“…and probably look for work teaching English as a foreign language, until I figure out how to make the writing thing happen,” I conclude. Everyone in Ma’s living room nods enthusiastically. “And I’m going to visit you when you have your own place in France,” says E2, happily.
“When are you leaving the country?” asks Ma, distractedly, attempting to send a text and write a card at the same time. “May 11th,” I tell her. “Now that I’ve finished work, I can spend the next month clearing out the house and selling most of my belongings. Rio the Clio will have to go, too. And I want to look into the TEFL thing.”
“Spell congratulations,” says Ma, not listening to a single word I’m saying.
“C – O – N – G – R -”
“Wait, wait!!” she interrupts, waving her hands. “What was after ‘o’?”
Several spellings later, she looks suspiciously at me. “That’s not how you spell congratulations! You’re having me on.” I gaze at her in wonder. “I assure you, that’s how it’s spelt.”
“Here, look at that!” she exclaims, thrusting the card in front of Betsy’s nose. “Sure that’s not how you spell congratulations?” Betsy surveys the card and is forced to admit that the spelling is indeed correct. Ma looks incredibly dubious.
“Look, I wouldn’t tell you the wrong spelling,” I say gently. “You have to break words down into syllables. Con… grat… u…”
“But there’s another ‘t’ in there!” says Ma incredulously.
“Phonetics,” I explain. “Pronunciation,” I add for clarification. “Sounds,” I finish, patiently. Other conversations resume all around me as I spend some time giving Ma spelling tips.
“Well, there you go!” she says happily. “I would never have known any of that.”
“Hails!” says E1 excitedly, “you just taught English as a foreign language!”
This bodes well for the future…