She has come out of her shell a little bit and has made a lot of progress in a very short time. I've been really proud of her efforts and pleased that she is becoming comfortable enough with us that she doesn't worry so much about making mistakes or sounding silly.
Saturday night, after a much needed victory at the State Tournament, the team gathered at a local restaurant to celebrate. Normally, when we have such a gathering, her son comes with one of the other families and she and her husband go home.
I truly understand why. Sitting there staring at one another while everyone else socializes must be a humiliating and demoralizing experience. But although I got it, I still found it kind of sad.
To my surprise and delight, this time, she came with us. She sat at a table with Husband, me, and five other adults. She tried really hard to make conversation, and all the parents tried equally hard to include her in the general chatter.
At one point, being the only one at our table to order an adult beverage, I had to show my I.D. As the waitress handed my wallet back to me, one of the other parents grabbed at it, saying he wanted to see my driver's license picture, which is spectacularly unflattering. But I obliged. And soon, everyone else was pulling out their drivers' licenses in the spirit of good natured self-deprecation.
Husband has not had a new photo for fifteen years. Fifteen years during which, he has changed a lot. He has a few more gray hairs, a few more laugh lines, and quite a few more pounds. But nobody ever challenges his request to keep his new old picture.
Needless to say, he got a lot of ribbing over that from the other adults.
When Husband's driver's license made it into her hands, she studied it carefully for a moment or two and then said to me in her thickly accented English...
"Blog Antagonist, you must be cook BERY delicious!"
Everyone at the table howled with laughter. Though her words were clumsy, her meaning was very clear.
She beamed, pleased that her joke had gone over well.
It seems like a simple thing, doesn't it? Making joke or a smart remark comes naturally to most of us. We don't think twice about it.
But think about what kind of courage it takes to attempt such a thing in a foreign language. There are so many double entendres, linguistic idiosynchrasies , verbal nuances...so many ways, in other words, to screw up and look like a complete numbskull.
But she did it. She put herself out there, made herself vulnerable, took a chance.
She made a joke.
And I think she is my new hero.