I have started bi-weekly sessions with my "little" as part of the "Big Sisters & Big Brothers of New York" mentoring programme I signed up for .
I'm not sure what I expected exactly when I am well aware that I find it hard to relate to children at the best of times.
With my favourite topics of conversation ranging from music, politics, travelling, all the way to relationships, Richard Dawkins' evolution theory and shoes, it was always going to be hard to find some common ground with a child!
The early ice-breaker that the organizers set up involved us sharing what our favourite books, movies and hobbies are.
But how do you explain to an 11 year old child that your current favourite book is "One hundred years of solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? That you really liked "Brokeback Mountain"? That one of your most regular pastime combines a rooftop bar, friends, cocktails and cigarettes!? Well, you don't ... but I have to thank Harry Potter for crossing the generation gap!
The fact that she's shy, clearly a little intimidated by me and replies to most of my questions with just "yes" or "no", doesn't help either. I will persevere of course - I can't (and would never) just walk away from the commitment, no matter how frustrating the 2 hours we have to spend together are sometimes.
It will take a little while for her to open up and for me to re-discover my inner child but I'm sure we will both learn from the experience.
In the mean time, I'll be raiding my local Barnes & Nobles children's books section to get up to speed and tune my DVR to Nickelodeon!