ITALY …. (continued)
Embracing our adventure of living in an authentic Italian village we set off each day to explore our new district. My meagre Italian was tested at every turn. Was it a problem? It appears that the more I flung my arms around the more people understood me! I am basically a shy person, not given to dramatic effects, but the minute I step onto Italian soil I begin to gesticulate enthusiastically, much to the amusement of my husband.
Italy…..why do I love it so much? The people, the food, the vino, the buildings, the craziness, the friendliness, the language to name a few reasons. I have so many special places I hold dear in my heart.
Luscignano was different to any previous travels to Italy. There were no tourist attractions anywhere nearby. The mountains were frighteningly steep and the one road in and out was very narrow and winding. This was the REAL Italy. It was obvious that this was the way to learn conversational Italian, to be immersed in the culture, lifestyle, and language. That didn’t mean I didn’t have some interesting outcomes!
After one month I required a visit to the local hairdresser. The nearest village, Casola, was seven kilometres down the mountain. We walked this road regularly. I had managed to make an appointment and set off for this new experience. I stressed that ‘non rossa per favore’….meaning NO red please. My head was scrubbed so hard I wondered if I would have any hair left at the end. The colour was mixed up and applied and there I sat until I was ready. I left the salon with bright red hair, held in place with masses of sticky hair spray.! Rick hardly recognised me. It took a long time for that colour to dissipate.
I was amused to read a sign on the small gift shop next door, which stated ‘If I’m not open, I am closed!’
I had managed to book an air B&B, on the phone in the small village of Moneglia for three nights allowing us to walk the Cinque Terra. Our host greeted us enthusiastically. We were escorted to our rooms in the attic of his home with a severely sloping ceiling. It was only possible to stand upright in the centre of the room. He began to enquire if we required ‘asciugamani’. My limited vocabulary did not include this weird word. Our wonderful host proceeded to prance around the room making gestures of washing himself, much to our bewilderment and ignorance. Soap? Shampoo? And on it went. There was a great deal of laughter until we finally understood that he was asking if we required towels!
I was able to converse with him in a limited way, but it was necessary to remind him constantly to slow down! He offered to assist Rick to set up the internet and Wifi. That was the best comedy I have ever witnessed. Over several carafes of wine and a great deal of gesticulating and jabbering and hugging, it worked!
We departed from this fun place as best friends but with sore heads. Was it from the constant head banging or maybe the vino we shared with our dear host?
Leasing a car for the two months was more economical than hiring. We wondered why we were being constantly asked if we were French. It was not as if we were looking particularly elegant in our traveling outfits. It turned out that our car was French, obviously with French number plates. Italians overall are not overly fond of the French. We then hung a toy kangaroo on the back window and received a much warmer reception wherever we went.
Bless Italia and Italians. I love everything about the country and the people. I continue with my Italian language to this day, but the only way to improve is to visit an authentic village and become immersed in their lifestyle. Wishing…..
To be continued…….
Cheers for now.
Jenny Old AUTHOR
‘Innocent Nurses Abroad’
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