because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Recap, Rewind.

Let's take this back a few steps.

So yeah. I'm in Italy. And I'm teaching English as a Foreign Language in a touring teaching job, same as last summer. Only this year, I've got a bit more responsibility. You can stop laughing now. In between teaching my own camps of kids English, I've also been helping train other tutors to teach, on the Italian Riviera. And then getting drunk with said trainees every night. On the Italian Riviera. Two things: One. WHAT CODE OF CONDUCT? Two. ON THE ITALIAN RIVIERA.

The amazing ITALIAN RIVIERA team were responsible for many an out-of-character in-character behaviour, and it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to them after a month of working together. And by working I mean earning money by acting like tits.

Me, Nicky, Rom, Kellan, Eric, Kristina, Ben, Mark, Vinnie. This is the only photo I have of us whereby we aren't all in those sodding red tee shirts WE WEAR EVERY OTHER DAY OF OUR LIVES.

Between us we have met over 400 new English tutors this past six weeks, and taught them the art of humiliation- both for them and their potential students. I have stories about each and every one of them, but most aren't fit for the internet- even on this blog. You've already met Kristina, and Ben, and all you need to know about the rest of them is that if they have your back? You're doing just fine. Unless they are ON your back, in which case they are most probably trying to sleep with you.

Anyway, I digress. This blog isn't about them. The word revolves around me, you know. So.

Every week I am somewhere new. And sometimes those places don't even have internet. Hence, me being crap. I get a call from head office on a Thursday telling me where to take a train to that weekend: "Rome!" "Florence!" "Some unheard of small town nowhere near anywhere you might have heard of!" Etcetera. It's a bit of a lottery, only everyone is a winner.

Or so I thought.

Because two weeks ago I got the call I never thought I’d get. “Yup! You are heading to summer camp next week! Congratulations!”


The company I work for not only run City Camps whereby you stay with a host family who treat you as one of your own and go to work as a regular 9-5-er everyday AND THEN COME HOME AND LIVE A NORMAL CHID-FREE LIFE, but also residential summer camps. SUMMER CAMPS. As in live, breathe, sleep and shit bambini. As in, I called my boss and asked him what I’d done to piss him off to deserve such an assignment. His response? Laughter. And then he reasoned, "But you're with Derrik again!" Yeah. Like THAT is such a big deal. Handsome, gentlemanly love-moneky that he is and all. 

Look. I sort of feel like I was born to be a mother. I mean, don’t go breaking my balls by telling folk, but yeah. I feel like I was put on this earth to be a mama and honestly? Not even to my own kids. I want to adopt. Five. And live in a field with nothing but odd Moroccan slippers and each other’s love.

But what I don’t want is to adopt 89 of somebody else’s kids for a week and be expected to entertain them from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. for seven days in a row, with only an afternoon off in which I SLEPT BECAUSE WHEN ELSE COULD I. By day three I didn't even know my own name, or how to form sentences that didn't start with, "BASTA RAGAZZI!" or end in, VAFFANCULO. Google it. 

I complained all week. I had no classroom, no structure for my kids, no sleep, and was fed only cheese as the vegetarian "option". Like I have a choice. It pretty much sucked, save for yet another phenomenal group of fellow tutors. I felt overworked, underpaid, and on the verge of pre-menstrual tears.

But then. There is always a then. BUT THEN. We had a Mr and Mrs night. Mainly for us rather than the kids. We wanted to do something silly. Something fun. Something that meant we didn't have to waste valuable sleeping time planning. So. We made all the kids cross-dress for dinner. And we gave it a go too.

One word: FIT.

And I swear to God the highlight of my whole life happened when I had this mustache. 

I walked from my room (which, incidentally, I was sharing with FIVE OTHER PEOPLE. Good job I'm not bitter about the experience. Much.) to the restaurant for dinner. I had my two guys-dressed-as-girls friends with me, and the three of us were forced to stop for one of the boys in my class. A 13 year-old, pubescent, BLUBBERING boy. His face was purple with upset and as he was mine, I sat down on the step beside him. I won't lie, had he not been mine I might not have bothered. Empathy takes time and I had cheese to get to.

"Whatever is the matter?" I asked him. "Di mi," I told him. Tell me.

And as he talked away his woes, me and my mustache hugged him tightly, watched over by the two men in drag with balloons down their vest tops and rouge on their lips. "It will all be okay," I told him in Italian, and my British mind screamed, "NO IT WON'T. THOSE BOYS ARE WEARING LIPSTICK! SHIT JUST GOT INTERESTING! YOU ARE A GIRL DRESSED AS A BOY AND YOU HAVE SOCKS IN YOUR KNICKERS!"

But then, that seems like a great metaphor for the whole experience. For life. You know, that no matter how bad it all gets, if you put on your cross-gendered happy face and show the world some love, you might just get memories from it. Maybe.

But then again, some stuff I'd rather just forget.

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