The Italians say “Piano, Piano” every time I apologize for my italian. They’re always very nice and encouraging when I say that I’m trying to learn. It’s nice – but I’m still really embarrassed every time I make a mistake. (which is often). Ryan is encouraging me – he keeps saying that I’m doing really well, and that he’s glad that I’m here too, since it makes it all easier. Anyway, for some reason, I’m completely embarrassed in front of the Italians, but more than happy to tell you guys about my amusing mistakes. So, here’s two from today:
Today, I was waiting at home for the internet guy to come (or, the first in a series of internet guys). Usually when I know I’m going to have to speak to someone in Italian, I practice some sentences in my head that I think I might need. The hope is that the conversation will then go more smoothly, if I am prepared. So, I knew that the first thing that would happen is that he would call me on the “citofono” or, the phone that rings when they buzz from the outside door, downstairs. I figured he would introduce himself, and then probably ask what floor I was on. (There’s no logic to that here, since, for example, you could be in apartment 13, and be on the fifth floor.) So, I figured that I had at least two options to say what floor, I could say “cinque” (five) or “quinto” (fifth). I thought I’d say ‘quinto’, because I don’t use that as often as ‘cinque’ in other situations, and it would be good practice. So, when the time came, and the technician came to the front door of my six story building, what did I say? I said “cinquanta” – I’m on floor 50. He said that was too many. Yes, yes it is.
When he came back on his second trip (of 3… well, I hope 3, because he’s come twice, and told me to keep waiting) I heard the buzzer and went to the citofono. I picked it up, said hello, and heard nothing. So I buzzed him up, and walked away. It rang again. I picked it up again, said hello, buzzed him in, said hello again … nothing. As I was standing at the citofono, I heard the buzz again, from somewhere to my right. And a knock on my front door. Ohhhhh … yeah, I have a doorbell, that sounds like a buzzer. The guy was at my front door, listening to me pick up the citofono and saying hello. Awesome. I feel smart.