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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mundo Lingo - Mundo Lindo [A World of Languages - A Beautiful World]. Novelette. Chapter 1.

Hello! My name is Arien, and I am an Elf.

Surprised? Don't be. Yes, I am sort of permanent resident here, and can totally pass for one of you. And you guys dress like us every other day - for Comiccon, for Halloween, for work sometimes, when you decide a bow and arrows sticking out of your briefcase can help you get a date with the pretty colleague from Accounting. For the ladies, it's even more obvious - you wear heels and earrings. Enough said.

So you and we are practically one people, except we have sharper ears and bigger heads - both literally and figuratively. Ellen sila lumen omentielvo!*

*May the starlight guide you on your way - a greeting in Quenya

Anyway, I am stranded here in Montreal, Canada, for a while, and several weeks ago I wandered into Mundo Lingo. This is a networking and socializing event for multilinguals and people who want to learn languages. Wow, I said, that would be cool if I found someone... with whom I could practice my Hen Llinge. I've been a very bad Elf in school, you see... cared more for dancing than for The Elder Tongue.

I am also hoping for a Na'Vi from that Avatar world, Pandora, but no blue-skinned nine-feet-tall individual has been noticed yet at Clebard on Tuesdays and at Le Petit Medley on Wednesdays. Well, here's hope. But I met a living replica of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and he appreciated the compliment when I told him of my impressions.

Unfortunately, there was no Enterprise ship parked on the corner of St. Hubert and I Heart Languages. I checked. Well, oel ngati kameie* anyway!

*I see you - a greeting in Na'Vi

Mundo Lingo is the epitome of the multicultural Montreal. Also, it is the perfect setting for jokes like "a linguist, a translator, and a couch-surfer walk into a bar".

Bars, more precisely. At Clebard, the bartenders are so nice they put lemon in my water without me even asking. The bartender from Le Petit Medley, a young man with long hair and truly inhuman sadness in his eyes, just brings water to me whenever he sees me hyperventilating. So nice.

You see, city air is bad for someone known as Arien, and my favorite Park Mont-Royal is so cold and unwelcoming for a stranded Elf girl at this time of the year... not to mention the squirrels who beg for nuts, and I don't usually carry those on me, not even in winter. Squirrels still like me... well, nutters know a nutter when they see one. Only joking.

So, I told you about the place. The time is circa now. The mood is... noisy. Well, there are lots of words uttered all at once in a confined space. But imagine the energy, imagine the genius of place! And if you do, you'll just drop everything and start... how do you people call this?... ah... Googleing!

Yours truly likes to arrive early - I need to cross two cities and crawl under a river to get there, but when the Anar* is out, I just take the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and am there in due time to observe how the place fills up.

* Sun in Vrtaxlan


Then The Emperor enters - well, his name is not that, actually, but this is how I call him. He is the one who will welcome you and give you a sticker flag of the country from which you come, and flags of the countries whose languages you speak. Easy.

I personally love the early hours, when people come in, meet friends - new, old, and those who are in your life forever, and I feel like home again. I speak nine human languages,  you see. I also know Latin and Ancient Greek, but as of now neither Mark Anthony nor Alexander the Great have been noticed at Mundo Lingo. Maybe they're busy. Or in disguise - I don't know. I mean, look at me - I am an Elf, but everyone thinks I am Polish :-)

Also,The Boss has no flags of Valinor, my homeland, but I think J.R.R. Tolkien would not mind. After all, The Professor spoke six modern and two dead languages, and I think he would have enjoyed Mundo Lingo enormously.

So would Daenerys Targaryen, I believe, although her favorite little dragon would probably not fit into her Louis Vuitton purse, if she ever chose to wear one with her Dothraki leather boots. I think Dany could pull it off, though - the weirdest matches are made not only in heaven, but also on Fashion TV. Oops. Getting too philosophical here.

Then the happy hour starts, and to my eyes, I can sort of imagine why it is called happy...

To be continued