Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Capisco un po
The trip to Italy is coming up fast. The plane takes off in a little more than three weeks and plans are being laid. We're reading guidebooks and looking at websites and trying to figure it all out. And, of course, being me, I'm trying to learn Italian.
I got a few books out of the library, one with two CDs attached and I've been listening in the car. It's teaching me how to say "Please speak a little more slowly" and "How much is a one-way ticket to Pisa?" I have no idea whether I will have the opportunity to say either of those things in Italian, but certamente, it can't hurt.
My mother assures me that you don't need to speak Italian, and she's probably right. But I want to learn to speak Italian, to understand what people say in a language other than my own. Being able to have a conversation, however halting and helped by sign language, with someone who doesn't speak English would be an accomplishment.
In fact, those almost conversations are some of my most precious memories from various trips. Buying berries from a rural Danish farm and having to hold my money in hand so the farmer could pick out what I owed her. (My Danish was severely limited to some colors, numbers and names of food.) Figuring out where the post office was in Germany by repeating the question at every single corner so that I would know where to turn by which way people pointed. And in England staying at a B&B where the lady of the house had such an accent, my honey had to ask her to repeat herself three times, at which point she just gave up and left the room.
Listening to the Italian phrases on the CD makes me get into an mediterranean state of mind, no matter how frigid the air is here. I'm amazed by how much I do understand of the dialogues. And at the very least, being able to read a menu could come in handy.