Today I am back in Rovereto, having arrived with the last possible train at midnight last night. I spent most of my (late) flight to Milan in a state of stress that I might miss the final train home. One of the fun parts of our small city is its distance from major airports; my travels yesterday went something like this: bus, bus, flight, bus, train, train, walk. For 11 hours.
Back in Rovereto I’ve found I’m being run out of town. While returning books at the library I spotted a sign for someone offering ‘kiwi English’ lessons. Asides from stealing my obvious business title should I ever start my own language school, and asides from potentially ruining my assumption that I was one of only three New Zealanders in this corner of Italy (the other two being fully employed and not about to change careers (I think)), is the choice of name itself.
Most English language schools choose names that show their connection to the origins of English, that being England itself. I’ve spied the British Institute, the Cambridge School of English, the London School, etc., etc. American English gets the occasional look in, with Wall Street English, etc. Italians want to learn British English, so I was eyed warily by parents at the summer camps I tutored at last year when they learned my Southern Hemisphere origins, somewhat doubtful that I could be a native English speaker.
I am so curious to know if this young upstart is a New Zealander, and if they think that the word ‘kiwi’ is going to conjure up any image other than the fruit. (They have, helpfully, included a picture of the bird on the page.) If they reach the Italians who know the, sometimes obscure, fact that New Zealanders are also called ‘kiwis,’ will they then be taught to call flip-flops ‘jandals’ and swimsuits ‘togs’ and to say it all in our delightful, not quite Australian, ‘I’m not sure if you’re British or American’ (true story) accent? I bet only I can teach them that.
I am starting to feel a little homesick for home, as reading this wiki article on the NZ accent got me feeling a little blue! But after much of the past month spent away, I am happy to be back. Matt joins me tomorrow, his evening flight to Milan gets in too late to make those pesky trains. After another micro trip this coming weekend I think we will be happy to stay put for (most of) September. Apparently summer has finally arrived too, win win win.
Picture from The Poms reckon New Zild accent’s rilly choice