English for Pasta

Tonight we had an amazing opportunity to exchange English for a traditional Italian dinner with a family in town. Our program works with a local junior high in which families can sign up to have on of us American students for dinner in exchange for English conversation to help their children learn English. I’m not going to lie, I was kind of nervous because the families could speak anywhere from a lot of English to none. Thankfully each girl was paired with a guy so we would be in it together.

They came to our villa to pick us up, had a quick talk with our director (mostly to tell them we are not allowed to have wine haha), and then drove us to their house. I ended up being assigned to go with Ben and Westin and we had a lot of fun together. Our family consisted of a dad, mom, and 12 year old son. The mom and son could speak broken English but the father spoke none. They gave us a tour of their house and then the father took the dog for a walk, mother started the dinner, and we were to play with their son. I really wanted to get to know him and create fun for him, but it was so hard to communicate with him. We ended up playing cards, table soccer, the wii, and practiced speaking English.

We didn’t eat till 8:30 which was different, but the Italian meal was worth the wait. We started with a pesto pasta followed with pork, lemon-rosmary potatoes, bread, and traditional Carnevale cake for dessert. It was delicious! We were able to have a conversation with the mother and some with the son but it was a bit challenging. You realize when you talk how many different phrases in English we use that really make no sense when you say it. I called something pretty and they had no idea what I meant. Finally I said “bella” and they said, “oh, you mean beautiful!” The mother reminded me a bit of my own mom and I just wanted to give her a big hug like I would my mom. Unfortunately thats not really what you do in Italy, so I refrained. (They also had a cat that I really wanted to cuddle with but again, I didn’t know if it was proper.) She did give us their number though and said to come over again when we get a chance. Hopefully when my Italian gets better I can go and have more then a two second conversation.

Even though it was intimidating at first, I am so thankful for opportunities like that. I am realizing just how awesome this program is and how they really try to immerse us in the culture and experience life outside of our own comfort zone.

I get to sleep in till 8:00 tomorrow…hallelujah!



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