Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dobby's Sock

I finally got to the boarding school in Oxford where I am working this year. It is the loveliest place, and Harry Potter references abound. It is full of passages and quirks, and the people that work here are all exceedingly nice.

I was wearing my Steve Madden boots. They are fancy and practical, but one of them is a bit too big. While the other is snug, the left boot rubs against the back of my foot and gives me horrible blisters. So I sometimes put an extra sock in my boot, just to fill the empty space.

The Headmistress came up the stairs the other day, while I was helping in the office, and said in her chiming English accent, “Oh this school! How in the world did this get here!?” She chuckled, and came up to the office where I was working with a woman who resembles the journalist from Bridget Jones’s Diary. “Anyone lost a stinky sock!” she joked, holding my sock up in the doorway.

“That’s, eh, that’s mine.” Hilarity ensued, and they tried to make me feel less embarrassed, which was so lovely.. and so unsuccessful. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Uncle George at the Airport

Everyone in my family has a story about Uncle George. He has a mental impairment, and is endearingly naïve. He also likes to stir the pot and cause trouble.

Once, my family took Uncle George on a flight. They got to the airport two hours early, per usual (probably why I have a habit of walking onto planes 3 minutes before takeoff). Uncle George was bored, and he narrated what was happening out the airport window at the terminal.

He talked to himself for half an hour, narrating the planes landing, “Three, two, one, touchdown! I bet a famous actor is on that plane. It is currently coming into the gate…” Everyone in the terminal could hear him, but everyone was busy reading and waiting for the plane to arrive.

Then, Uncle George said, “Another plane is coming in for a landing, and it’s coming in too fast! Crash! Fire everywhere!” Everyone in the now-crowded terminal leapt to their feet and rushed to the window.

Uncle George came quickly back and took a seat between my grandparents and was silent until their flight boarded.

The Dreaded Bunny Hill

I grew up in a ski town called Park City. My brother and I took up snowboarding when we were younger, no doubt because of Jonny Tsunami. It was the cool thing to do. And my dad assumed the same thing when he entered his midlife crisis.

So my brother and I took my dad up to the resort one morning to teach him how to turn and so forth. We gave him basic instructions and took him to the bunny hill. We watched him from the top, and he seemingly just fell over softly into the fresh powder. My brother and I boarded up behind him and sprayed him with snow before seeing how he was doing.

“I’m dying,” he said, crumpled into a snowy heap.

“No you’re not, Dad. This is the bunny hill.”

We took him home and it turns out that he had a few cracked ribs. He decided to forego snowboarding and continue skiing. So basically, my brother and I cured my dad’s midlife crisis! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

La Pronunciación Correcta

My grandfather, mio nonno, is fluent in four languages: English, Spanish, Italian, and Piemontese (I think that’s the last one). And he is pedantic about pronunciation in all of them. He corrects me every time I practice speaking Spanish.

After going to a fancy dinner party with him around Christmas-time last year, we drove back to the little town where he lives and found that all of the wine tasting rooms and bars were full of people. He and I decided to join the festivities, and we went into one of the tasting rooms.

One of the women that owns a tasting room there is engaged to the actor from The Breakfast Club, Emilio Estevez. He occasionally makes appearances, but my grandfather didn’t know that he was an actor. He sat down next to him and struck up a conversation.

“What’s your name?” my grandfather asked.


“Emilio what?”

“Emilio Estevez.”

“No, no. It’s Es-te-vez,” my grandfather corrected. Ha.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Are You a Wizard?

At the University of Utah there is a little theater, and the people in charge of student government and resident groups host movies there on occasion. Once, they decided to have a Harry Potter day and play two of the films. There was a costume contest with prizes.

Not only do I have an affinity for winning prizes (I have at least 50 free t-shirts from college), but I am a Harry Potter freak. I spent a whole day getting my costume ready. I had majestic robes that my friend made me for our high school graduation, a hat, a wand, and my dad made me a contraption so that a stuffed owl could sit on my shoulder. It was the whole nine yards.

I got to the theater, brimming with confidence, and when I walked in I realized that I was the only one who had dressed up. Eyebrows raised. Asian foreign exchange students were taking pictures of me. It was so embarrassing.

… Point is, I won the contest! I got a very nice pen that is disguised as a plastic wand. Worth it. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Never Sleep

I moved into a house for a temporary spell this summer, and I was placed with the silliest of characters in my room. He actually owned the house, and he was an extroverted, fit, goofy egoist, and he grew on me pretty quickly.

He was taking summer classes and his alarm, the ‘Good Morning’ song from ‘Singing in the Rain’, would wake him up around six every morning. He got into the habit of waking me up at this hour if the alarm didn’t do the trick. And he’d wake me up from naps when I’d crash after the morning adrenaline rush. But it was never sufficient for him to shake my shoulder, or simply say my name. He had to wake me up in the scariest of ways in order for him to feel good about having class so early in the mornings.

Once, I woke up when I heard my name being said softly. My eyes peeked open, and he was an inch from my face, staring at me! If you wake up and see eyes, I can guarantee it’s one of the creepiest things that will ever happen to you. I screamed, and he just giggled.

Another time, I woke up and his finger was on my front teeth. I yelled and spat, and he responded with, “Wow, you’re a really heavy sleeper. When I do this to other people they wake up immediately, but I touched every single one of your teeth.”

“Oh my Go—Gross!”

I was taken aback for awhile, but then I started to expect it and my body would stop reverting to survival mode... and now I kinda miss that kid.