A Room in Rome #2: getting paid to hit the beach
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October in Rome dawns in the midst of an unseasonable European heatwave, and after a messy (and loud) breakfast of bread, cheese and croissants (I know, I know) I squash into the back seat of Enrico’s car with a twin on each side and we set off for the beach at Ostia. Yes. I am being paid to go to the beach. The twins have decorated the back of their father’s car with stickers. There is a Barbie on each window, as well as a large assortment of flowers, and Twin Uno observes me for a moment before making sure I have seen her window artwork. ‘Barbie,’ she says, pointing out the sticker. ‘Barbie!’ she says again, with increasing excitement, pointing at me. Twin Due meanwhile is playing with a massive stuffed raccoon. I turn my attention to her and enquire as to the raccoon’s name. She looks at me like I am crazy, and then shouts ‘RACCOON!’ Fair enough. Twin Uno has also brought an animal for the drive. ‘What’s your dog called?’ I ask her. Her expression matches that of her sister. ‘Dog!’ she yells. I think something has been lost in translation here. I spend the rest of the drive pointing out various things to see if they know the English vocab. Mainly, they do. Twin Due falls asleep, simultaneously burbling along to the song that is playing on the radio, and I discover that Twin Uno is aware of stars, sky, trees, and cars, but not of signposts, cafes or post offices.
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