Thurs. evening will be the first night of a carnival of sorts here in San Giovanni Valdarno. I’m not sure exactly what the occasion is but they’re setting up rides for little kids and teens in the main piazzas around the center of town and a stage too. I heard it’s a big deal and I’m excited to check it out. If I said I’d Skype with you this weekend – we’ll have to try for another weekend. The internet café I have access to is in the center of the action and there is no way Skyping is going to happen as it’d be way too loud! Sorry. I’ll post some pictures soon of what all the excitement looks like.
Saturday they’re having another excursion, this time to Arezzo, one of the towns nearby. Though I’d like to go, I don’t want to miss out on the Saturday market and the festivities. If it’s anything like last week going to Cortona, I was absolutely exhausted afterward. I’m going to ask where the following Saturday’s excursion will be. If it’s somewhere I’ve already been to, I’ll go to Arezzo instead and go to the market the following Saturday. For a small town, there are a lot of things happening here. It’s really been a nice transition being here.
I have to say too that it’s sort of fun being put on the other side of things in the respect that I am the one with limited language abilities, and it’s very interesting to see how others respond to that. I’ve been fortunate enough to get by just fine because I know enough of the language to meet my basic needs, ask for things politely, etc. However, there are times people ask me something and I look blank for a moment before asking in Italian with my American accent if they can repeat themselves and then they smile, realizing…and then restate whatever or ask in a simpler way. I love the fact that it’s with a smile they do so. They aren’t impatient or upset or annoyed like I’ve seen a lot of Americans act toward foreigners in the US. More Americans need to do what I’m doing – put themselves outside the box – and experience what it’s like before judging so harshly or acting out rudely. My experience has reminded me (and should remind all of us) that not everyone is lazy and expects to be catered to. Even with the best of intentions, learning a new language is challenging. It takes a lot of diligence and work and I’m very appreciative of the kindness and patience the Italians have had toward those who aren’t native speakers attempting so speak their language.