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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chicken and Duck Talk!

Living in a Collegio such as I am now offers some peculiar and yet fascinating encounters you would never get anywhere else. One of which, I will call the true blue 'chicken-duck talk'.

I was walking back to my floor which was upstairs from where I was and bumped into a priest-friend who is from Venezuela (South America). He was in the same batch of sorry students, like myself, who came to Rome last year for our studies. His mother tongue is Spanish and even with the Italian language course, which we all had to go through for 3 months in Terni (north of Rome), still speaks Italian with Spanish all mangled in together.

He was describing to me his experiences in a parish he went to for the summer break, some months back, where he had the opportunity to watch some satellite tv and tuned into the History Channel. As he was speaking in his usual Spanish-Italian mangled parlance, my mind was dissecting his speech trying to make sense of his Italian with my own basic understanding of that language and guessing a lot with his Spanish, where my only basic appreciation of it were 'hola' and 'buenos dias'. So, you can imagine my mind racing away with a feat of mental gymnastics even Nadia Comenaci would be proud of!

I managed to decipher that he was captivated by the History Channel's documentary on the history of space and the universe, which reminded him of the time when he had used my telescope during one clear and cool night in Terni last year. He also mentioned about the Big Bang, Einstein and Galileo. My priest friend, whom we had nicknamed as 'Maestro' (actually his name is Wolfgang Gonzalez), then went on to talk about the origin and the power of oil in the world today. Explaining that it came from the fossils of long dead animals which included the dinosaurs, he took out his little handphone with a plastic covering saying that this was made from the dinosaurs, because oil is used as one of the ingredients to convert to plastic (or something like that). I was too polite to laugh out loud at this, though he was, in a way, quite right. All this while, I was nodding and saying 'si! si!' with a smile and an occasional small comment in my poor Italian to indicate that I was following his train of thought.

At the end of it all, when we parted ways, I was wondering who was the chicken and who's the duck....

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