04 March 2009

In which, Clara pratica la lingua

Last night I was really disappointed that I was picked out as an American. As I was paying for my things at the grocery store, the cashier and I exchanged a polite 'Buona sera" with one another. After I hand him a 20 euro bill, the cashier says to me, "Do you have any coins?".

How does he know if I spoke English or not?! All I said was 'Buona sera'! I think my accent is pretty good, and it's not that hard to mess up 'Buona sera'. I'm trying to figure out if it's because I handed him a 20 euro with no coins. (I hate touching coins so I never really use them until they start weighing me down.) Apparently, I have "Sono Americana" (I'm American) stamped on my forehead. Maybe I should wear a beret and run around with a fresh baguette in hand so I can start to blend in.

Yesterday, I went to buy a cellulare (cell phone) at the Wind store (one of the four major Italian cell phone networks). Since I was speaking in full sentences, I'm sure the employee could immediately tell that I was American. But even though I didn't want him to speak in English to me, he quickly reverted the conversation away from Italian.

But today, I had my first complete Italian conversation with an Italian wine shopkeeper (And the shopkeeper never once reverted to English, yay!). My friend invited me to a wine tasting meal with a mutual classmate of ours. They had already made their reservations last week, so she was going to take me there to make reservations. It was closed when we went yesterday, so I went back today by myself. On the way, I kept practicing in my head what exactly I would say to explain what I wanted:

Le mie amiche hanno una prenotazione alle sei. Anch'io vorrei partecipare stasera. E possibile? Devo pagare adesso or piu tarde? (My friends have a reservation at six. I would also like to join tonight. Is it possible? Should I pay now or later?)

Of course the conversation didn't go by exactly how I planned, but I understood everything the grandfatherly shopkeeper Andre told me about the plans for the night. Vino e proscuitto e grappa e formaggio! (I didn't know what grappa was, but Andre explained it as an alcohol that is very strong-- piu forte del vino! stronger than wine! Haha, so we'll see how I do with that.)

I'm really excited because it'll be just the three of us for tonight. My two friends speak German with little English, so I think it'll be a slightly embarassing/fun night to practice more of my Italian.


Sonia / Jinshil said...


dhl321 said...

Grappa = REALLY REALLY strong alcohol.

claralikes said...

Haha... yes, so I've found out.

About Her

My photo
a pseudo grown-up: book lover, wanderlust-er, sometimes photographer, blog follower, coffee drinker, dessert baker (and eater), music listener, Italian learner, storyteller, story writer