Then there was Glory
A weird, yet typical day:
This morning, I finished up a bunch of my lessons with the tech reps (technical representatives) for the Brooks running company. I did several hour-long telephone English lessons, and then I remembered that I had promised to offer an Italian class to the Nigerians. Paul can't come because the restaurant changed his day off to Sundays. He was the one who wanted the class the most apart from DeWill who had not shown up for the last three weeks. A half hour before we were supposed to meet, Joshua called to tell me that I should call his friend who wanted a lesson. He informed me he wasn't coming because he was too tired. I called the number and a girl told me that she would meet me by my house at three. She kept me waiting outside my house for half an hour, during which time I got some mosquito bites and ran into the twins who took English class with me last year. Alessia and Federica looked so grown up that I didn't recognize them at first, and they had a friend with them. I didn't want to say boring teacher things in front of their friend. Middle school is hard enough without adults grilling with you. I realized that I had both nothing exciting to say, and that I had not spoken Italian with anyone for five long days. Five days is enough to make you turn into a boring, stuttering idiot. Honestly, sometimes I can become an utter loser after just a long weekend of catching up on my shows without spending any time on Italian Fiction/soap operas. The words were slow in coming out of my mouth and felt completely unnatural. This made me panic about teaching Italian in a bar full of Italians, but sometimes ego is not your friend.
My student finally showed up, carrying an enormous teddy bear, and saying that she was late because she had been at the seaside. Her name is Glory and she turned out to be only around T's age, just 17 years old. She said she had been in Italy for three weeks and that her parents are in Edo State, Nigeria with her seven sibilings. Apparently, she has not even gotten a stay permit yet, and she is sleeping in the giant Red Cross tents, which she says are very cold at night. I gave her a brief, yet jumbled Italian lesson and bought her a cappuccino. I had watched an hour of beginning Italian lessons on youtube, but found nothing that was even half way decent and could not decide on an approach. At the end of the lesson, we wrote her a note to the Red Cross, asking for assistance to sign up for the free Italian class for immigrants at the local middle school. She called me back to say that she, as an unaccompanied minor who has not been transferred yet, is ineligible. One can wonder all day and night about why they don't teach Italian to people who have nothing to do all day in the tents but study Italian to improve their chances at integrating in any kind of meaningful way. Glory said that they don't teach Italian because they can't speak English. Of course it is really not essential to speak English, if you are teaching Italian. You really just need to be good at charades and comunicating through gestures. Anyway, we decided that I would buy her a book and that she can come back to me next week with some friends. I told her I was sure her parents would be proud of her for being so industrious and getting started studying so quickly without anybody helping her or encouraging her.
Then our sweet friend Bernadette called to offer a furniture donation that we will have to drive down to Montecatini on Friday. We called the hot water heater repair guy who is not ours or the one for Montecatini, but another guy for Paul's house because it depends on the brand of heater you have. After the whole month of negotiating, it turns out that he has no other way of getting heat this winter, if not for us. I also talked to Job and Tina, who has a cold, and they explained to me about the appointments they are trying to do this week to get baby Peace her stay permit. Meanwhile, at least twenty chef or foodie related people have answered my friend request on facebook and have seen my wanted ad for a dishwasher position. My reputation as a crazy American is growing rapidly through social media and in the streets.
Speaking of T, I think I will have to book appointments far in advance if I even want to get to see her this year because she is on a quest to increase her extracurricular activities. The latest is that she is joining the school youth parlaiment, which includes some overnight trips, as well as tutoring, working on the school paper, and volunteering with Caritas and studying for her SATs.