They had 3 different classes levels 1-3 and you could pay for all 12 classes at once for $180 or if you don’t think you will be able to make all the classes you can pay $20 each time you drop in. Here is the link I am sure if you did a little research you could find similar meetups for other languages.

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