That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Where's The Love?

I come from a small town in the Monterey Peninsula. Sure, we may grocery shop at 2 am in our pajamas, we may go to the drive-thru pharmacy in hair curlers and we may even have had such precedence as to require signs that read, "No shoes; No service." But we tend to keep our business, the kind that's swept under the rug or that collects cobwebs in the closet, to ourselves. We don't go around blasting our news and business for every Tom, Dick and Harry to hear. The Italians, however, do - or so I thought. 

When I first came to Italy, my Italian was fairly good. I mean, I could communicate, I could get my point across - I could understand and be understood. That is, I could, if conversations were slow enough, words enunciated enough and if Roman dialect was avoided. Not being accustomed to Italian ways and manners, I met Mr. Marito each day with news of having witnessed multiple arguments, fights and brawls again and again and again. Mr. Marito was astonished. Granted, Romans have been known to be aggressive and combative, but my oh my, this seemed a bit over the top, even for Romans. 

What I would see, day after day, was a pair or group of people gesticulating energetically and fervently, repeatedly slamming their open palms to their chests, violently ramming two fingered pokes into their own foreheads and temples, arms raised high and wide apart with heads and bodies thrown back, closed thumb-to-fingertips hands bouncing up and down, raised voices and shouts of, "Oh!" and "Eh!" and "Die! Die! Diediedie!" I couldn't believe it - perfectly respectable men and women standing nose to nose and shouting on and on about a hundred different injustices. Dazed and confused was I. They sure do argue about the silliest things, these Italians! Sometimes, I could make out a familiar word or two, "Nooooooo! My dog never eats wet food!," shouts an elderly gentleman. He raises his arm and shakes his fist earnestly, not at all hampered by the plastic bag dangling and swinging back and forth from his wrist, "It's bad for his digestion!!" The other man leans in, lowers his head and quickly jabs his fingers into his opponent's chest papapapa! He continues to pound away and without taking his eyes off this crucial point of impact, he yells back, "Listen! My dog can't eat dry food because since his operation it gives him gall stones!" 

Wow. These Italians. 

Well, one afternoon, I could bear it no longer. Two of my neighbors, both women, were screaming from the tops of their lungs in the building corridor. Geez, ladies, take it inside. I opened my front door and took two steps down the stairs until I could see them, one floor below me. Yelling and shouting and hands and arms flailing every which way, the altercation seemed to grow and grow rather than subside. I called to Mr. Marito. "You have to do something!" I pleaded, "They're going to kill each other!" Mr. Marito poked his head out from the front door. He listened. He extended his neck and scrunched up his face. He kept listening. He pulled his head in, closed the door and laughed. "They're talking about artichokes," he said. "What? They're arguing over artichokes?" I asked, more than a little surprised. "No, no, no. They're just talking. They aren't fighting." He looked amused. He could hardly contain his laughter as he asked, "Are you telling me, that this is what you see every day when you see fights?" 

Uhhh ... yeah? 

It turns out, this is not fighting. It's talking. It's chit chatting. It's how-ya-doin-neighbor? 
sigh - dork@me

*die is actually dai which literally means "you give," but it can also mean, "c'mon" when said in different contexts, like, "c'mon, let's go," "c'mon, you can do it," "c'mon, don't be like that" and so on. In my English speaking mind, all I could see was fights and altercations with people screaming their desires to see their enemies dead. die die die! It never occurred to me that Italians wouldn't actually say the English word, "die," but rather the Italian, "muori" - d'oh! Oh Brain, how you disappoint me, sometimes.

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