Sunday, August 5, 2007

Learning italian from a 6 year old.

Nicolas has an Italian friend, his name is Alessandro. He and his family are staying at the hotel in the residence next to ours. He is 6 years old and he is really friendly (and really patient). They arrived a week ago from Puglia, in the south of Italy, to seek treatment for Ale's little brother; the little one doesn't hear well and the specialist who is going to treat him is in Varese. They will be here for a year. This little boy has adopted us as his family, and he follows us wherever we go. Yesterday we took him to Lago di Monate for some fun in the sun (picture on the right shows Ale in the back and Nicola, behind them the lake and the mountains)

So Ale and Nick have become friends because of their circumstances: two kids facing a big change in their lives finding out that they can have fun together. They walk the dog, play ball, ride a scooter or a bicycle, and they try to communicate. So far, so good. I am learning a lot of new words thanks to Ale, and the same can be said of Nicolas.

We use a lot of hand gestures (and in my book, this qualifies as speaking Italian!) and we manage to let the other know what we want. It is hilarious some times, like when Nicolas said something like "voy a mangiare" mixing Spanish and Italian. He wanted to say that he was going to eat, but in reality, he said in Italian "Do you want to eat?" Ale promptly said yes (good appetite is a genetic particularity of the Italian child), the problem was that there was not enough food! We managed to let Ale know that he was welcomed back to eat another time!

We are also learning a lot of Italian from our landlords, since they live next door to the house we are renting. Every time we go back to the house to drop something off, they come up to us and star a conversation. They are friendly and they have offered to lend us some stuff while we wait for our shipment to arrive (or at least this is what I have understood!).

We are almost ready to move into the house, as we went to Ikea and bought some essentials. If you ever move overseas, please make sure that your air shipment includes basic stuff like towels, sheets, silverware, dishes, etc! It is not too bad, since everything we purchased is really inexpensive and I must add really cute! We went to Switzerland to buy all the little things, since Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it has its own currency, and it is less expensive than the euro. We are about 10 km from Lugano and it is a good resource to purchase gasoline, food, and clothing. They even have an outlet mall near the border.

The best thing about living so close to Lugano is that you get a little taste of the Swiss life without going to far. I love all the chocolate, and the cheese, but you can also buy good quality coffee, or a little Swiss army knife to take back home with you. I also spotted a lot of art galleries and museums, and an abundance of contemporary public art. Anyone interested in visiting yet?

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