Interesting Request

Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to tutor parents as well as their children. In this case, I get to see the inside of the family dynamic. This allows me to teach all the members of the family better; I know who they are, just a little more.

As one of the only, sometime THE only English-fluent people that comes into their homes, I sometimes am asked strange questions about Canadian culture and customs. Occasionally I am asked to decipher notes from teachers. But today I was asked the strangest thing yet.

Allie is a bright, active 11-year old with a sly sense of humour and a very strong work ethic. Her trouble is that she’s shy. As a shy girl struggling in a new language, she has a tough time making friends. So her mother has asked me to compose an ad to put up at community centers. She wants a grade 7-9 Canadian girl to come to the house and play with Allie, in English, a few times a week. They can go ride bikes, go to movies, play on the Internet, anything. For ten bucks an hour to the lucky girl.

I must give my phone number on the ad, because Allie’s mom’s English is getting better, but is not fantastic. As with most people learning English, telephones are anathema to her: She can’t read body language or watch facial cues.  I have to interview this person who, Allie’s mom is hoping, will become a mentor to Allie, and bring her out of herself a bit.

I have issues here. I have issues that Allie’s mom is willing to pay some girl ten bucks an hour to be Allie’s friend. I, in my crazy roundeye way, see this as a bit embarassing for Allie. But Allie’s looking forward to it. Which makes me want to give her a big old hug.

5 Comments to “Interesting Request”

  1. By Pomodoro, June 20, 2006 @ 12:11 pm

    Oh wow Liz, I find this very strange and wrong on many levels. It’s not really a surprise to me that this girl wants a friend enough to go through with this…. but I doubt very much that she understands the fact that the likelihood of the person responding to such an add simply to be friendly is so extra low, the kid will be in it for the money and not for the friendship at all. You go Liz, go find that 11 year old girl a prostitute to play with!
    Once again, not so much on the envying you here.

  2. By Liz, June 20, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    Well, that’s it, exactly. The money is the incentive, not the chance to meet a totally fun girl who is lonely in Canada. I’m hoping for some leadership-style candidates who will enjoy the friendship aspect, as well as having a cool job. But my expectations might be too high.

  3. By Pomodoro, June 21, 2006 @ 7:42 am

    Awwwwww, you’re such a lovely optimist.

  4. By Liz, June 21, 2006 @ 1:10 pm

    “Popular Girl.”

  5. By Pomodoro, June 21, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

    Right, sorry.

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