So yesterday I had my biggest Italian setback so far.
I had just finished giving a free morning tour of St. Peter’s basilica and was taking the 9 people who had decided to do the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel tour to a pizza joint for lunch. Pizza taglio means pizza cut; they also ‘taglio’ your hair here in Italy. Anyway, I took these people in and feeling quite good about myself (9 people is a nice commission) ordered myself some pizza. Outside I thought i’d let them go first, but i realized they were still kinda following me (I am the guide) so i went in and ordered a little “questo…anche un po’ di questo” This means (This, also a little of this). I didn’t try to sound Italian, but spoke my usual (i like to think) good-natured goofy Italian. It saves me the embarrassment of being found out as a non-native Italian- i offer that fact up front.
However, there was no embarrassment saved because the girl serving me burst into such a laughing fit that she had to retreat to the kitchen to compose herself. The other employments stood around smiling, and apologizing for her outburst, i stood there with my face quite red, growing stubborn and defensive. I’d like to say I either lashed out at her in perfect Italian, reprimanding her, or rose above it but i just stammered out “those two” and ate in a huff. To make matters worse, the gentleman behind me, who was coming on the Vatican museum tour because he so enjoyed my St. Peter’s tour, chimed in with a casual sounding “So, how’s your Italian?”
I can see it as funny and good-natured now, but then I was a big huffy wimp about it.
Regardless, I’m getting back on that horse. Next stop:grammar workbooks, and pizza places where they can appreciate my subtly clunky and awkward Italian.