The Italian plateau has been broken. Er, rather, I should say that I see fault lines breaking and the plateau is significantly weakening. Wait, strike that! I am rising above the plateau, so I should say that the plateau is fading behind me because I finally found a path up the Italian language mountain.
If you have studied a language, or know someone who has, you may have heard about the “plateau” that you hit where you feel like you are learning more and more words, but your overall language skills are at a standstill.
Even though my Italian language skills are meager, I was wallowing in plateau-land for months now. I wondered if I would ever communicate in Italian, if I would ever be asked a question by a stranger and be able to answer it, if I could make Italian friends…
The wondering is over – for now. This week I successfully kibitzed with the padroni (owners) of our neighborhood pizzeria. I am sure something was lost in translation, but the experience was overall amazing.
Then, this evening while we were grocery shopping, an Italian asked me how to use the “Self Cashier” or “Self-Casa” as it is called at the IperCoop where we shopped. When I used my halting Italian to answer him, I expected him to brush me aside in favor of a local. Instead, he nodded at what I was saying and we made it through! It was a HUGE success! Um, also, don’t ask me to repeat what I said to him, because hand gestures also go a long way when you’re communicating with Italians.
Lastly, although we are still working on arranging our first “outing” – we have contacted our “Amici.” Carmelo and his wife are officers in the Italian military and they have a three month old son. They live in Acireale, too. I imagine it may be difficult to arrange evening gatherings with their newborn, though I hope we can develop a rhythm of get togethers.
On the topic of friendship, we also have a lovely friendship budding with our landlord and his wife, Pina, as well as their children who are now facebook friends. They are friendly, warm and accommodating of our many questions and requests. This weekend they are hosting us for an afternoon and evening at the legendary Acireale Carnevale! Whoo hoo!
*80s photos coming on Friday!