Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surviving Italy without Italian

Well, I've survived my first major run-in with Italians where I really wished I knew more Italian.

My intercom buzzed this afternoon (for the first time!), and when I answered the phone, I realized that (1) the volume was incredibly low, (2) someone was talking to me in rapid Italian that I didn't have a chance of hearing, let alone understanding, and (3) I actually have no idea how to "buzz someone in" even if I wanted to. I said "no capisco" several times, but she seemed so insistent that I finally said "I'll come down." I actually heard her say "no capisco" as I hung up, grabbed shoes and keys, and ran down the four flights of stairs.

I found two young Italian women. It was actually a little funny how easy it was for me to understand the basics of what they were saying, and how impossible it was for me to communicate anything to them. They knew I had just moved in and were here to put the gas and light bills in my name. The problem is that I'm not certain those bills are supposed to go in my name. But how does someone like me (with so little Italian) explain that I think someone else is supposed to be handling this stuff with my utilities and I am not going to mess with it without checking in with them. Especially when half of my attempts to speak Italian still come out in Spanish.

I eventually made it clear that I wanted to call my friend. Once they understood that this was someone who could speak both English and Italian, they were all over it. They came upstairs and I called the office and got a quick call back from someone who was able to talk to them, tell them we weren't interested, and tell me that they were sales people and I should get rid of them as soon as possible. Which I did.

I'm glad I trusted my instincts. I was pretty sure that someone would have told me that I needed to sign up for utilities with some women who came knocking on my door if that was in fact the case.

1 comment: said...

Dana, this is golden. You don't miss a thing. I look forward to the further adventures of a Roman theologian.