The Belly of the Beast

Last night one of my Real 3 students asked me to come to her house next week and have dinner with her family. Her name is Lily, she’s 40 something years old, is a primary school teacher, has a 16 year old daughter and a husband. She is really the sweetest woman! She bought me cough medicine when I was sick and brings me snacks sometimes. Yesterday she asked me if I like home cooked Chinese food (YES, was my answer) and she said that’s what she’ll make for me when I come! I’m very happy about this, but there’s one problem. Although Lily has attended 99% of my classes since Real 1, she cannot speak English, bless her cotton socks. I think she’s taking English lessons because her family is moving to New Zealand in November where she plans to be a Chinese teacher. But regardless of her motivations and attendance, she really has no clue how to speak. It’s not that she’s stupid, English is just a very hard language to grasp, ESPECIALLY for older learners with no real way of practicing outside of class besides watching movies. Lily can understand very few things and is always asking others to translate what I say even if it’s the simplest sentences that we’ve covered in class THAT DAY, like “When is your birthday?” or “How much was your purse?”. So I’m a bit nervous to go to her house because I know if I go on my own and her family speaks as much English as she does, I’m in for a long night of miming. And miming can be sooooo exhausting!! I see Lily again on Saturday and we will finalize our plans then. I’m hoping she’s invited a few other students from class as well. TRANSLATORS!!

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