For the past month, my husband Dirk has been laser-focused on learning Italian. I’ve been impressed with his rapid uptake of vocabulary. He’s got lots of the basics down, but sometimes, like me, he misfires. Here’s a recent example.
We were biking back to our apartment after class on Tuesday. In Italian, he said that morning he’d encountered one of our neighbors, an expat from Finland.
“Sta mattina, incontro la donna di Finlandia.” … “Io vengo venti volte.”
I repeated his comment in English, you know, to check for understanding*:
“This morning you met the woman from Finland, and you came twenty times?”
Oh the look on his face. I nearly cried laughing. Of course that’s not what he’d meant. He’d meant to say that he stopped to talk with her, because he’d seen her around the place maybe twenty times, and thought he should say hello.
*He’s mostly learned present tense, so his comment was in present tense. But since he started with ‘sta mattina’ (this morning), I knew he was intending the phrase to be in past tense. So that’s how I interpreted it. Just sayin’ for all you sticklers out there.
We’ve been in Verona, Italy for 7 months now. Shortly after recording episode 2, we lucked out and found small apartment along the river Adige. Since our last podcast, we’ve studied Italian, travelled to the US and back for Christmas break, and now we’re finally settling in.
After nearly 2 months in Verona, we still haven’t found a home. Before moving here, I’d signed a contract to rent a beautiful top floor condo in Borgo Trento. But the owners sold it, and our contract was negated. We found out after arriving. We’ve gone from one airBnB to the next, all while apartment hunting. It seems every time we find a place, something goes wrong. On top of it all, we have to register with the questura (local police), arrange for all our boxes to be delivered, and get our son off to school every day.
Note: As we began recording Verona Episode 2, I started a five minute countdown on my phone. After passing the four minute mark, Max became unresponsive as he focused on the timer. He seemed to think that we had to end exactly at 5 minutes, and he wanted to alert me when time was up. If he hadn’t diverted his attention so completely to the time, I think he would have answered our questions about Italian language and history classes. We’ll see how we do next time.
Two weeks ago, my husband, my son, and I moved to Verona Italy. This is the first in a series of podcasts about a family of Americans adjusting to life in Italy.
It’s our second overseas jaunt. We come here by way of Penang, Malaysia, where we lived for four years. The first two years were as employees of a semiconductor firm. We’d moved there on an expat assignment, having worked for many years at the same Silicon Valley semiconductor company. After two years in Malaysia, we quit our jobs and began living off of savings. This is what people in the early retirement community refer to as FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early). But after four years of perpetual summer, I couldn’t take it anymore. My husband, Dirk, didn’t want to move back to the states, so I chose Italy. Now, here we are. And this is our story.