Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tales of Toronto

[illustration (c) colette copeland]
I went to the Danforth to get my Greek fix. In particular, loukoumades: there's a pastry shop that makes them to perfection, light and airy little balls of batter drenched in syrup. On my way to the shop, an old lady dressed in black stopped me, said something in Greek and showed me a piece of paper. It was an address on the Danforth and she needed directions.

OK, a little explanation here: Yes, I do speak Greek, or at least I did when I was much younger; I don't get much practice now. You see, there was a time when I was obsessed with languages, especially ones most people wouldn't know, and since I'm blessed with a good ear, I found it easy to pick up a language. In fact, when I lived in Dublin, while my husband played rugby every Thursday evening, I went to Greek language classes to keep it up.

Anyway back to the Greek lady. I was so taken aback that I went dumb. My brain started looking for its Greek lexicon, searching frantically for words. I really wanted to help the woman, but I couldn't remember any Greek. My brain continued a mile a second, and out came one word, then another, and then I was giving her directions in Greek. She was so grateful, and I was left standing there wondering what happened, what an amazing organ the brain is to store a language I haven't heard or used in years and then let it out so I could help someone.

Now...I must go and practise my Greek (eat the loukoumades).


  1. ahh and maybe some greek angels were whispering to your soul :) xo

  2. You are amazing! How many languages do you speak? Those greek pastries sound very fine I might add.

  3. I think we always keep these languages in our memory - the trick is to dig them out! Great job you were able to help the woman. xo

  4. I truly envy your ability with languages. How amazing it came back to you like that. I am part Greek but never learned it (no one spoke it in my family). well one cousin does as he was in one of those total language immersion schools so he's the only one who knows it. I am also part Italian but only learned but a few obscure words.(my Nunna only spoke Italian) I know a very small, smattering of French and Spanish (from school). NONE that qualifies me to have a conversation with anyone in any of them.

  5. Hellow!
    You have reminded my happy days in Toronto 15 years ago...when I went there to learn english....!
    And I was living near Danforth, (Glebeholme Bvd)

    I adore Toronto...I dream with Toronto..

    "Efgaristo poli" ( I'm spanish, but I dance greek dances too ) for make me dream once again.



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