“They decided to hold this, like, competition about this small paper figure called a nisse.”

My school has, um — they decided to hold this like competition about this small paper figure called a nisse, N I S S E, which I think is pertaining to some sort of Christmas or holiday tradition from a country around the world. Cool, that’s great, but I wasn’t particularly interested in, in partaking in this activity. I do like fun things sometimes but just this day I wasn’t feeling it, so I didn’t know what was going on. And we have a teacher who works with kids who speak English as a second language. This teacher themselves, they also speak English as a second language. So there was a point — and here’s the rules of the game. Basically you have a, a paper figurine that you have in your pocket called a nisse and if another teacher asks you if you have a nisse throughout the day, you have to give them the nisse. And then by the end of the day, whoever has a nisse in their pocket wins a prize. That’s what I was not partaking in on this particular day. And because I was not in the know of how this thing worked, this ESL teacher who speaks English as a second language, pretty thick accent, she asked me — she stopped me in the hallway and she was like, “Do you have a nisse?” and — I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make her sound Italian. “Do you have a nisse?” She asked me if I had a nisse and, um, I instantly was like, “Oh, were you like visiting another school? I’ve heard there’s someone with my last name over there,” which she was very confused by and I was also confused. Like why are you asking me? Why were you at that other school? I heard there was someone with my unusual last name. And then she repeated, like, “No, do you have a — do you have a nisse?” And I was like, “Well, yeah… I have, like, nephews and nieces. Sure. I’d — like, did you meet one of them, or..?” And then, you know, eventually she’s able to say ”I, I read the poster down the hallway and it talked about how today there’s this competition,” and finally I was able to get it and we figured it out. Crisis averted. No, I did not have a nisse in my pocket, and life went on, but I felt like such a dummy. I thought she was just asking about my family. But so it goes.

Recent Stories