As we have traveled in foreign places, one of the joys and one of the curses has been dealing with the language. Now that we are in Italy, we have had to switch languages again. Not that our French was getting anywhere near good, but we were just beginning to get a little comfortable; words and phrases were coming out somewhat correct and sometimes at the right time. But now, it’s all getting jumbled … again. I say oui when I want to say si. It is so easy to get confused, and my brain is full.
So, we are dealing with the problem, and as in France, the people are friendly and helpful, especially if we attempt the language. However, we have found that there are some types of interactions that we prefer.
For example, in a restaurant, the waiter/waitress will come over and say all of the waiterly things in his/her native tongue. We will have understood probably no more than 10% of what has been said, and the dazed look of confusion on our faces has given us away.
There are several ways that this can go. The most fun is that the person recognizes our dilemma and continues, but a bit more slowly and simply. We all smile as it becomes obvious that our comprehension level has approached 30% and we successfully order a delicious meal. Subsequent chatting often reveals a small English-speaking ability that remained hidden until we uttered the few words and phrases we could. Bills paid and pleasantries exchanged (abbiamo mangiato molto bene), we say thanks (grazie mille), and good bye (ciao) and depart smiling and full.
Sometimes there is too much English. Though we enjoy the exchange, our language skills don’t necessarily improve, unless we ask how to say this or that in Italian which often results in a small impromptu language lesson.
As I have said before, it is not beneath us to accept pity when it comes to speaking (or not speaking) the language; but the fact is, we always receive positive encouragement when we try, and it is exasperatingly fun.
The images in this post are from Trevi, Spello, Titignano, Montignano, and near Lago Trasimeno. The internet connection where we are now in Camucia is only available where it is very cold so I didn’t have time to add descriptive captions. Maybe later. Enjoy the beauty of Italy without the text.