Today I lost the ability to speak Italian. Well, only briefly.
I did okay in class today. We had a student teacher visiting our room, and our teacher asked us (in Italian, of course), “Who is she?” A couple people made some guesses like “Un’amica?” (A friend?). However, since I’m a teacher myself, I know what it looks like when a student teacher visits a room, so I said, “Un’insegnante futuro?” (A future teacher?). However, I really should have used “futura” because it was a female student teacher. Oops. My Italian grammar is pretty bad when I’m speaking off the top of my head.
Despite that mistake, I felt like I did okay in class. We were working on verbs in different tenses, which is very hard for me in Italian (easy in English), but I think I finally figured out the difference between passato prossimo (which is like present perfect tense in English) and imperfetto (which is like simple past tense). At least, I hope I got that right.
My inability to speak Italian came after class today. I made arrangements to meet Katie in St. Peter’s Square so we could pick up tickets for tomorrow’s General Audience (when the Pope gives his weekly address to the public on whatever he’d like to talk about). The tickets are free and can be picked up via the Swiss Guards near St. Peter’s. I had done a little research on where to get them, but one website had given me bad intel, so we had to ask for help. Some nice police officers pointed us in the right direction.
Finally, Katie and I found a couple Swiss Guards on the south side of St. Peter’s. One was helping a family; the other was available. As we approached the available one, Katie said, “Scusa,” and I picked up with the Italian line I had been practicing in my head for the last five minutes: “Dove possiamo trovare i biglietti per l’udienza generale?” (Where can we find tickets for the General Audience?)
The problem was that the Swiss Guard was what my mother would call a “very nice looking young man.” So as I started to say my prepared sentence, I began to fumble over the words. “Dove . . .uh . . . possiamo trovare . . . uh . . . i biglietti . . per . . . ”
And the “molto carino” (very nice looking) Swiss Guard started to smile at my faltering Italian, which only made it worse, of course.
“Per . . .l’ude . . . l’u. . . l’uda.” I gave up with a sigh. “The General Audience?”
The Swiss Guard smiled some more and pulled some papers out of his pocket. At which point, Katie exclaimed in English, “Wait! You have them in your pocket!?!”
“Quanti?” he asked. How many?
“Quattro,” Katie and I both responded in Italian. Her two roommates may come with us tomorrow.
He handed over four blue tickets, and we thanked him in Italian. Well, I may have been rendered a bit speechless by a Swiss Guard, but at least he didn’t start speaking English with us.
After shopping at the “Catholic Costco” and a quick bite to eat at a pizza-by-the-slice (pizza al taglio) place, Katie and I parted ways. She headed off to class, and I returned to my apartment. I had told my teacher that I would be missing class, and she told me what pages to look at in the workbook, so I wanted to start on them.
After a couple hours of working on Italian, I headed out to Santa Maria dell’Anime, the German language church that I had visited last year. It was one of my epiphany moments last year, so you can read a bit more about it in last year’s blog post. I got a little more prayer time in this year.
Then I met Katie and one of her roommates at school after their afternoon classes. We headed over to Santa Maria sopra Minvera, the church where St. Catherine of Siena is buried. (Or at least, where her body is entombed. We’ll see her head when we’re in Siena. Not creepy at all, right?)
Then we headed back to school where you can meet up with a teacher and other students for an optional dinner outing. They walk us to a local restaurant where they have worked out a special price for us. It’s not a bad deal. Sixteen Euros for wine, water, an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. We had five different types of bruschetta, a choice of main courses (I had spaghetti alla carbonara), and then a choice of four different desserts (I had profiteroles, which are pastries with gelato inside, kind of like an eclair, and often with whipped cream and chocolate sauce on top).
Off to bed kind of early tonight for the big General Audience at St. Peter’s tomorrow!