Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Language Barrier Dance.

by Shea’lyn Swan
As I prepare for a journey of a lifetime, I am also preparing myself for what might feel like an insurmountable level of anxiety. With little ability to speak Italian, I get off the bus in Cagli with a thumping heart and wide eyes. The landlord of our apartment greets us with an empathetic twinkle in his eyes and a brimming smile; and this begins the language barrier dance.

Instantly my head begins to spin while I listen carefully for words I might recognize from our lessons, but too quickly my brain is drowning in the centrifuge of language. He asks about our day, and where else we have been in the country. My apartment mate, Allison, responds quickly in broken English and Italian and all I can think is “I’m never going to get this! What am I doing?”

Within hours of arrival to the small town that feels more like a village, I find myself ordering “Uno Spritz, per favore?” (One Spritz, please), which is a Prosecco wine with a dash of some type of bitter liqueur, and “gas water” (sparkling mineral water). Perhaps with more vino, and time, I will be able to navigate this language land.