05 May 2010


I am a scaredy cat.  I fear many things.  I hear "fear" come up in my vocabulary more frequently than I would like to admit.  Just as the word starts to ooze out of my lips, I want to retract it, but it's too late.

Every day here is filled with at least one kind of adventure.  Today I was expressing to an Italian friend a fear I had about something that I was about to do, and as we parted so I could go tackle my fear, he yelled out to me "Don't be afraid."

I have been teaching a few people conversational English.  It's easy, and it's fun.  I still think I learn more than my students.  Having been hired by an Italian teacher to teach her first-year-university-student nephew an hour of conversation and an hour of grammar each week, I prepared in advance and trekked across town to where we were to meet.  In the beginning, he just nodded his head and muttered words in Italian.  I thought to myself that we are going to start from the very beginning.  I was fearful because, in all honesty, I felt like I was bluffing my way through.  I use English in my profession and as a result have a pretty good knowledge of my mother tongue, but I don't have formal teaching experience.  I remembered to breathe and to lengthen my exhale, and it went well.

When I arrived home, I received a phone call from the aunt.  I was afraid -- See?  There's that word again! -- of hearing something along the lines of "You're fired."  But instead she told me her nephew was "really, really happy" and excitedly told her more than once, "I spoke English!"

In spite of my many, many, many, many fears, somehow I manage to usually feel the fear and go forth regardless.  One reason I do that is I am afraid of the experiences I would miss out on otherwise.

Longer exhale.......................

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Florence, Italy

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