Thursday, April 24, 2014

Life as we know it
So my faking-it-until-I-make-it method of teaching English turns out to be a better idea than that proposed by most of my grammarian colleagues because at least I get people to SPEAK English. This city is crawling with people who will make you do grammar exercises from a text book, but very few people will help you to communicate anything.

If you look at Pinterest you will find a ton of women my age who only wish someone would pay them to pin all day, or to be cupcake tasters, hand models, or to take over where Oprah left off. In some small way, I have to feel that by chatting away happily and getting paid for it, I am living the dream. Today I would be happy not to leave my home because I have a cyst the size of Las Vegas on the side of my nose. I am so frustrated that I want eat a sugary pizza because despite the many benefits of being sugar and gluten free, clear skin is not one of the happy outcomes in my case.

If I forget, I hope you will remind me that no does not mean no in Lucca. In response to virtually any question that you ask, you will receive a negative answer the first time you ask it. I asked my very sweet soccer coach student if he could find a volunteer job for Bambi, my big doe eyed student who wants to become a soccer coach. He said no. I almost felt disheartened, but then I remembered the rule: you have to ask the same thing at least twice if you want a different answer. So then I asked again, and guess what, he said yes. Same question, different number.

It was nice to have some good news for Bambi during our last lesson together. Despite the fact that we spoke more Italian than English together in the span of  the two hours we spent together, I was able to make his studying for the University entrance exam something other than a total waste of time and possibly got him a fun little job that he can add to his resume or help him to find paid work. I also think I managed to convey to him how similar the two languages can be so that he will be more brave about trying to speak in the future. Nevertheless, I have to admit what I did was a bit unorthodox.

Another really funny thing happened during my last lesson with Bambi. After making F slave away with me over the logic, biology, chemistry, and mathmatic questions on the practice university entrance exam that I had gotten for Bambi, I realized that there was an important message in capital letters on the last page of the exam. The message said that all the correct multiple choice answers to the exam were actually A. Bambi and I had also been racking our brains to solve some of the thornier questions. It was at that moment that I tried to teach Bambi a quote from The Real Housewives of New York, "I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I'm pretty." It took a few times of my translating it loudly and slowly and, probably, incorrectly for him to crack a smile. On the other hand, he may have been smiling because I seemed to be calling myself pretty.

 Speaking of pretty and happy people, get a load of this video which pretty much sums up both how nerdy, behind the times, and totally delightful life can be in Lucca.

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