Every once in awhile, I get the pleasure of walking home with a little boy named David. He is in 4th grade, but is tiny, and looks like he is about 6 years old. He is very nice and occasionally stops by my flat and coaxes me into playing football with he and my neighbors.
Our conversations are all in Hungarian, since he is not my student and I don't know if he takes English, I think he is a German student. Anyway, for a year and a half, I have been walking with this kid. He asks me today, how old are you? I reply I am 27. He looks at me puzzled, and laughs to himself. I know I did not misunderstand the question, because that is the most common question asked by the students. I wonder about this and I hear, Hello, and he turns down his street.
On the rest of my walk home I wonder to myself. When do children realize that being foreign means that our communication is a little slower, and that we are not stupid. I think David is confused as to why I can barely talk with him yet be the old age of 27. One day he will look back at our walks and laugh at his innocent thoughts of my ignorance.
I love these daily interactions with the students. It is part of the reason why I am here, in a tiny village, to give students exposure to diversity. In some of these conversations, not only has it made my day, but also the day of one of the students either in my class or not.