Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Italian Churches

The last two months I was in France, I found a group of friends through another English assistant. The group consisted of us two Americans, two Spaniards, an Italian, and one Austrian. No French people of course – they were busy watching American movies, listening to Spanish music, and eating Italian food with the sole intention of never interacting with any respective nationals of those countries. (We all do that in our native countries, whatever.)

On the last full weekend I was in France, one of the Spaniards and her German roommate decided to throw a party, so those of us in town dragged our lazy asses up 343 flights of stairs to the top of a mountain for the sake of free food and the opportunity to speak in broken French to each other.

Alongside was the other American, and my Italian friend, Fiòrella (Fiò) Milano (I kid you not, that’s her real name). We got there early, despite a pit stop to question a few French people on why there was a giant pile of rubbish set afire in the middle of the street. The only others there when we arrived were a mousy Chinese guy we met the previous night, and some other guy we had never seen before.

Somehow, Chinese guy had slipped through the cracks and never managed to pick up enough English to hold a basic conversation, and to add a little fun in his life, his academic advisors shipped him off to France to study some sort biomedical engineering without acknowledging the fact that his French speaking skills are equivalent to that of a deaf-mute 5-year-old. On his quest to find a social life via this party, he got horribly lost, but through a series of hand gestures and smoke signals, found a Nigerian guy with a car who drove him to the party, who was then invited in for a bit.

Naturally, Fiò wandered over to poor Chinese guy and his new found friend, and decided to strike up a conversation about the role of Italian cathedrals in modern-day society. I might add that Fiò is gorgeous, and has the body most modern-day women (and some men) would kill to have, so the very sight of her makes most guys (including Mr. Chinese guy) faint. It is also important to note that Fiò is not blessed with the ability to go more than 1 hour without eating (and that b**ch never exercises[1]); she also wrote her Masters thesis on churches and modern-day society, and she speaks French pretty well.

So poor Mr. Chinese guy’s question of “What time is it?” was answered with a summation in French of Fiò’s thesis work interspersed with breaks to consume a bowl full of nuts for sustenance. I might have saved Chinese guy had I known sooner, but I was busy questioning every German in the room about whether they know my other German friend. Luckily, Nigerian guy escaped after I asked him a series of overly complicated questions about Africa, and only ten minutes of Fiò’s recount. But poor Chinese guy…hopefully Fiò’s speech will at least help him with his biomedical research.

[1] Fiò is a really awesome person, and absolutely hilarious. I’m just insanely jealous of her metabolic rate.

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