Paola thought she would probably enjoy Spellwork more if Professor McKindy did not remind her so much of an awkward version of her grandfather. She was fairly good at the material itself, which was probably helped by the fact that Professor McKindy was nowhere nearly as stern and formal as Paola remembered her grandfather being. (It had been a few years since they’d gone to her grandparents’ for Christmas, which Paola was okay with. Paola had never felt like she fit into the DeMarco ancestral abode, as Dad had bitterly jokingly called it once, or in with her cousins, and she had the sense that none of them knew quite what to do with her. It was as awkward, in its own way, as this Christmas with Dad attempting to actually parent her had been.) It was hard to imagine Grandfather being anywhere close to as enthusiastic as Professor McKindy was about all the little ways charms and transfigurations could be changed and interact and build on each other or cancel out. Paola’s notes for Spellwork were never as neat as they were for her other classes, since the lecture tended to go off on tangents as Professor McKindy got carried away answering questions, and it was all so interesting that Paola had to scribble it down so she’d remember it (or have it to refer to when she got to more advanced levels of Spellwork).
Like today, with the linguistic connections between languages, language age, spell power, and intention. Paola’s eyes widened as Professor McKindy used “yeet” to fling an eraser across the room, and scribbled down the word to look up in Cultural Studies later. It sounded like it came from the internet, and most of Paola’s internet use had taken place at RMI, since there were a lot of restrictions on using the internet on embassy computers.
And that “yeet” settled it: There was no way Professor McKindy and Grandfather were related.
Paola wondered how to advertise her bilingual status to a potential partner, especially since she wasn’t fully fluent in Arabic. (And how would that affect her spellcasting? It wasn’t her native language and she didn’t know it as well, but Arabic was an older language than modern English. Would it balance out?) But before she could figure out how to approach someone in this overcrowded classroom, the boy in front of her turned around and asked if she wanted to work together. Paola recognized him from the Draco common room but didn’t know his name. And he offered her the chance to back out, which oddly made Paola feel better about working with him.
“Um, sure!” she answered only a bit awkwardly. “I’m Paola, and I know enough Arabic to have a conversation.”