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

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Rites of Passage.

So there was this one time at English Camp, whereby I had a class of little ones for the week. And I know the last thing y'all want is another story about children- this is so far removed from one of those blogs, and with kiddyblogging you can’t write five-year-old and erectile dysfunction in the same sentence- but stay with me on this. I've got a point about my development as an actual human being worthy of the oxygen it takes me to tell these stories.

For their final show- whereby they speak in English, in public, for the benefit of mum and dad who have paid hundreds of Euros for their offspring to play all week with the pretense of learning another language-all of the classes came together to put on a makeshift version of The Lion King. Because d'uh, that's way easier than having them dress as their favourite food and tell the audience what their name is. I have under-developed notions of performing for vast adoring crowds which remain unlived. I make my kids do it instead. This is called transference. 

My class opened, and I invite you to imagine the scene: There is a huge park, with trees and bushes and a giant hill that leads down to the 'stage'. Sort of like an ampitheatre, but not. And there are 200 parents sat on blankets and benches all around. The lights dim and in the darkness the theme tune to the show begins. You get goose pimples. It is magical. Over the brow of the hill come a dozen prima elementare dressed as flamingoes in strips of pink crepe paper, and elephants with cardboard boxes for heads, and as giraffes with one arm painted orange and fingers as a mouth.

Do I need to tell you that this was ADORABLE? Even my cold black lump of coal for a heart warmed slightly. We made an entrance Lady GaGa would have approved of.

Except, when we all finally arrived on stage, the kids freaked out. There were microphones! And parents! And the perfect opportunity to scream Italian profanities THAT THEY SHOULDN'T EVEN KNOW into said microphones. Fuck what Laura told us to do guys!

I couldn't control them. As I grabbed one ginger Italian under one arm (they exist) and a monkey under the other, as well as steering a crocodile with my bum and two tigers with my knees, an antelope and Simba dove forward to continue where their friends had left off. It was a losing battle. I'd lunge forward for the escapees and the others would writhe free from my grasp to scream anything but their assigned lines into the mics until they tired and tagged each other back into the game. It went on, and on, and on and on, until in the end, everyone laughed and I made them bow and the audience cheer, and then I took them offstage so that I could cry and possibly kick their shins for wasting a whole week of rehearsals BECAUSE I AM THAT GIRL. I tell children that fame costs, and in my practice space they pay with sweat.

Do you think I could list patience on my CV under 'special skills'?

My point. I am in Rome. I am currently taking a week out of English Camps to train for a job I didn't even know I had. I thought I had signed up to make some part-time cash to fund the completion of My Heart Beats Only For You (And A Few Other Dozen People) drinking cappuccini and riding on Vespas. In fact, with any luck, I thought I had come to undertake further research for the book. Nope. 

Apparently, I came to undertake a position as Director of Studies for Young Learners. A chap commented recently that I am probably very mature, but that for some reason I try very hard not to be. I told him I wasn’t trying at all. I feel like I was dressed as Nahla and Rome was my Pride Rock. But instead of following the script, now there are microphones of responsibility that make me forget what is supposed to be happening and instead just scream to the audience, over and over again,

Do I have to be a grown-up now?

Well? Do I?
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