Friday, June 20, 2014

The Relay Language Olympics
On Saturday night we went to my student and friend Anna's house for a dinner in honor of the homecoming of her daughter Chiara who had spent a year attending a high school in Wyoming and living with a host family and in honor of her boyfriend Chris who came to Italy for the first time to visit her. Chris doesn't speak Italian. My student Sylvia who is also Anna's niece and her brother Giorgio were invited, as well. Giorgio has also taken lessons from Fraser some time ago. They both speak English so I didn't worry too much about preparing for a difficult table discussion because I figured we would just focus on Chris and making sure he had a nice time with some English speaking folks.
Anna and Chiara
When we walked in I was surprised to see a girl the same age as Chiara. Her name was Giulia. She was glowering at me in that way that 17 year old girls do when they feel a little uncomfortable. Instead of greeting her immediately the way I did with Chris, my inner scared high school girl came out and I closed my eyes and took a step backwards. No, I mean it. I literally closed my eyes and waited for one of us to disappear. When I opened my eyes she was -- wait for it -- still there. Yup, so that happened.

This is the pie that F made in Chris's honor.

It turned out that the only person brave enought to speak English was Anna. And poor Chris had no idea what anyone was talking about for most of the night. I tried to translate here and there and I felt like a traitor everytime I succumbed to speaking Italian with all the English speaking Italian people, but what choice did I have? In my famous exhaustion-fueled, people-pleasing mode, I tried to have conversations with everyone. one at a time in the language of their choice. By the time I got home I felt like I had aged at least five years. I hope I got at least the Bronze medal.

P.S. The pie was DElicious.

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