Meeting new people is important if you want to master another language. I remember my lecturer telling me that when I headed off to France as part of my degree course. But some of the students who come to lodge with us here in Brighton appear to have taken advice like that to another level entirely.
They are certainly getting to know people when they are out and about in the city – and are also putting in plenty of practice at home.
And I don’t mean at the dinner table.
Take our current lodger, Felix, for example. He’s German and is charming company. He’s quite easy on the eye too, so he’s attracted some attention from the young women locally.
The language school tells the students they can’t have overnight guests, but we don’t mind if they do. Our only stipulation is that a guest shouldn’t be someone they meet at 3am when perhaps it isn’t, ahem, their heads that are doing the thinking.
Our liberal approach has led to some amusing episodes.
The latest of which involved a loud rap at the front door at 7am last Saturday morning. I went downstairs and outside stood a taxi driver.
“Here,” he said, offering me a mobile phone. “The young lady left this in my cab.”
I stared at him blankly. “Which young lady?”
“The one I dropped off to meet the German guy,” he said.
I went back to bed and thought about how I was going to deal with this. Then I remembered mention of a coffee date with a girl earlier in the week. So, assuming it was the same girl, the previous night wasn’t – technically – the first time Felix had met her.
I left it a couple of hours before getting up again and WhatsApp-ing him to say that I had put his friend’s mobile in the hallway.
Within two minutes, he appeared downstairs, fully dressed – and full of explanations.
She had been locked out of her house and had no-one else she could call on for help, apparently. Being the kind-hearted man that he is, he offered her a bed for the night…
I could barely keep a straight face.
Mind you, it’s not the funniest incident we’ve had. One of our previous lodgers was so focused on proving his, erm, linguistic prowess to a young lady that he forgot to shut his bedroom door…
I wonder what my lecturer would have had to say about that.