Literate for a day

(Daily) Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

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It has been seven months since I began communication via a chat room, then email, and several difficult telephone conversations in broken English and Italian, that now I’m ready to meet my future in-laws.

I met my bride to be during my last year of college as she was just an assistant professor. Our relationship blossomed instantly, although we knew we needed to take it slow and spend at least six months to a year learning about one another, we continued to openly talked of being married.

I would often fantasize about the day when I would stand in her father’s home asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage in Italian, where my beautiful future bride is from. So, on top of my regular studies I practiced learning the language of Italian for months.

Now eight months into the relationship and two months past college graduation, I stood standing before my future father in-law, asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage in Italian. He looks at me very perplex, just trying to figure out what I was saying. He begins speaking with a heavy Italian accent, in English. Then he slowly stammers for a moment then suddenly in perfectly good English, he says. “Well of course you can marry my daughter and welcome to the family”!

My mouth fell open as I was astonished as he spoke perfectly good English. We, all laughed aloud for several minutes. He explained in clear accented Italian English that he perfected his English while attending college in America where he met his American wife, my future mother in-law.

I later asked why he led me on to believe he didn’t speak English. He stated that it was a test to see what lengths I would go through to marry his daughter.

I’m still literate with Italian, thirty years later.

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