A few weeks ago some of my youngest students refused to believe I was over the age of 18, only for the next week one of the boys to ask me if I had children and was I married. No and no.
But then, "Why not?" said he.
I was a little lost for words at this question. How do you reasonably satisfy a small child's curiosity about your life decisions without fobbing them off with a crap answer? I didn't know.
"Err, I'm too young!?"
Thinking that probably as far as history and the world at large goes I am probably one of the few women not to have children or a husband at 23 I wasn't sure if this was a good enough answer but it seemed to satisfy him, (on reflection, "my socio-cultural background makes it feel normal," would have been more accurate, but probably less satisfactory).
But then, this week, after starting to think I was getting grown up (especially after teasing A about it after his 27th birthday - he's going to be 28 next year!) I got brought straight back down to earth.
As I entered my high school the other day, like normal I wanted to use the bathroom before teaching. I was suddenly stopped by about six or seven cleaners shouting at me, "Where are you going?"
"I have English," I said, thinking I had been mistaken for a random stranger.
"No, where are you going?" They all shouted again.
"Err I need the toilet...."
"No!! No!! you can't use that toilet!!" They all shouted again and all said something very fast that I didn't understand because they were all shouting at once. (What is it with Italian cleaners and door people?!) Well I acquiesced assuming the toilet was broken and went and used the grim students toilets down the corridor.
It was only as I left afterwards that it struck me. There was nothing wrong with the normal toilets... Ladies and Gents, I had been mistaken for a naughty pupil trying to use the teachers' bathroom!
Oh the shame! My wounded vanity! It would seem I do not even look 17.
It's a ridiculous situation and it's probably going to take some time before people stop talking down to me when taking me at face value (ha ha - sorry.) No wonder teenagers find adults so irritating!
I'll just have to take comfort in the fact that it makes good blog material.