This GOLDEN OLDIE incident took place in Ireland in my home. I worked for ten years with foreign students who came to Ireland to learn and to improve their practical knowledge of the English language which they needed so that they would be able to study further in their chosen field in the university in their countries. I met the most amazing people through it with many of whom I am still in touch.
One time I had these three handsome hunks from Barcelona and one of them, Aleix, had to begin with huge difficulties to get across even the most simple thing he wanted to say. I got to know a lot of Catalan with him, because nearly everything had to be checked in the Catalan-English dictionary, specially, to start with. However, by the time he left his language skills were phenomenal; cracking jokes and so on.
By the way, Catalan is a mixture of French, Italian and Spanish, a lovely sounding language, indeed. Sorry to say but my knowledge of the said language is non-existant at present.
This is what happened:
A single girlfriend of mine and myself were sitting in the living room each on our own sofas and doing the usual ‘Girl Talk’ – no gents, please, when in walked Jose and Aleix, one plunking himself down beside me and Aleix sitting beside E.
E. is so used to all these nationalities in my life that she like a bestest of the best Irish people wanted to do some polite small talk with them as usual.
Here is the conversation between the two: Aleix and E.
E. “How long have you been in Ireland?”
A. “Yo-uu loo-vee —mee–“
E. trying again, slower, “How long have you been in Ireland?”
A. “Yo-uu loo-vee–mee–!” (in a rather surprised voice)
E. yet slower and with a perfect Irish intonation,
“How long have you been in Ireland?”
A. “Yo-uu–loo-vee–mee??” in a totally confused voice by now
E. by now so frustrated and embarrased that she says flicking the hair back:
“Am going home!”
Jose and I had rather enjoyed the comedy holding our aching stomachs and nearly falling off the sofa.
And off she goes. I see her off the door as is the custom of the hospitality in Ireland not knowing what to say and holding myself as serious as I possibly could.
When I return back to the sitting room, says Aleix, after Jose had translated the conversation to him,
“I think I put my foot in it.”
I nodding said,
” Yes, I think so, too.
But don’t worry E. has a brilliant sense of humour
and she will be grand.”
After this small talk E. avoided like a plague to ask any foreigner she met in my house as to how long they had been in Ireland. That question was never raised up ever again.
Tis for now. Riihele xx.
I worked as a support person: mama, nurse, shrink, teacher, cook, caterer, friend, et cetera 24/7 for them. A most rewarding, though demanding job.
The photo is taken by me.