I’ve been thinking about how much Italian I’ve been saying on an every day basis here that is going to be really hard for me to stop once I’m in America because I will probably get really weird looks in public!
Scusa! – this is the informal version of excuse me so I say it a lot on the streets and in crowded places like the grocery store etc. It’s actually become some sort of a joke with my friends because I say it so much that even when we’re out and I want to get someones attention I just yell “scusa!”
Grazie – I found out soon after stepping off the plane back in January that it’s pronounced Graz-E-ay and if you say it any other way you’re an “ignorant American who doesn’t take the time to learn the native language” no joke, that’s what they told us. Naturally, “thank you” is in one’s daily vocab and it’s become a habit.
Prego – No one really knows what this word means. Well I’m sure the Italians do but it really means a ton of things. For example, if someone says “grazie” you respond with “prego”. So I’m thinking it means you’re welcome..wrong. If you walk into a store or cafe they greet you with “Prego!” Then when you decide what you want and walk up to the counter to order they say “Prego?” If people are on the street and see a friend, “Prego!” is the word that comes out first. So it’s kind of like a greeting but who really knows. My Italian class has asked our teacher many times and we’ve had numerous discussions on what it means and she just shrugs and is says “prego just means prego”.
Allora – This is probably my favorite Italian word. It’s kind of like the American “um”. So when my teacher is talking and is thinking of an example she’ll say, “allora..” You seriously hear it so much that it’s hysterical. My friends and I have started just saying it all the time and we make funny voices with it so we have fun with it.
Pronto! – The word used instead of hello or “ciao” when answering the phone…it basically means like ready! as in ready to talk! but it’s just funny to hear people say it that I say it just randomly now.
Last night was our API Goodbye Apertivo! So sad. It was at this really good apertivo place that we’ve been to before but it was a little different because all the API kids had a different buffet than the people that were there on their own. AND we couldn’t have alcoholic drinks haha so we told the bartender to just make us something fun and he made what we concluded were raspberry mojitos (minus the booze) and they were super delicious! Might be my new favorite drink! By the time we sat down the food was kind of cold cuz it had been outside and there wasn’t much left so we were kinda bummed but decided we mine as well go get dinner. After some consideration trying to think of our favorite place we decided to try something new and ended up at a restaurant called Il Teatro. The service was kind of slow it took like 20 minutes for them to even notice we were there but once we ordered and got our food it was well worth the wait!
Everyones food was amazing and the wine was one of the best I’ve had! I had just come from my food & wine final (so sad saying goodbye to that class) so I was being annoying and trying to pick a good meal that would work well with the white wine. I got this really great spaghetti dish (hey Mom & Dad I like spaghetti now!) and it didn’t end up being the best match but oh well it was fun trying! They also brought us a bunch of different types of bread with our meal. Once we were all done it was kind of late and we needed to get home to study so we tried to signal the waiter for our check saying, “Posso pagare?” She came over and started asking us why we were leaving so soon and that we need to have another bottle of wine yadda yadda yadda so we told her we needed to study and then she felt bad that we’re “students and have so much stress”…little does she know of the 4 month vacation this has really been…
About 5 minutes later we’re kind of irritated because it’s taken so long to get our check but she just brings us some bottles of water and gives us all spoons. Then she comes back with these huge pieces of tiramisu for each of us! It was so sweet! She was saying complements of the chef so that you can go home and study with a full belly. How nice! The dessert was awesome and everything always tastes better when it’s free so all in all we had an amazing night! Unfortunately it was one of our last nights all eating together with friends from the API program.
Tonight I have been studying for my LAST FINAL! It’s Italian, which I really like and seem to understand well, so I’m not stressing too hard over it. Tomorrow is my last day in Florence and I couldn’t be more upset, I’m just trying not to think about it!
This is it. The week I’ve been dreading so much since January, yet never thought it would actually come. The last week. Finals week. I have so much to do in the next four days it is insane and even thinking about it right now is making me sweat. I’m solely taking a break to write this blog because I just finished an 11 page study guide and am very proud of myself. I have to go get my favorite foods for the last time, buy last minute trinkets and gifts, soak up the Italian sun, drink enough wine to last me until June 27 (the big 2-1) and hit new clubs I haven’t been to all while attempting to study and actually pass my finals. I don’t even have enough time right now to reflect on the past 4 months but all I know is that it went by too fast. I do have some regrets but also new friends & memories that will last forever. It’s Monday afternoon and tomorrow starts my frenzy of finals and then unfortunately Friday, May 17 has to come.
I’m so sad right now after reading this post from the bus2alps blog by Max Widmer:
“The sun is beginning to set on your time abroad. Cracks of purple and pink are breaking your fading skies to fragments, and you know it’s almost time to leave. Soak in this moment and reflect on the ride. You lived here. You jumped in the ice-cold water of culture shock back in January and allowed the water to warm. Espresso became less bitter as snippets of Italian were absorbed into your vocabulary. Salt-less bread became the norm and Mozzarella melted in your mouth. You made friends named Pino and Massimo, and you kissed them on both cheeks. Family style at Gatto never failed you and the limoncello shots were always free. You stopped noticing the churches and their bells and the gypsies that swarmed like pigeons. The accordion outside became the default ambience, and fresh foccacia the accompanying scent. You lived like an Italian even though you didn’t look like one, but the food tasted just as good. And while every weekend was somewhere new, going home meant Florence. That’ll be different now, but so will you.”
That just put me over the edge as if I wasn’t already depressed after just coming home from my final class cooking in food & wine. It was the first part of our final – the “practical”. We split into groups last week and each group was assigned a dish that we’ve already made to make again and perfect and pair a wine with it. My group made the chocolate spoon cake. And we really undercooked it so it was like a gooey brownie (one thing I definitely am looking forward to when I go home are gooey fresh pastries). Four courses were made and we all made extra so I had at least two servings of each dish. There was the pesto pasta with green beans & potatoes, ginger shrimp with farfalle, grilled swordfish & mediterranean veggies and then our cake! Everything was super delicious and we all got to hangout and chat for the last time. I’m going to miss everyone in my class so much I made so many friends and I truly love all 15 people.