September 3, 2007

Italian things I learned today

Lunch today was unbearably long and predictably boring, with my colleagues talking endlessly about food and corrupt Italian politicians. At one point, Pamela was recounting a dinner she had in which the bill came to 110E. Valentina asked how many people there were, and Pamela said three. Valentina's response was, "Christoforo Colombo!" I nearly died laughing, considering she said the equivalent of "Jiminy Christmas!" in Italian, but Orso misinterpreted my laugh as disdain at the price of a dinner. I'm totally going to shout "Chris-TO-foro Colombo!" at everything people say now.

I also stopped by a Tabacchi to buy a monthly bus pass. A normal bus ticket is called a biglietto, so I said, "Buon giorno, c'è lai un biglietto mensile?" The guy smiled at me, asked if I wanted the one for 30E, and I said yes. He said, "Ecco la tessera mensile." I said, "Sì, sì, grazie." But he said, "No, no. Questa è una tessera mensile. Non è un biglietto mensile." It was so sweet, he was correcting my Italian. Without making me feel like a complete idiot like every other Italian I've talked to does. I repeated the phrase and thanked him again with a smile. I wish more people were like that these past 7 months.

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