Why I Am Monolingual: The Woe Goes On Forever And The Story Finally Ends

This is the last of a three post series that starts here.

I was off to a dreadful start with my Italian teacher. The spectacular plan I concocted in Junior High started withering in the first weeks of High School.

A Moment Of Fairness, If You Please

It became obvious after the unavoidable humiliation incident on the first day of class that I was not the teacher’s favorite. I might have become a favorite if I’d rekindled my hidden knowledge of Italian. That didn’t happen. I will admit that I lacked something as a foreign language student.

That missing something, which I will call initiative, did nothing to endear me to the teacher.

The Plan Must Go On

The Italophone Europe Blue: Native language Li...

In the region shaded in royal blue, I am illiterate (Image via Wikipedia)

Eventually, the day the plan was to be deployed arrived. I knew from my grades that I would not perform like a native speaker. But I still held the fantasy that I knew enough to decipher what my relatives were saying.

Italian conversation eluded me, just like before. As I sat there listening, I took inventory of the phrases I actually knew in Italian. There were three:

  • Where is the Post Office?
  • Here is the Bathroom.
  • Ciao, Fulvia.

Neither of the first two applied to the situation. Nor were any girls named Fulvia there for me to greet. The moment I had envisioned of revealing my bilingual ability came and went without me saying a word. The Plan died right there on the Thanksgiving dinner table, between the turkey and the ravioli.

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger *

Statesboro High School

A doodle from my Italian teachers grade book curiously close to my name. (Image via Wikipedia)

Things never improved between the teacher and I over the three years we spent together. I couldn’t get out of her class, she couldn’t get rid of me. My parents went to parent-teacher conference day for three years. Six teachers would tell them I was a nice kid, one would tell them they’d spawned the anti-Christ.

I didn’t do much to endear myself to her. I retaliated every time she blamed me for something I didn’t do. I’ll spare you the details and just say that it got ugly and never got better.

So what was the final score in the end? Well, I certainly don’t speak Italian. I did learn that…

…sometimes the usual suspect is not guilty.

…I get along with most people. Most.

The hearing impaired kid (so you knew which on...

I’m not Bill, not hearing impaired (Image by Gare and Kitty via Flickr)

…sometimes it might be better to spend the next three years pretending to be hearing impaired than to answer a simple question.

Ciao Fulvia! Ecco la bagno. Dove l’ufficio postale?


19 Comments on “Why I Am Monolingual: The Woe Goes On Forever And The Story Finally Ends”

  1. […] Blurt Some words that have to come out of me. Skip to content HomeAboutgooglef0107d13342d39be.htmlThe BlogsThe cover songsThe InterviewsThe Policies. ← The Chilean Mine Collapse In Terms I Understand Why I Am Monolingual: The Woe Goes On Forever And The Story Finally Ends → […]

  2. I feel your pain…I get along with most people too, but find it really painful and difficult when I don’t hit it off with someone!

    I had 7 years of French instruction, and I suck at speaking it – it’s bad when your kids make fun of your accent!


  3. Todd Pack says:

    I really enjoyed the tale of your sorry excuse for an Italian teacher. I know you were disappointed that you weren’t able to surprise the family by learning to speak Italian in time for Thanksgiving, but, on the other hand, you still got to have cannolis instead of pumpkin pie!

    • omawarisan says:

      Cannoli make up for a lot of things!

      The amazing thing was, I loved my other teachers and we got along great. I had one other that would get under my skin, but I know what he was doing and still use what I learned from him.

      We were just oil and water.

  4. hippie cahier says:

    Mi dispiace che tu avuto una esperienza traumatica. Gli insegnanti possono essere persone simpatiche, anche.

  5. jammer5 says:

    I tried Latin in high school. Chicks didn’t dig Latin, and agricola, agricoli never got me a date, so I dropped it and became happily monolingual. And still dateless 😦

  6. I wish I was named Fulvia.

  7. Keli says:

    I think it’s very fortunate that you have a last name that is not immediately pronounceable by complete and utter idiots. This was proven in your first encounter and set the tone for your entire relationship with your deficient instructor. I’m even more fortunate than you, as I have both a first and last name that are far too challenging for the average person. You can imagine what it does to below average people.
    Sometimes a picture is all it takes to tick me off too.

    • omawarisan says:

      If only there were some sort of strategy guide to dealing with stupid people back then!

      • Pie says:

        You say this as if there’s a strategy now! If you know of this, Grasshopper, please tell me!

        I have thoroughly enjoyed your Italian tales. Like you, I get on with most people, so I’m disappointed whenever I encounter someone I cannot gel with. But there again, you can’t get along with everyone, can you?

  8. omawarisan says:

    There is a strategy guide…Keli writes about the challenges of dealing with the knowledge challenged. I recommend it!

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