I teach a bit of Romanian now (2-3 times a week). And one of my pupils lives somewhere close to this famous ice-cream shop in a workers’ district. After I finish my gallery work I have more than enough time to get there and, of course, I have an ice-cream while watching the people in the (microscopical) park (above the underground line). Whenever I was there the shop was full and I had to stay in line to get myself a cone. What do you want? It’s one of the best places for ice-cream in the city!
Tens of people licking the sweet balls away and enjoying the evening.
Last time, near me were about 5 or 6 men, talking. At first I thought they must be Romanians (from the intonation and the way some words sounded). But they were not. Bulgarians (way too little Slavic words to be enough). What then? All other languages in Europe I would be able to distinguish in a couple seconds. But not this one. And they were Europeans! Well, it turns out I heard Albanian for the first time in my life (they were kind enough to let me know about it).
I was thinking I should make a list of people who learned Romanian from me. Sometimes I see myself teaching this language not being that different from someone fixing up a car or cooking something good. I have the ingredients and I just cook. Of course, the people I work with have to be good and have to have a snappy intellect. Otherwise, I just play hide and seek (hiding and seeking words and then discovering them “together”) and let them think they are the greatest in the universe (for being able to imitate me). But the good ones, well, that’s another story! I have to bring them where I want them and then I lead them on, which brings one “aha!” experience after the other. I like this! Of course, it’s insignificant in the whole scheme of things, but I like it! I can see the fruits of my work right there and then!
And the people? Mostly business men, people who go to work there and need the language or just want to be polite with their Romanian peers.