|Anyone for Spaghetti|
I once ran a holiday language/activity course in Edinburgh for young people. There were groups from different nationalities, mainly French, German, Spanish & Italian.
They did English in the morning and activities and visits for the rest of the day, for which I prepared the programme.
One day, the leader of an Italian group from Rome came to me and asked if they could change the programme one evening. "What do you have in mind, Silvia?" I asked.
"Well, we want to have a spaghetti evening."
"What's a spaghetti evening?" I asked in my naivity.
"We cook and eat spaghetti."
"Yes, but what shall I arrange as an activity for afterwards?"
"No, Chris. You don't understand. That IS the activity."
I was having some trouble getting my head round this. "Look, " I said, "In England, we have dinner, then we go out or stay in for some some sort of activity: games, swimming, cinema, disco ..."
"Yes, but we only need to eat spaghetti."
"If you want spaghetti, why don't I just ask the kitchen to serve it one evening?"
She looked rather pained and seemed to go a bit weak at the knees. "No, Chris. Let us get the spaghetti. One of the students saw an Italian shop in Edinburgh. All we need is the kitchen for a couple of hours."
"A couple of hours?" I asked. "It only takes me ten minutes to cook spaghetti. I can do some for you in a tin, with tomato sauce ....."
Rather puce-coloured, she replied: "Yes, but we take our time, there's lots of talk and laughter. We Italians talk and laugh a lot ... Then we serve it and there's more talk and laughter. Then we eat it, then we have seconds, and thirds. We need to eat lots to last us all the week ....."
"So you don't like the college food?"
"Well, we're not really used to prison food ...... we eat it, but it's eating to live. We prefer to live to eat ...."
"So you don't need me to arrange any kind of activity?"
"No, this will BE our activity!!"
"OK, I'll talk to the Kitchen Manager. I'm sure it'll be OK."
"And do come to try the spaghetti Chris! I'm sure you've never tasted the real thing before."
And of course I went and it was great fun - the kids were brilliant, caused no damage. They kept filling up my plate with spaghetti saying: "Chris, be honest, have you ever tasted anything like that?" and so on - and it's amazing how romantic & emotional Silvia got just through eating spaghetti! (a few glasses of Chianti seemed to help). A whole evening's activity which cost me nothing at all!