The Italian male flight attendant asked Rachel for a kiss. I didn’t understand what he said, so here, I tell her, “Just say si”.
Next time, I said, “Just tell him “non capisco”…I don’t understand”.
So much special attention that she was uncomfortable.
I don’t think he knows how I old I am, mom.
Oh, no. He knew. He was just trying to confirm Italian stereotypes before the wheels touched down on Italian ground.
I told the kids they could have whatever drink they wanted, as long as they asked for it in Italian.
Caffe latte, Hannah piped in–a sign she’d been listening to me.
The flight attendant again chimed in, How about birre?
Who knows, maybe it’s convention to mix wine with spritzer water for kids. When I asked about that in the restaurant, the waiter looked at me like I had just asked for a line of cocaine. Ok, no alcohol for kiddos in Italy.
Real language training happens in person, when one is using it every day. A close second in language training is Rosetta Stone…a computer program that is like Sesame Street for adults. Show me a picture, then show me the word and I’ll catch on eventually. I learned a little Spanish that way.
With Italian, we downloaded a few apps and reviewed common greetings every day for the last two weeks. Now the common greetings are coming in handy.
Jim assumed I’d be ready for ordering a meal for the famiglia this evening. Ha. Nearly as quickly as I entered the restaurant, I answered with a Oui, not a Si and the maître d’ explained the menu slowly when I explained: Parlo poco d’Italiano.
Okay, he says, piano…
And slowly he went, explaining the dozens of food options–who knew there’d be so many menu choices. This ain’t no Olive Garden.
What we thought we’d ordered, wasn’t entirely what we got. Insalata with octopus; THAT was a surprise. And not a happy one in the kids’ opinion, though Rachel liked it. Orriechete with funghi…yum, eggplant parmagiana, sea bass, deep friend mushrooms, and a half bottle of Montelpuciano.
The food server always drops of a few tablespoons into a glass for my husband to sample…why? It is I that have read and read on the wine world. To the nose, it smelled like cotton candy, but tasted like a round bodied Chianti, a few more tannins than my palate would prefer but at 10 Euros a half bottle, this is reasonably priced wine. The Pellegrino, too–half the cost of anything North American.
Table guests next to us asked if we were from America.
No, I said, Canada.
Italian, yes, he tried again.
No, I repeated, Canada.
Oh, Kansas, yes, he remarked. Your kids are very well behaved.
They certainly get lots of practice in restaurants. I was told the same on the plane. Yup, lots of practice travelling too.
Who enjoys sleeping on a plane? I can’t even do it–sleeping upright is not my forte. I just chit chat with strangers…the Polish Chicagoan heading to her family home in Krakow, the Italian Chicagoan ladies off to Palermo, the French Chicagoan lady, originally from Morocco, heading to Israel.
The lack of sleep reminded me of my shift in the Perinatal float pool, eight months pregnant and none-too-happy being awake at 3 in the morning…my mind was wound up like a ball of yarn and couldn’t let go until two frenzied hours on my Ripetta St. bed.
But the kids, they did great! Still sleeping at 10 am, or is it 1 in the morning?