Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Non capisco

The language barrier here has never been super difficult to overcome. I can generally get by with hand gestures and emotions. I'm also understanding more Italian and am able to follow conversations pretty well. Yesterday, that was not the case.

My plan for the day was to come home around 4:30 to get the key for the bike. I was riding my bike to the school that night at 6 for the play. My brother and sister were both supposed to be home to let me in the house.

I walked to the door and could hear someone vacuuming. I rang the door bell but they didn't hear me. I figured I would just wait a minute until they were finished, then ring the bell again. After two minutes, they were still vacuuming. I rang the doorbell. No answer. Knocked on the door. Still vacuuming. Rang the bell again. Finally they stopped.

Then I heard a woman's voice that I'd never heard before. She was definitely not part of my family. At this point I had been waiting outside for five minutes. After I heard some phrases in Italian, the door opened to a woman with a gold tooth. I immediately looked at the house number to make sure I hadn't knocked on the wrong door. I was at the right house but I had never seen this woman before. I said, "Ciao" and started to walk in the house. She blocked me and started speaking in Italian. I couldn't understand a word she was saying.

I tried to tell her I was American, I lived in the house, anything I could in Italian. She kept saying, "Non capisco. Non capisco." She said something in Italian and I said, "Okay" because what else could I do. All of a sudden she shut the door in my face and I was left outside.

I just stood there for a minute trying to figure out what just happened. There is a park behind the house so I just walked back there and sat on a bench. I was embarrassed, in shock, and just didn't know what to do. Fifteen minutes later, my sister comes walking around the corner. She had been asleep upstairs and had not heard me ring the doorbell. Goldie had apparently woken her up. She probably told her there was some crazy American trying to come in the house.

I finally made it back inside. That was the most frustrating experience I've had on this trip. I have never not been able to communicate with someone. Now I can laugh about it but man. It was definitely an adventure. 

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