You can tell when I am comfortable, relaxed and in my happy place because I cook…… a lot.
As I come to write another post on our life in Italy the first thing that springs to mind is the stuffed quail I made last week; the same stuffed quail with sage leaves, soffritto and honey, wrapped in a speck blanket and served on a lemon and cavolo nero risotto which Alex so kindly put in his ‘Top 10’ favourite meals. This made me happy along with seeing him clean up the little bones on his plate like no-ones business. Although Max pretty much inhaled the quail it was only rated in his ‘Top 60’ all time dishes…….who has a top 60 anyway??
Today I thought I’d like to talk about everyday life, I promise we do things other than eat (ha,ha who am I kidding!).
About three weeks ago Max came home from school all excited and happy and asked if he could join the local basket team (basketball is called Il basket). Before I could say anything, he whips out a screwed up piece of paper with an address on it and tells me this is where we needed to go. Three weeks ago I said I’d look into it and he was happy with that…….I didn’t look into it. I was scared of what or how to say to a perfect stranger “Oh Hi, I was wondering if my son could come and play basketball with the team…what days do you play? and training is at??”
I have to admit my Italian is getting better but not to the point of stringing so many words together and getting all the o’s, a’s and i’s in the right place- I panicked!! Each week he would remind me and each week I had an excuse as to why we weren’t going…….’I tried to find the building but couldn’t?’……..’Honey it’s too late, we won’t get there on time’. Yes I felt bad, pathetic and what a bad mum I am but speaking a language I barley understand is intense and stressful. Finally I had had enough of myself (this happens a lot) and decided to hell with it, I’ll get Google translate on my phone and take it from there.
As soon as I decided I would take the plunge doors seemed to open. One of the mums from school asked me if Max could play and I should come down (in Italian), I said ‘yes, OK’. Max was beside himself and handed me another screwed up piece of paper with more directions as to where Il basket was being played- it was time!
I pretty much felt sick as we were getting closer to the courts and Max said to me “So you ready mum? I think the coach speaks a little English” (nervous smile appears). Max meets up with a mate and we follow him to the courts, I then ask where their allenatore (coach) was. His mate ran off a bunch of words at rapid speed, smiled and then left to get changed and I was lost for words. A lovely woman came over a few minutes later and I asked if Max could da provare (to try out) and she said of course, please sit. I sat (feeling pretty chuffed seeing as I only just looked that up on Google translate about two minutes before I spoke) and Max went out to play. After another 5 minutes the coach came over and told me in a beautiful mix of Italian and English that he could come and try 4 games, if he likes no problem then you pay and play! Woo hoo.
I learn’t a big lesson this day. I may be scared of speaking and looking like an idiot but no-one cares. I have found my Italian community nothing but helpful, patient and happy to see me try to get involved with local events and everyday living. Ok I still can’t follow conversations and I put o’s where i’s should go but that’s OK because I’m actually doing something and getting results, I mean Max is playing basket and he couldn’t be happier!
Yes I do enjoy being in my kitchen and cooking but I am also enjoying the subtle everyday events that can slip on by if your not paying attention….I’m wondering how my Italian would go with a few glasses of prosecco? Maybe we need tho throw a little cocktail party with the locals?
That quail looks divine!
Well done Camilla for facing your fears! Keep it up, it can only enrich your time there. The Italians sound so lovely, so welcoming – far more than we Aussies would be.
Thanks Gilly, I does make me think how we really are toward foreigners entering our country…..
I felt the same way with Greek!
Once you’ve been there it’s hard to forget 🙂
The quail looks delish…
I think you have hit on the perfect solution with the language. Just turn up half-cut to every conversation not in English 😉 . Seriously, though, the cocktail party idea might be a good one. Half the battle is not feeling too shy to just plow on in. I think that’s where kids really have it over us adults in language aquisition – not being “sponges” at all. (Disclaimer: I suck at foreign languages.)
Ha,ha I thought you might pick up on that! I look at how much the boys have picked up and think Wow, I really have killed off a lot of brain cells. I’ll keep on plugging on 😉
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You are absolutely right!They love that you try and they will never make fun of you!I was in your shoes 20 plus years ago!I now search out the ITALIANS here in the states………YOU GO GIRL.I didnt have google translator.Can you imagine my horror when I bought horse meat thinking it was ham and my sister in laws wouldn’t eat it!They had to imitate a horse to make me understand!
Yes, a cocktail party! My favorite solution…. I think the locals love to help you along with their beautiful language, and you have such a great (non-American) accent, I am sure they are charmed. Really, I know that accent gets me everytime! Keep cooking…looks fantastic!
I found Spaniards were superb when it came to understanding extremely poor Spanish. Further, they didn’t seem to care at all how I expressed thing as long as we could communicate. I loved it, they were so encouraging! Maybe the Italians are the same? And hey, the more you use, the more you learn. Anyway, if there is a moment when tongues are lost then I am sure a cocktail party would solve the last bit of the problem 🙂 Well done with it basket!
PS I am sure I have outdone you in any language mistakes one might do in getting a few words mixed up ages ago in German, where instead of saying “I’ll go home now” I said “I’ll work as a street prostitute now”. I got a deep silence and everybody’s eyes on me 😀
Well done Milly, I thought I was doing okay with my new Italian skill then they tell me the new rule, let’s replace some words with others! Keep up the good work and well done to Max. Love to them both.XX
The rules are always changing with Italian…I can’t keep up! I’m just waiting for the boys to start correcting me!!
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Nic actually mentioned the basket to me last weekend! And I said to tell Max his great uncle used to play. I’ll bet he didn’t! I think my experience is Italians are happy if you try (unlike the French who are highly critical of mispronunciation. “the French don’t care what you say as long as you pronounce it properly!”) You have both done very well.
The quail looked wonderful!
I just told Max! Glad we are living in Italy 🙂
Well done for being brave! It only gets easier.
Thank you….I really hope so!
Way to go! You have overcome a fear and now Max getst to play ball 🙂
Thank you and on that point I even managed to follow directions in Italian today- I feel like celebrating!! 🙂
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