When I was in college, I took an intensive Italian class. I love learning languages. It’s like instant gratification learning. “Cane” means dog! “Biblioteca” means library! I knoooow things! Even counting feels like some new and exotic adventure, “Uno, Due, Tre..”
I’m actually quite good at this stage of languages. But when it comes to more complex communication, particularly conjugating verbs, I start to fall down. I am okay with this. My italian professor, a one Bar-bar-AH Spin-eh-li, was not.
I had been her star pupil up until this point. She loved my pronunciation, my excitement, my easy grasp of vocabulary. Our first quiz on past tense, and I began my rapid decent. She passed out the results from the exam and asked me to stay behind to talk.
Ah, Ostrich, mia bella regatza. You are my favorite student. But– how to say this– when I correct your quiz, I cry.
She proceeded to ask me if there were problems at home, and if my boyfriend was hitting me. (I could not make this up if I tried.)
I’ve told this story so many times, for varying reasons. 1) She is one of the most memorable professors I’ve ever had, and this is her crowning moment. 2) I use it as a way to demonstrate I’m okay with my own failures and imperfections. I have been so bad at something, I literally brought someone to tears. And I think it is hi-larious.
The phrase “When I XXX, I cry.” has now become part of my vernacular, and most people who know me know why. Now I that I am pumped with baby hormones, I have cause to use this more often than I care to. From this weekend alone:
- When I watch The Snowman, I cry.
- When I talk about names for my future children, I cry.
- When I read “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Longfellow, I cry.
- When I mop the kitchen floor, I cry.
- When I listen to a podcast about the history of “Good King Wenceslas”, I cry.
Seriously, how do people get through an entire pregnancy without losing their sanity?