Guys, great news this week! Sono diventata zia!! I am an aunt! My niece Lisa was born last Monday night. That’s so exciting! Che emozione! She’s so cute! And my little brother is no longer a little boy! I have to admit it, I’m a little upset I won’t be able to see her for a while. However, she’s still too young to be cuddled, SPUPAZZATA and to laugh at her aunt’s jokes, so for now Skype and her parents will do.
Do you know what’s customary in Italy when a baby is born and people come to see the new parents at the hospital? To offer them confetti to eat. I do not mean the small, colored pieces of paper (although that could be an idea to make unwanted visitors leave..). Confetti in Italy are sugar-coated almonds or chocolates, which are offered to guests after a wedding, a ceremony, or any happy event as a way to thank people for their visit and to remember the joyful occasion. Apparently, they bring good luck and should be eaten in an odd number, don’t ask me why! Here is what they look like.
The American confetti would be called CORIANDOLI in Italian. This word belongs to the infamous category of the so-called false cognates or false friends, falsi amici, because they have an identical or similar spelling in the two languages but a totally different meaning. Here are some of the most common tricky words. SALE, as you might already know, translates as salt in English. CAMERA is a room in Italian, not a photo camera. ESTATE means summer and not a big piece of property. CALDO means hot, not cold! FINE is the end of something, not a ticket. MARE is not a female horse but the sea. If you propose to make a TOAST in Italy, people will not raise their glass but will wait for a grilled cheese sandwich. PARENTI means relatives, not parents, which would be translated as GENITORI, that of course reminds you of the word janitors, custodi in Italian. And RUMORE means noise, not gossip, OSTRICHE translates as oyster, not ostrich. LIBRERIA is a book store, not a library and una FATTORIA is not a factory but a farm.
What a headache!? I need a confetto, or maybe three. But don’t forget, beware of false friends!