I keep my relationships with my learners very appropriate. They spend their time with me and it is very personal but it is an English lesson and not a dating line. I also have a perfectly good husband of my own in real life.
I did have one Italian learner who has the most beautiful voice, the most impeccable manners and the loveliest accent. I rarely see their faces and in this case my mind ran wild.
I imagine him to be about six foot tall. He wears tailored Armani suits and Italian leather shoes. He often wears blue shirts because he knows it’s my favorite color. He is always thoughtful and romantic and never emits gaseous odors. When I call him, he loosens his tie and unbuttons his collar. He props his foot upon his desk and leans back in his chair, smiles and says, “Ciao Bella”. I feel butterflies when I hear his voice and fan myself with my hand.
Occasionally during a lesson his phone will ring and he will say in his lovely accented English,
“Ingrid, I am so sorry, excuse me for a moment. I must take this call”
“No please, take your time” I reply knowing that I will hear his melodic Italian.
He gently sets the phone down and I hear, “sì, sì, io sarò lì alle 8:00, si prega di assicurarsi che sia caldo e sai come mi piace il prezzemolo mescolato in bene. Sei riuscito a prendere il mio pane preferito dal forno? sì, sì ... bene. Oh, e ho qualche lavanderia che mi piacerebbe uscire con te. Ricordate per favore l'ultima volta che vi era di amido troppo e chaffed mio collo. Ahhh e la prego di far uscire la vita dei miei pantaloni neri, sono un po 'stretto per me. Penso che il materiale ridotto ahhh e ho dimenticato di dirti che il mio posto in cravatta, non è riuscito a rimuovere l'ultima volta. ha bisogno di più lavoro. sì, sì, che sarà buono. Ci vediamo allora, Ciao, mamma.”
I of course understand nothing that I’ve heard but it doesn’t matter because I only hear beautiful music. Wait, did he just say something about his mother?
Later I make my confession to my Italian friend Gia. Gia is older than I and much less idealistic. She lives in Rome, has never married and works as a goverment employee. She insists on telling me all of the details about her recent bladder surgery and refuses to use proper medical terms, although I offer them, she chooses instead to use words, like “pee pee”. She is a serious smoker and her voice is gruff. It is not very complementary but I can only describe her as a bit crusty.
“Gia, I have the most beautiful Italian male learner, I think I have a crush on him”
“Crush? What is this? What does this mean Ingrid, Crush?”
“Oh sorry, It’s a silly way to say that I am a little in love, you know like a school girl?”
“Ingrid, you have seen this man?”
“Oh, of course not. But I know he is, he used to play Rugby and he is so refined, so polite. I just know that he is beautiful. And you know Gia this is not real, I’m not running off to Italy or anything, I’m just fantasizing, having fun”
“Ingrid, don’t you know Italian men are not so beautiful he is short and bald. His spills food on his tie and he has a big belly. He goes to his mother’s house every night for dinner and every night before he goes to bed he leaves his dirty underpants on the floor.”
“Gia, how is this possible, Ive seen the Italian futball team they are all tall, athletic and beautiful”
“Ingrid, these are the only handsome men in Italy, there are only 12 and even they still ask their Mama’s to do their laundry”.
I am destroyed.