I was at my favorite restaurant, enjoying one last meal before I go.
I always secretly feel really happy when someone approaches me in Italian or happens to ask for directions somewhere. Thinking back to when I first arrived, I can say confidently that this was pretty rare, i.e., non-existent in the beginning.
So last night goes something like this. Disclaimer: For any actual Italians out there who may be reading this, please forgive me in advance for my horrid spelling and grammar. I am learning and it is still all about the effort.
Me: Buena sera.
Guy at Door: Buena sera.
Me: Tavola per uno?
Guy: Si, si. Dentro? Fuori?
Me: Outside (couldn’t remember the word that quick), grazie.
I am seated. Guy comes back. Says something like: Prenatizione?
I think. Answer: No, no. Is ok?
Guy: Si, si. Someone didn’t show up that had a solo reservation. Thought it might be you. Ok, no problem (alright, this part of conversation doesn’t quite illustrate my point… but still, happy that I recognized that he asked if I had a reservation.)
Time passes. I study the menu, but I already know what I want. Have been thinking about it all day. More time passes. Two women from England join me at the table to my right. It is drizzling out. Cool. Roughly 9:30.
New Guy (waiter): Buena sera. Prego.
Me: Buena sera. Si….
Me again: Insalate caprese e pizze noci.
New Guy: Bibite?
Me: Si. Vorrei biciherre vin rosso. Chianti e aqua frizzante.
New Guy: e italiano?
Me: No, no. Sono Americano.
NG: Ahhhh…. Studio?
Me: No, photographia, vacazione…
NG: Ah… bene.
I smile. Feeling pretty pleased with myself. He smiles. I think he is proud of me for trying. The table next to me is making no attempt. All English. Yay me!
And it goes on like this.
Little pieces of broken conversation for the rest of the evening. Not perfect, but it felt good. Confidence is returning. Just in time for me to leave and fumble my way through an entirely new language. One thing for sure, well, two things. My future children will learn other languages at an early age. Two, I am signing up for Italian class when I get back home.
Still raining when I leave. Cobblestones are wet, slick. I put my little key in the door, turn and push. Walk up four flights of stairs. Tired. Happy. Home.