Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Seen and Heard in Italy (I)

Seen and heard in Italy (most of these are food-oriented):

“You are different than most Americans I meet. They are usually rude. One time, this man said one of my purses looked like a ‘butt!’ Yes, a butt. Who says stuff like that? I kicked him out.”
-said to me by a Romanian saleswoman at a leather purse store in Florence

“Well, normally I would sell this scarf for €15 but since you are Italian I’ll give it to you for €14.”
-said to me in Italian by a vendor in an open market in Florence. While I was excited that my mumbled phrases passed me for a shy Italian, I also realized that not THAT many perks come with being a local. €1? Throw me a freakin’ bone!

Cristina, an Italian-American: “God never met a Italian woman that didn’t like to cook. Our host mom freezes store-bought bread and then microwaves it!”
*Gasps* emit from the group to the high heavens.

Seen: Many Italian women maneuvering stilettos smoothly through the cobblestone streets. How do they do it?!!! I keep getting stuck between stones.
My size-1 Italian teacher, Laura, and I are eating lunch at a cafè. I bring my cappuccino to the table and she pokes fun at me for drinking this “heavy” drink for lunch. Oh, I forgot to mention, Italians have these routines and an unspoken code to which they closely adhere. For example, they’ll have a cappuccino for breakfast or late afternoon, but not at any other time.
“Oh, then you’d be surprised by how many Venti cappuccinos Starbucks sells throughout the day,” I kid with Laura.
Shocked, she cries “But they are sooooo fattening!”
Having become well-versed with the calorie counter at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Starbucks, I reply, “Not really, milk is good for you and Italian capp.s are, like, only 4 oz. anyways (I can finish one in 2-3 sips)”
Then 3 girls at the table spent the next 5 minutes trying to convince me that the chemicals in cappuccino milk release MORE FAT than when the milk is cold...WHAT? They couldn’t understand why I was laughing for the whole of my 2 sips of coffee. Too funny.

My friend Kiera was too shy to go up to this 20-something girl in front of Cafè Pedrocchi to ask where she bought her plaid capris (I think capris are as much a fashion faux paux as scrunchies, but hey that’s just me). So I go up to the girl and ask her “Dove hai comprato i tuoi pantiloni?” She proceeds to explain to me and then shrugs and says “Let me show you!” and she takes me by the arm and chats with me for the distance of 2 piazzas while my friends trail behind. I got a good vibe from her, so, before I leave, I tell her we should hang out some time and exchanged names (hers is Claudia) & numbers. I hung out with Claudia and her boyfriend this Sunday and they took me to what they claimed was the best gelateria in town (I find that everyone has a different opinion to which gelateria seduces their loyalty). They were quite patient with my broken Italian and at the end of our “giro” or “walk” they drove away in their scooter. Che Italiano! (“So Italian”)

Ashley: “Hey, Debbie, you want to get some gelato?”
Me: “I had gelato earlier today.”
Ashley: “C’MON!”
Me: “A girl once said, ‘My heart is saying ‘yes’ but my head is saying ‘no’.”
Ashley: “Who was that?”
Me: “Sadly, I just quoted Christina Aguilera.”

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