Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tho far tho good

Today's oral part of the exam went reasonably well, though of course one can never be fully sure - Lord knows what grammatical solecisms I may have committed. The expression of the examiner lady never actually devolved into overt horror, though this too could be misleading, because the setup is that one's interlocutor is not actually the person who does the grading. In a kind of good cop/bad cop scenario, the grader sits behind you while you are talking, taking notes, copious or otherwise.

It's not exactly a walk in the park. You are expected to speak extemperaneously, and are not allowed to make any notes. First they show you two contrasting photos, about which you have to talk with no help from the interviewer for 3 minutes. Then she chimes in with a couple of questions, and there's a further two minutes or so of chit-chat about the photos. Next they show you three different quotations, ask you to pick one and speak about it off the cuff for 5 minutes uninterrupted. At which point the interviewer chimes in again, and there is a back-and-forth dialog for another 5 minutes or so. During the whole process, the grader-person is scribbling furiously (or maybe not) behind your back.

Anyway, I hope it was a good sign that, in the second part, I spoke for 8 minutes before the interviewer chimed in.

I was so hyped-up when I got out of there that I had to stop in the bookstore on the way home and calm my nerves by buying a half dozen books. All in English, I am ashamed to say.

This evening, I figured that further study of the finer points of grammar would be futile, so I have been trying to relax by hitting the Chardonnay and reading Virginia Woolf*. If I could match the wit and clarity of that woman's prose, even in English, I'd be a happy camper indeed. In tomorrow's exam, I'll settle for grammatical correctness and half-way clear expression of ideas.

La suerte está echada. The die is cast.

One way or another, this particular adventure will be over by 2pm tomorrow, and I can move on with my life.

*with a new Internado update thrown in, naturally. (Precocious Paula has been separated from little Evelyn and moved up to a more advanced class. I can relate, as this was more or less the whole story of my primary school education. All it means is that by the time you get to high school you are surrounded by thugs who are two or three years older, who end up bullying you mercilessly. "Character-forming" is the relevant euphemism, I believe. Though, in my case, it has to be said, I probably had it coming, as I was an insufferable little prig when I first went away to boarding school.)

The plain people of Ireland: Why are we not surprised?
MOTP: Silence, rabble!

hasta pronto!

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