Saturday, 6 October 2012

From Dislike to Like

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.


Maria said...

When I was little, I detested tuna sandwiches. Whenever my mother made me a tuna sandwich for lunch, I would actually throw it away instead of eating it (of course I never told her this). One day, I resolved to go home with my uneaten sandwich and show it to my mother as PROOF, incontrovertible PROOF, that tuna sucked and she should never make me a tuna sandwich again (I don't pretend now that this idea was logical). However, on the walk home, I was so hungry I thought I would die if I didn't eat something immediately, so I took the sandwich out and ate it. It was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. After that I loved tuna sandwiches. Does this fit the bill for dislike to like stories?

Charming Disarray said...

There was a girl in grade school that I really hated--I don't remember why. I don't think she hated me at the time but later in highschool she always made it clear that she found me very annoying, and I found that annoying, even though I don't think I disliked her otherwise by that time.

And then we went on the same group trip to Europe a year after highschool and became really awesome friends, and have stayed close ever since. In fact, I just got off the phone with her after a three hour conversation. She's the kind of friend who, if I don't feel like doing anything for my birthday, I will do something with her, and we'll just sit and have drinks and talk and talk until the place closes.

Seraphic said...

Ah ha ha! Love the tuna sandwich story! The story of the friend is good, too and probably more meaningful, although admittedly not as funny.

Shell said...

Paris! The first time I went to Paris I thought; "Get over yourself, Paris - so you've got the Eiffel Tower, big deal!" And I refused to be impressed. My next trip to Paris I was travelling alone and I just got lost in the city - I did nothing but wander around and just BE there and I loved it. Now I even love the Eiffel Tower. I love it. I want to live there.

Gosia said...

I'm Polish. Ever since I was a child I was fascinated by foreign languages. There was one exception though: it was English. After a couple of private lessons at the age of 9 I decided the language was rather silly for its spelling and pronunciation seemed so terribly inconsistent. Being an emotional creature I gave up and resolved never to take up the classes again. I loved German and hoped to become a translator one day. You can imagine my anger when on the very first day of my secondary school I was told that there was no German for my group and that English was obligatory. A valley of despair almost. How I detested the language! But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I've had the chance to learn several langauges but it's English that I like most and feel most confident in.

Mustard Seed said...

I studied Spanish abroad for a few months in my early twenties, and one day there was this new German girl in my class. When I first saw her, I thought she was stuck-up, full of herself, and that her skirt was too short (amazing what awful judgments we can make so quickly while barely realizing it). Anyway, as I got to know her, I found out I had been totally wrong. She was one of the most joyful, humble, and vivacious people I met there - always up for adventures and especially gifted at remembering tiny details I had mentioned and asking about them later. We only keep in touch occasionally now, but her friendship sticks with me and was an awesome example of how to be a light to your friends. :) It is so delightful to be wrong sometimes!!

Eowyn said...

I used to be super uncomfortable around dogs and most animals.. But then my mum got a little dog which we all love and I got really used to picking her up and playing with her and all. Now I can hang out with dogs, cats, horses and even donkeys...but not my Grandma's cat. My Grandma's cat is psycho.

n.panchancha said...

Most of mine would probably involve food... But one other silly (and very quick) turnaround: I remember on the first day of grade seven (about age 11), each student had to stand at the front of our class and give examples of his or her interests and hobbies. When I went up to present, there was a boy in a middle row staring, very intently, at shy little me, and grinning. How embarrassing! I finished my spiel and tried very hard to avoid said boy for the rest of the day. The worst!

Well... it very quickly turned out that Embarrassing Boy was, in fact, not a boy - she was a girl with really short hair, and she was grinning at me because we had essentially the same presentations. We became fast friends. In fact, she's still my best friend today, and a very beautiful and ladylike woman she is, too. :o)

Urszula said...

I hated French with a passion when I was 12. I thought it was stupid, and never wanted to pay attention to my mom when she was trying to teach us it in homeschool.

Fast forward about 4 years to when I actually WENT to France and fell in love with the language and the country, spent summers interning there, and finally lived over 2 years there. And the only reason I have a semblance of a proper accent is because my Mom took me to task when I was a pre-teen ;)

Also, when I was in high school, I spent my first two years alternately despising/envying/plotting the academic destruction of the one girl in the class who dared to be smarter and have better grades than me (awful, I know!) In my junior year, it turned out we were the only ones having a free period together. Even though I steadfastly ignored her the first few days, after a while we started sitting at the same table, talking to each other, and yes - we became best friends. All the qualities I had been annoyed at or envied - such as loyalty, a sense of self-sacrifice and concern for others, and determination to do what is right - made her a fantastic friend! Our paths have somewhat diverged, but I'm always reminded of her - whenever I develop a sudden dislike to someone, I think to myself, it's probably a sign that somewhere down the road we'll be really good friends :)