Since we were a bit doomy and gloomy earlier this week, I think it is time we dug around in our memories for conversion stories. Not, you know, the BIG conversion story, but stories about not liking stuff or a person and then changing our minds and liking stuff or a person very much indeed.
I love these stories because they show the narrator's humility and joy in having his or her mind changed, and the rewards he or she is granted. It's just so much more fun to love than to hate.
When I was growing up, I couldn't stand some girls who acted as though anyone who wasn't of Italian extraction had lost the lottery of life. Oh dear, how they carried on. So did many of the boys of Italian extraction. The way they carried on when Italy won the World Cup, it was amazing they didn't just set their Canadian birth certificates and passports on fire in the playground. And it drove me out of my mind when people would speak Italian in class so that other people (like ME) couldn't understand them. Really, it drove me wild. Also, I was envious of their sandwiches. Their sandwiches were much more exciting than mine. Darn them. Darn them to heck.
All this gave me a jaundiced view of Italy in general and Italian-Canadian culture in particular. However, for some strange reason--probably to put off having to take Art class--some time after I escaped to high school, I signed up for First Year Italian. I took three years of high school Italian, and you can imagine how much my attitude changed in three years. I think from the moment I mastered "Due panini e un caffé, per favore", I wanted to go to Italy and speak to Italians. Italy was the magical country of cool.
I never became a groupie--there is a phenomenon of non-italophone fans of Italian just trying to BECOME Italian--so I never joined Italian heritage clubs or anything like that. But I learned Italian enough to be useful to Italians in my community when I worked for the government, and they needed help in Italian. Some of the elderly had tried and miserably failed to learn English, poor things. They were quite funny about it.
In case you are wondering, it's all very rusty now. But every time I go to Italy, I thank God above for my wonderful Italian teacher and my three years of high school Italian.
Okay, your turn. From mad or sad to glad.