I’m going to go ahead and say it. The Internet is the best invention ever.
I’m speaking from the perspective of an American who has moved to the middle of nowhere, and although beautiful, is not the cradle of expats by any means.
If you’re a regular reader, you probably get the impression that I love living here, and, indeed, I do. But sometimes you need some female, English-speaking companionship–next to impossible to find down here, but this past weekend, it was the order of business as we held the first Calabrian Women’s Summit, which also served as our belated celebration of International Women’s Day.
And all this came together because of this fancy network of invisible wires that make up the World Wide Web. Thanks Al Gore!
Blogger-to-be (no pressure!) Dawn and I traveled to the big city of Catanzaro to meet fellow blogger Cherrye of My Bella Vita who is in the process of opening a Bed and Breakfast with her soon-to-be-marito Peppe.
In fact, Dawn and I were their first guests. We were greeted with adorable welcome baskets complete with my new favorite Kinder snack–and Cherrye only had to make up our little tags twice with Italian help from Peppe.
Bless her heart, Cherrye’s going through what both Dawn and I have experienced already–the early days of learning Italian. I’m not sure that Peppe will be happy with the types of information we shared this weekend, but we thought it all rather essential. Cherrye’s in for some interesting times as she perfects her language skills–more frustrating than fun, to be sure, but she’s doing fabulously.
And speaking of fabulous, the B & B is simply gorgeous–comfortable, homey, and a great location.
Other than hanging out at the B &B, we had a nice if expensive lunch at a pizzeria, which surprised both Dawn and me since nothing is even open for lunch where we live…and pizza? During the day? Unheard of!
But we went, we ate, we got charged 3,50 euro for flat Cokes, and now we have organized a campaign against such unscrupulous business practices. So, yes, if you’re down in these parts, that’d be us wearing signs that say “We got robbed at Ciro’s” on the side of the road.
Unfortunately it rained most of the time, so we were stuck indoors with only our mouths to keep us occupied. Luckily, as it turns out, we do rather enjoy talking.
Now I wouldn’t want all of you who couldn’t make the gathering to feel left out, so I’ve compiled the minutes of the inaugural Calabrian Women’s Summit at which we discussed and reached conclusions on many important topics.
(1) We will be settling our own village so that we can invent our own language that we’ll call Calatalglish.
(2) In that village, there will be only what we call “delusional mirrors,” i.e., those that instantaneously perform the type of airbrushing that magazines do all the time on stars. It’s only fair.
(3) For fear of offending anyone, some words in Italian should simply never be used: scopare and fico are at the top of the list. Some tips on avoiding them: Say you’re cleaning the floor instead of sweeping it, and always refer to figs in plural even when it’s incorrect. We concluded that they’ll forgive you faster for a mistake in number than for an offensive remark about a vagina.
(4) Leaving someone at the altar can actually be quite a funny story years later, but only if it involves gnocchi.
(5) Not all gay men have good taste in ties.
(6) When you call your own home in America, you shouldn’t call back when the person who answers tells you that he doesn’t know you and to stop calling. It’ll only end in assumptions that a non-native English speaker has broken into your home and is willy nilly answering the phone saying “hel-lo?” And that won’t go anywhere good.
(7) The movie “The Da Vinci Code” would have been greatly enhanced had the nun simply shrugged and responded “Boh” when when Silas asked where the key was.
(8) The southern Italian response of tsking while jerking the head upward should be outlawed. It’s confusing for foreigners when the mouth says no but the head says yes.
(9) Attending southern Italian weddings can make you poor.
(10) Fancy soap dispensers, even if they cost only $8 in Wal-Mart, should be screwed into the sinks if possible, because they are fair game for visitors.
I know, now you’re all wishing you had been there to bat around ideas on these pressing issues, but don’t worry. There will most definitely be another summit soon, and I’ll keep you posted.
[tags]calabria, girlfriends, friendship, first meetings, life in calabria, learning italian, learning a language, bed & breakfasts in italy, bed & breakfasts in calabria[/tags]