Friday two nice ladies who speak really good Italian joined my pilot class. Guess what? Food really makes the conversation flow. Had we poured some red wine, I bet we could have spoken on the first six cantos of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.
Here are some of the issues that came up.
Cena alle 5:30!? Isn’t it tea time?
We had a good time, getting to know each other’s eating habits and more. Italians tend to have late lunches and dinners and we have not been able to break this habit since we moved to the States, although this can occasionally create social difficulties. I recall the time we were invited for a pizza at 5:30 in the afternoon (no, this is not evening to me) and I made the kids skip lunch so they could be hungry by 5 pm. E’ inutile, solo spagnoli e sudamericani possono capirci!
Cameriere italiano vs cameriere americano
We ended up comparing how differently waiters behave in Italy – where they totally ignore you – and in the States, no offence guys, where they start bombarding you with questions the minute you take your first bite. No winners here!
Ciao o Buongiorno?
Italians tend to be a little more formal than Americans in social exchanges. We generally use the “Tu” (informal You) form only with people we actually know, but otherwise use formal address (Lei, formal You). That being said, if you get it wrong, people will usually find it cute, not inappropriate, as I hope they do here with me when I kiss people on their cheeks.